Gig of the Week: Dua Lipa at the Olympia

Unlike brashy pop stars of the 90s, Lipa’s message of independence is more subdued

Born to Albanian parents in Kosovo, Lipa moved to London when she was 15 to finish her studies and to pursue a singing career.

Born to Albanian parents in Kosovo, Lipa moved to London when she was 15 to finish her studies and to pursue a singing career.

 

The pop chart is a very cool place right now, filled with very cool pop stars that carry themselves in a way that no one else can and leading that charge is Dua Lipa. Bringing her First Loves Tour to Dublin’s Olympia Theatre, everyone in attendance can thank the London singer for providing some of the best relationship advice via song they’ve ever received. Between New Rules and IDGAF, it’s very possible that if you’re a chart-loving, fun-loving kinda guy or gal, then Lipa has played a role in how you approach a break-up.

Unlike the brashy pop stars of the 90s, who used gobbiness to their global advantage, Lipa takes a more subdued route by embedding clever messages of independence and empowerment into her songs while retaining a very calm exterior. To compare the Spice Girls to Lipa is perhaps a mental thing to do, mostly because there’s five of them and only one Dua, but the current pop stars reigning the charts today were either reared on or influenced by the Girl Power promoted by Scary, Sporty, Ginger, Baby and Posh.

Over the course of time – 22 years to be exact, the same age as Lipa is now – the Spice Girls’ rough-around-the-edges approach has been polished down, converting the sentiment of Spice Girl’s Wannabe to something more concrete. Going from the playful “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends” to the no-frills approach of Lipa’s New Rules: “One: Don’t pick up the phone/You know he’s only callin’ ‘cause he’s drunk and alone.”

Dabbled in modelling

Born to Albanian parents in Kosovo, Lipa moved to London when she was 15 to finish her studies and to pursue a singing career. When she landed in the UK, she dabbled in modelling for a few years before landing a recording contract with Warner Music in 2015. Two years later, her debut album was released into the world and at the Brit Awards this February, she took home the awards for Best British Breakthrough Act and Best British Female Solo Artist. If only we all made such good decisions at the age of 15.

With a name born for the stage, supermodel looks and a rich, deep voice that melts around the words she sings, to paraphrase what Louis Walsh says from every season of The X Factor, “You look like a popstar, you sing like a popstar, you ARE a popstar!” Blending in R&B tones to suit her voice and delivering choruses with an EDM thud, her music is the perfect modern pop package, which translates to chart gold. Currently, IDGAF is sitting pretty at number four in the Irish charts and New Rules, which was released in July, is at number 26.

These Olympia dates are Lipa’s first headlining Irish shows but her first Irish slot happened last summer when she played the main stage at Longitude Festival. It was the late afternoon on a slightly soggy day in July but, even then, her star power shone through. If an audience is happy to watch a gig through the condensation of a sticky, plastic poncho, it means that you actually have the X Factor. That’s what it takes, Louis. That’s how you know . . .

Still riding ever so high on the non-stop success of her debut album, Dua Lipa was the sound of last summer and with One Kiss, her collaboration with Calvin Harris, hot off the presses – so hot it wasn’t released by the time of going to print – she’s set to dominate the summer charts all over again.

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