Last month, Dua Lipa released the ultimate modern-day disco album with Future Nostalgia. Only one problem: Dance clubs are currently closed for business.
But that hasn’t dampened the project’s spirit, what with its career-high top five debut on the Billboard 200 albums chart and its second week at No. 1 on the U.K. albums chart. “People are telling me that they’re dancing in their kitchen,” Lipa tells the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast (listen to the full episode below). So the dance floor might be a little less crowded, but listeners are dancing nonetheless.
Future Nostalgia was led by the pop star’s highest-charting Billboard Hot 100 hit to date, “Don’t Start Now,” which peaked at No. 2 on the tally in March. But that doesn’t mean she was always certain the song would strike a chord with pop fans.
“I had never been so scared to release a song,” she tells the Pop Shop Podcast, “… But I loved the song and I was so proud of it and I was so happy to put it out and it be so different from what I had done before. I guess people’s response, that was the win for me. … I knew that me being out of my comfort zone and making this record was the right decision.”
Lipa’s main criteria for which songs made the cut on the album, ironically, was whether she could picture the song being performed in front of a massive festival crowd — the kind of crowd she might not perform to again until maybe next year at the earliest. “If I could imagine it at a festival — like Glastonbury is always my little dream bubble that comes up — I’m like, ‘If I can perform this song at Glastonbury then it should go on the record,'” Lipa said. These songs are screaming to be performed live and danced to in nightclubs, so hopefully Dua has that chance in the near-future. Until then, she’ll keep mounting creative livestream performances, like her backup-dancers-and-all take on “Don’t Start Now” for James Corden’s Homefest special or her green-screen group number for Jimmy Fallon’s at-home Tonight Show.
Below, find more highlights from our chat with the hitmaker, including what she’s learned from quarantine, why the writers behind INXS’ “Need You Tonight” are credited on one of her songs, and what could be the next single from Future Nostalgia.
Why the World Was Ready for Her Album’s New-But-Nostalgic Sound
“Before obviously the pandemic outbreak happened, I think we were kind of in a weird political situation. There was a lot of things going on, there was a lot of stuff on the news that was quite miserable. And I also just wanted to make a record that was really fun and wanting to get away from any anxieties of the outside world. … I wanted to have something that would just get people up and dancing and to take a step back from what’s going on outside. And little did I know that we would all be taking a massive step back and really reflecting on what’s happening, but also finding the little joys at home. And that’s been quite nice.”
What She’s Learned From Her Time in Quarantine
“I think it’s taught me at least that we don’t need to live life so fast. For me, it was always like, ‘OK, what’s next? Where do I have to go? Where am I traveling to? What show is coming up? What do I have to rehearse for?’ All that kind of stuff. And this has really taught me that things maybe aren’t as urgent as they seem and that we can create really meaningful, special moments as well from home.”
What Will Be the Next Future Nostalgia Single?
“I’m going to keep it a little secret for now, but we are working on a new music video for a new song, which I’m excited about. … We’ve been working on the video for that from home. Trying to do something fun. … But it has its own story. We’ll let that happen. When the time comes, you’ll see.
Why the Writers of INXS’ ‘Need You Tonight’ Are Credited on ‘Break My Heart’
While the 1987 INXS Hot 100 No. 1 isn’t sampled on the Future Nostalgia song, Dua Lipa said she and her collaborators (eventually) noticed a similarity between the tracks. “When we were in the studio, we didn’t quite connect the dots. We were just like, ‘Oh yeah, this is great!’ We were on such a high and we were just working on it, and then I listened back, and I was like ‘Hold on, guys…’ … The guys at INXS, the people that are looking after the publishing, were very nice and they really liked the song, so we gave them a publishing credit, a writing credit on the track, because it was only fair, and it just brought nostalgia even more to the forefront, you know? It confirmed that part for us. …
“It was a funny moment when we were like, ‘Eureka!’ And then, ‘Oh, wait a second…’ … I’m not trying to get sued, is kind of the moral of the story,” she laughs.
How She’s Managing Being on Lockdown
“I think I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I was like, ‘Yeah, everything’s great! I can just do all of this!’ Even when I was going to get up and do the Jimmy Fallon performance, the idea of setting up a green screen all on my own in the living room, I had help from my boyfriend, but those little mini-things … they can be like little worries that I have. … I’m ready and prepared to work as much as I can from home and try and do my best. But it has been fun. I have had a lot of fun doing stuff from home and just a new experience.”
Also on the show, we discuss chart moves for The Weeknd, Doja Cat’s first top five Hot 100 hit, and Post Malone’s 33rd week in the top 10 with “Circles.” Plus, we touch on our favorite moments from Saturday’s One World: Together at Home benefit concert. Find Billboard‘s 10 best moments here.
The Billboard Pop Shop Podcast is your one-stop shop for all things pop on Billboard‘s weekly charts. You can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop. Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard‘s senior director of charts Keith Caulfield and deputy editor, digital Katie Atkinson every week on the podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast provider. (Click here to listen to the previous edition of the show on Billboard.com.)