Dua Lipa Explains How 'New Rules' Became Her First Top 40 Hit

Courtesy Photo
Dua Lipa "New Rules"

The pop star says that the song's music video was like "rocket fuel" for its chart success.

Dua Lipa’s music video for “New Rules” is singular among pop visuals this year, both ambitious in execution and immediately understandable in its base emotion. It’s also one of the biggest reasons that the song is now in the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Filmed in Miami and set at a hotel cheekily named The Confidante, the “New Rules” video begins in earnest with a close-up of the pop star looking contemplative in bed… but then the camera pulls out and shows that she is not alone, but surrounded by girl friends ready to offer synchronized support.

The rest of the video features a mix of choreography, color schemes, lavish scenes within The Confidante and expensive-looking sunglasses, but “New Rules” is anchored by that camaraderie — Lipa is bolstered by the women around her as they advise her (via the lyrics in the song’s incendiary pre-chorus) to ignore the alluring calls of her ex. The girls in “New Rules” are in lock-step, often literally, and Lipa gains strength in those numbers.

Lipa released the “New Rules” video in July, after previously issuing singles like “Be The One,” “Hotter Than Hell” and “Lost In Your Light” from her debut album. Those tracks found success overseas, and “Blow Your Mind (Mwah)” climbed as high as No. 72 on the Hot 100, but Lipa wasn’t getting consistent radio traction in the U.S. before this summer. In a conversation with Billboard last month, Lipa says that the “New Rules” video quickly changed that.

“Everyone was reposting it and sending it to their friends, and I was just like, ‘What is happening?’” says Lipa. “Like, the views were just soaring, and that's just never happened before. It was like rocket fuel for the song.”

On this week’s Hot 100, “New Rules” reaches a new peak at No. 38, up six spots from the last tally; meanwhile, its video has surpassed the 450 million mark on YouTube, more than four times as many as the “Blow Your Mind (Mwah)” clip. “It’s been surreal, and really exciting,” Lipa adds. "I was very excited to shoot the video, because I’d come up with this concept that I was really proud of and that I thought that would be something that would attract people’s attention but it also kind of gave the song a different meaning. … I just didn’t expect it to do this. Like, I thought people were gonna like it, but I didn’t think it was gonna become a meme.”

Yes, Dua Lipa has seen the “New Rules” memes — the many GIFs pulled straight from the video, but also the parodies it has inspired. Her favorite is this one, where the lyrics become a how-to guide for surviving a horror movie. She also loves Jake Wilson’s all-male “Boy Version”; the parody, posted one week after “New Rules," has 6 million views on its own.

But “New Rules” has also opened up Lipa as a touring artist: after playing arena dates on Bruno Mars’ 24k Magic tour, the singer will headline New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom (2200 capacity) and Los Angeles’ Hollywood Palladium (3700 capacity) later this fall. She’s well aware that she would likely not be selling out these shows if “New Rules” hadn’t connected over the past few months.

"I’ve been touring for such a long time and eventually some of the dates sell out, but it’s just never happened this fast,” she explains. "And it’s probably down to 'New Rules' doing its thing, but it’s so nice to have people want to come to the shows and not just think that it’s just one single. They actually want to come and listen to the whole album and come to the experience, and I appreciate that so much.”

Lipa released her self-titled debut in June, and says that there are likely two more singles from the full-length that will follow “New Rules.” The single’s success has also made her hungrier — Lipa is already working on new music for her next album, as both a means of capitalizing on her newfound U.S. fame, and for self-preservation.

"I just don’t really want to be forgotten,” she admits. "I’m just gonna keep them coming. That’s what I want. I just want to keep going. I just either want to be on tour, or be releasing music."