Billboard has an exclusive look at this SZA/Dua-focused issue before it hits newsstands on May 3, 2018.
Dua Lipa, interviewed by Katy Perry:
On Her Record Breaking Video for "New Rules":
For “New Rules,” I had no idea where I wanted it to go. Some directors were sending ideas but there was nothing that I liked. In the meantime, I saw a pic- ture of [an old] Gianni Versace campaign with Naomi Campbell on the back of [Kristen McMenamy]. I loved the colors, how it was shot, and the message of girls looking after each other. Initially, “New Rules” felt like such a sad song, even though it’s upbeat. It was nice to change it into a routine with friends if you’re going through a breakup or any sort of trouble.
Perry: What does the roof of your dreams look like?
Lipa: I don’t ever want to feel accomplished, because there should always be something else to look forward to. I always want to be nervous and scared of my dreams, but at the same time, I want to be confident enough to go and get them.
Perry: I think that’s the recipe for success. Never get comfortable.
On Industry Rules:
I did a [BBC] Radio 1 Live Lounge of my song “IDGAF,” and I hadn’t actually met Zara Larsson before, but I just messaged her—we’d been friends on social media—and was like, “Hey, do you want to come down and sing this song with me?” Then I asked Charli XCX and MØ and Alma, and I was like, “Why don’t you guys come down and sing this song with me?” It’s nice to come together with other girls in the industry. It’s interesting to see people just hanging out. For so many years, the media has kind of pitted girls against each other.
On Pre-Show Rituals:
I’m really superstitious. First I’ll warm up, drink lots of tea, hang out with my band. If people in the room have anything in their cups, they aren’t allowed to cheers. Not just before a show, but ever. Before a show in Stockholm, my band thought it’d be funny to cheers with water before our show. I was so mad at them, and we went onstage and literally everything went wrong. Everything. Before my Brit Awards performance, I was so worried that I was gonna jinx my performance by being so nervous—so I wore my knickers inside out, under my outfit.
SZA, interviewed by Jada Smith:
On her artistic energy:
In my music, it’s really hard to be super-conscious; I’m in another state of consciousness when I’m making music. But when I’m my most effective, that mode of healing is when I get to perform and see everybody. I send out and absorb love. Meet-and-greets are a new thing I never got to do before. I meet, like, 200 people before each show. We hug each other and really look at each other. Healing and loving people, I guess that’s me.
On staying grounded:
Meditation is the easiest way to re-center and ground yourself. Sometimes, I get really tired; I feel like I’m hitting a wall I’m about to break through. I just know I have to keep going because there’s about to be some sort of weird endurance experience after. I’d never been on tour before; I never did 40 or 50 cities. I just had to build calmness.
On growing up:
SZA: I was awkward. I’m super sensitive, and my mother made me extra sensitive because she’s just so unapologetically loving. I’ve realized some people don’t hug in their families, or say that they love each other all day. My family tells me they love me all day; I’m hyper affectionate, laying it on other people, just because it’s what we do in my house. But in the world, that was weird, and it was really difficult to be super sensitive and hyper-open. It was just frightening. I guess my mom represented something that made me feel weak. I felt like, this is why I’m hurt. When I got older, I realized, Oh shit, the whole world is wrong and my mom is right…
Smith: It’s beautiful that you see the power, the feminine spirit, in your mother -- in a world where the feminine is really kind of degraded, not respected in its truest form.
Dua Lipa & Sza photographed by Inez & Vinoodh
Styled by George Cortina
Dua wears dress by Gucci and necklace by Moschino
Sza wears bodysuit by Versace