has been waiting a long time to perform for fans. After putting out her second studio album Future Nostalgia in the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic in a moment when most artists chose to postpone their releases, the English pop star is finally in the midst of a long-delayed world tour. And she’s only now getting to perform her Grammy Award-winning record as it’s meant to be experienced: on the dance floor.
Now, Lipa is also looking to connect more intimately with fans and collaborators beyond the arena stage, with media ventures that expand on her desire for being “of service” to her fanbase. Earlier this year Lipa launched Service95, a personal newsletter that offers curated lists of everything from her favorite books to restaurants, born out of her own passion for making recommendations to friends and family. She also hosts and records “At Your Service,” an interview podcast that finds Lipa tackling weighty issues including politics and identity in conversations with authors, artists, designers and more.
The 26-year-old artist recently spoke with Morning Edition‘s Rachel Martin from her tour stop in Glasgow about how she chooses interview subjects for her podcast, creates her newsletter and shuts down self-doubt.
The following interview has been condensed and edited. To listen to the broadcast version of this story, use the audio player at the top of the page.
Rachel Martin, Morning Edition: I went to your show in Washington, D.C. and it was this collective experience that we had all been missing for so long. You had to have been feeling that too — you waited two years to perform these songs in these kinds of venues.
Dua Lipa: I’ve been dying to get out on the road, to finally perform these songs. When we finally got the chance to go out on the road in the U.S., there was this whole surge of excitement and adrenaline. It’s like, wow, we finally get to do this.
When you were in D.C. and we met you backstage, your dad happened to have been back there. And I just asked him quickly, “What is this like to see your daughter up there in front of these thousands of people yelling her name, and in this floating stage wearing a sequined catsuit?” And he said, “I pinch myself, that this is her, that she’s made this happen.” Talk to me about your family and why it was important at some points to have them on the tour with you?
This whole journey has been really exciting to get to do it together. I think because of them, they’ve kept me really grounded. Nothing has changed in my home life and just my job is quite extraordinary.
Your family left Kosovo in the early ’90s before the war?
In ’92, they moved to Kosovo as the war in Bosnia was happening. My mom’s half Bosnian, so her mom was in Sarajevo at the time, but they moved to London as the situation started getting really difficult in ex-Yugoslavia. Something that people forget all the time is, people don’t really want to leave their country unless they really have to. It’s really out of necessity.
Then I was born in ’95. [My parents] had a great time in London, but they always had that idea in the back of their mind that they would always want to come back to Kosovo at some point. When I was 11, we moved back to Kosovo.
What was that like for you? When you’re 11, you’re old enough to protest — you have a world, you have friends and a life.
I was really excited about it. When you’re in London at the age of 11, you’re finishing year six and then you would go into a secondary school. All my friends were gonna go to different schools, and instead of going to a different school, I was going to a different country. Albanian was my first language, I spoke it at home, and then English was something I did in school and I spoke with my friends. It was just a very interesting and exciting period of my life. I was also really excited at the idea that people wouldn’t find my name Dua as weird as they did in London.
It was different obstacles to overcome – learning chemistry and science and maths in a completely different language. Having assignments in Albanian is a lot harder than just speaking it at home. It took me a really long time to find my feet there. It’s interesting going into that at 11 years old, but I think I wou