Before she became the prime pop phenomenon of our current reality, did you know Dua Lipa frequented the Philippines introducing herself and her music—even taking on the famed Wish Bus? Well, now you do.
Just like many of us, Dua Lipa has had quite the year in 2020. All set to release her sophomore album, which was already whispered to be one to watch out for, she was in for quite the rude awakening very early on when apart from the world crumbling and caving to the vicious lashing of the pandemic, Future Nostalgia leaked to the public online. With things seemingly screeching to a temporary halt for the singer and songwriter, she took to a tear-stricken Instagram Live to explain her decision to push through with her musical efforts, which naturally opened itself to a criticism of being well, tone-deaf amid the punishing pummel of a global crisis.
“I’ve been a little bit conflicted about whether it’s the right thing to do during this time because lots of people are suffering,” she says in between a burst of tears and sniffles. “I’m not sure if I’m even doing the right thing,” she says, reeling herself to a space of calm, pacifying herself from relenting to the emotions stacking up on her as of late. “But I think the thing we need the most at the moment is music, and we need joy and we need to be trying to see the light. I hope it makes you smile and I hope it makes you dance, and I hope I make you proud.”
Guess what? She did make us proud—and more.
Providing respite in what would prove to be an unforgiving year by all accounts, Dua Lipa emerged unstoppable. Challenging and concerning as it still stands to be, the pop phenomenon not only deliver a critical and commercial success, but it was Future Nostalgia that heralded the bedroom dance party for one era in many states of lockdown, quarantine, and isolation. In fact, she even released a follow-up of remixes, staged a visceral concert experience called Studio 2054, collaborated with Miley Cyrus on the banging earworm that is Prisoner, and collected six Grammy nominations. So much for a tough year, huh?
At this point, the world knows of Dua Lipa. If you don’t, well, you should. Carving out a name for herself in the diverse and dynamic landscape of pop music, she has solidified herself as a formidable force to be reckoned with since breaking out with her self-titled debut in 2017. But just as any story on the rise of superstars would tell us, it never is an overnight thing, especially for Dua Lipa, who has been hard at work since being signed in 2015. In fact, did you know that she has been a regular visitor to the Philippines? Yes, prior to making it big with such hits as Blow Your Mind, IDGAF, and New Rules, as well as of striking collaborations with Calvin Harris (One Kiss) and Martin Garrix (Scared To Be Lonely), the pop sensation has returned to the country multiple times in a pre-pandemic world, of course.
“I didn’t realize we were introduced to Dua Lipa when she came here,” a friend captions in her Instagram Story throwback post, complete with a flashed photo in a club that has since closed down. “We were just like, okay, hello—and that was kind of it.” Relatively unknown then, the singer worked the press circuit, introducing herself and her music, building a fan base that would prove to be close to her heart. Flying right under the radar of the musically obsessed, Dua Lipa did everything from an exclusive intimate listening party of her album, several interviews, and even a trip on the Wish 107.5 Bus. In what was her first visit then, she even makes mention of her name connection to the municipality of Lipa in Batangas City, a jab of humor that is innate to the Filipinos. “My friends, after knowing my name, had told me that they knew of a place named Lipa. Well, we’ll look into it, and possibly, we will meet our relatives in the Philippines,” she said, obviously indulging the coincidence.
Since then, Dua Lipa has come back to perform for bigger crowds and bigger stages in the Philippines such as being one of the headlining acts of In The Mix Festival in 2017. Already blowing our minds with her musical genesis, Dua Lipa finally had her own moment to shine a year after, staging her own concert at the MOA Arena to a sold-out crowd. With the focus on her, we were at that point truly transfixed and lost in her light. “Thank you so much for making my dreams come true,” she said of the opportunity to play in a space like that, further describing the show as incredible, which isn’t the least bit surprising knowing how welcoming and wild the Filipino crowd can get, who at that point has already pledged an irrevocable loyalty to Dua Lipa.
“I’m so lucky I got to experience a place like Manila,” says Dua Lipa in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer prior to her In The Mix performance. Turning even more gracious, she continued, “I can’t thank you enough for listening to my music.” But really, even with many years down the road, it is us who should be thankful, because without her we wouldn’t have had the smoky and sparkling soundtrack that has helped get us through many bleak points of this point of our lives.
Packed to the brim with oomph and high-octane production, as well as of outstanding word work, and vocals, Future Nostalgia manages to hold its ground as a ballsy undertaking that stands to be the sound of our current realities, despite it being at an unfortunate and unsettling circumstance, as well as an exhale of much needed escape from the walls closing in on us. Sure, we may not be able to go out and dance to this venture of pop perfection by Dua Lipa in a club under the flashes and glints of a disco ball, but it doesn’t take away from its adrenaline-inducing effects, as we dance our anxieties, fears, and worries away in our isolated lockdown party for one—at least for the meantime.