Dua Lipa
Dua Lipa
Photo by Luc Coiffait

Dua Lipa, the Adele of Pop Bangers, Hits Bayfront Park

Dua Lipa is best known for last summer’s infectious breakout single “New Rules.” The song has thus far spent 43 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, is a bona fide earworm, and is, frankly, solid relationship advice. Ignoring drunk phone calls from exes is always a good idea and one that so many of us fail to remember.

Still, it’s important to note that Lipa is far from a one-hit wonder and just another blip on the pop-music radar. For the uninitiated, we present our Dua Lipa primer ahead of her June 12 show in Miami.

"Dua Lipa" is both an awesome stage name and her birth name.Most days, it’s difficult enough selecting a username when logging onto a website for the first time. The pressure of picking a proper stage name that’s both memorable and representative of the artist being christened must be doubly challenging. Dua Lipa never faced that hurdle because she simply used the name on her birth certificate. Better yet, her name means “love” in Albanian.

She is as physically imposing as her voice is powerful. Standing at a healthy five-foot-eight, Lipa often performs in heels, making her tower over most anyone else onstage. Her concert outfits push her height into the six-foot range, and the look seems all the more natural once she begins singing.

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She (thankfully) had a failed career as a model. Lipa is empirically beautiful, and before she began concentrating on recording and touring, she spent some time modeling. However, it was a short and brutal experience. She told Harper’s Bazaar: “I got approached to do modeling when I was really young. I went there, but I was never the right size. I was never cut out to be a model, and I never really got any real jobs. They were holding onto me for a while, and then they were like, ‘Oh, you know, if you lose a lot of weight, we'll be able to put you out for more jobs.’” The song “Blow Your Mind” was later inspired by these less-than-stellar events.

She is English but of Kosovar descent. Her parents, two equally gorgeous human beings, fled war-torn Kosovo in the early '90s and sought refuge in London, where baby Dua was later born. Then, from the ages of 11 to 15, Lipa returned to live in her homeland. It was a difficult transition, but one she embraced in the end. Before the release of her debut, she started the Sunny Hill Foundation, a charity that seeks to “reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement” in Kosovo.

Her debut album is her best work because it’s all of it.Lipa’s self-titled debut was nearly two years in the making and was postponed by the 22-year-old singer. She told GQ: “I wanted lots of new songs on there. I didn’t just want to fill it with ‘The Very Best Of!’ So it gave me the opportunity to add lots of new songs.” Having already released a handful of successful singles, Lipa had the leeway to make fans wait a bit longer, a move that worked out in the end. The latter days of recording culminated in “IDGAF,” the Miguel duet “Lost in Your Light,” and the ubiquitous “New Rules.”

She was the second-best part of her Saturday Night Live episode. Lipa was the musical guest on the Natalie Portman-hosted episode of SNL this past February. Overall, it was a disappointing effort by the venerable sketch-comedy show, with the exception of two things: “Natalie’s Second Rap” — the followup to 2006’s raunchy teamup between Portman and the Lonely Island — and Lipa’s debut at 30 Rock.

She can get anyone, even anxious Liverpool football fans, to sing along. Although she falls into the same pop category as Camila Cabello, Demi Lovato, and Ellie Goulding, Dua Lipa often sounds more like Adele if Adele were busy chasing pop bangers rather than “Chasing Pavements.” Of course, Lipa can also belt out the ballads. Case in point is “Homesick,” the elegant and graceful piano-driven number that closes out her eponymous debut record. So it makes sense she sometimes refers to her music as “dance-crying.” For example, before her performance at this May’s Champion’s League Final, Liverpool supporters were dancing in the stands to “IDGAF”; after their loss to Real Madrid, they did plenty of crying to “Homesick.”

Dua Lipa. 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, at Bayfront Park Amphitheater, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-358-7550; bayfrontparkmiami.com. Tickets cost $30 via livenation.com.

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