Dua Lipa: ‘If you assert yourself… people are going to call you a bitch’

Angelina Jolie visits Peru to help the Venezuelan refugees

I know this story will get maybe three comments, but I’m still going to write about Dua Lipa because I like her so much. I don’t find her problematic in the least – she seems like a sweet young woman who is still realizing her talent, she makes solid pop music and she doesn’t disrespect or shade anyone to make herself look better. My only real issue with her is that I wish she would understand that she’s actually a big deal instead of a C-list British reality star or something. Anyway, Dua covers one of the multiple covers for the latest issue of British GQ. Dua went ahead and realized her album, Future Nostalgia, during the lockdown and her bops have been charting throughout the pandemic. You can read the full GQ piece here. Some highlights:

On her ambition. “If you assert yourself and you know exactly what you want, people are going to call you a bitch. But you can’t allow other people’s words to affect your growth.”

On the early criticism of her dance moves & live performances: “Once you get big enough, everybody wants to see if you can back it up. And rightfully so… But at the same time, I was learning; I was at the beginning of my career. And so I did feel like it was quite unfair when I started getting hate about certain things – what I was doing, what my performances were like, what my dancing was like, what my singing was like – and I felt like I was being picked at from so many angles of my life.”

On the expectation to be a strong dancer: “I remember going to a show by…a male artist that actually doesn’t do anything on stage. And they got this stellar five-star review. But then you have women who get up on stage and they’re practically doing cartwheels, costume changes – it’s a spectacle. And then [reviewers] nitpick every little thing.”

She’s not wallowing in self-pity though: “It almost seemed like a myth to be able to do everything on stage. I was like, ‘At least if I can just sing my song really well then nothing else matters.’ But I think now I’ve come to terms with the fact it just has to be all or nothing. It’s made me so much stronger.”

Women in music: “There is a massive problem – that maybe starts in schools – in which girls aren’t necessarily encouraged to play more masculine instruments, aren’t really encouraged to go into production, whereas men naturally fall into that path.” When I ask Lipa how many women are in the credits for Future Nostalgia, there is a definite pause. “There are no female producers on the record, which, you know… Hopefully in the future I would be able to work with more of them. I just, in all honesty, don’t know very many. And I really wish I did, because I would really take the time to sit down and hone in a sound with women.”

She knows she needs to look beyond stan culture: “I needed to create an album that I was really proud of, without the opinion of other people. If I stayed online and tried to follow the guidelines of stan culture, I’d probably be trying to remake ‘New Rules’ over and over again.”

[From British GQ]

British GQ went on to point out that, actually, there are two women producers credited on this album, so Dua forgot about them! She was trying to do something good there and she sort of stepped on her own messaging. Plus, she really did work with women on this album, from dance people to song co-writers to the producers she forgot about. And she’s 100% right about the double standards for men performing live versus women performing live. Women are expected to be nothing short of Beyonce. Men like Ed Sheeran – whom I’m convinced was Dua’s reference – get to just stand in front of a microphone in jeans and a t-shirt.

Anwar Hadid and girlfriend/singer Dua Lipa arrive at the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California, United States.

Cover courtesy of British GQ, photos courtesy of WENN.

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21 Responses to “Dua Lipa: ‘If you assert yourself… people are going to call you a bitch’”

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  1. Ninks says:

    She’s 100% right, I’m pretty sure she’s talking about Ed Sheeran too but it could be a multitude of male artists. One direction were the biggest boy band in the world and did the bare minimum on stage while girl bands of the same era worked 5 times as hard, put on amazing shows with fully choreographed numbers which they danced in high heels and tiny costumes and had 1/10th of their success.

  2. Kiki says:

    I really appreciare Dua Lipa. I really like her smooth alto voice and that’s all I need. With all due respect… Dua Lipa can’t dance and that’s alright with me. Just her, a microphone and her voice and I am entertained. Besides she one of few artist who can clear and well unlike most artist. Sorry Selena Gomez.

  3. Léna says:

    I’ll be the third comment haha! I like her a lot. Her music is fun but I really enjoy the style. I always thought it was unfair she was critiqued for her dance moves. I’m glad she is getting better at it, but it shouldn’t be required of her.

  4. Michael says:

    I really like Dua Lips too. And she is a big deal. Not sure what Yolanda taught her children but all the Hadid kids have attached themselves to huge music stars (Zayn’s star is falling by his own choices)

  5. ReginaGeorge says:

    The thing is, for the last 2 decades or so, the music industry has been pushing and promoting female artist based more on looks than talent. So a mediocre singer needs to go all out to make an impression. Like Jlo and Britney. Their stuff was heavy on the dancing because their voices were weak. But they look good so I guess whatever. As opposed to someone like Whitney back in the day, who didn’t need to do anything but stand on stage and belt her songs and it was glorious. For men, you can literally look like Ed Sheeran and be promoted based on your talent. Think of all of the greats before the early aughts. Aretha, Gladys Knight, Carly Simon, Whitney, Celine, Mariah. None of them had to do a whole dance routine to get attention, cuz their voices were so powerful. Tina Turner was the exception, not the rule. And all of it was ok. Now I feel like women are expected to be triple threats even when they hardly are. Mediocre voices are a dime a dozen in pop music lately. Dua can just keep singing. I love her voice. I don’t need here to dance. Same with Adele. Just focus on that voice.

    • Sass says:

      I agree. I grew up in the age of JLo and Britney and I couldn’t stand it. I told my dad one time as he was driving me somewhere and Britney came on the radio: can you change the channel? She sounds like a goat. I was about 12, and heavily involved in vocal performance and already had a stronger voice than hers. Just couldn’t understand the appeal. I think she’s an interesting and nice person and some of her stuff IS catchy but her voice is nothing special.

    • Sankay says:

      This has been the case for a very long time and not just with women although it’s more prevalent with them. I remember an interview with the band the Blues Traveler where they stated the studio would not allow them to Be pictured on the cover of the albums because they weren’t “attractive.”

    • DiegoInSF says:

      Hey JLO has some amazing bops, long live the iconic queen. Anyway, Dua’s latest album is amazing, I am in love with it!

  6. Nia says:

    Its here on Celebitchy I heard about Dua. It was written in a post that you enjoy her music, so I downloaded her albums. I love her, and I love how involved she is. She doesnt just buy a hot track prewritten and produced then tinker with it like so many stars do.

  7. Lolo86lf says:

    I love Dua Lipa. She should sing the next James Bond movie theme song.

    • Carol says:

      I love Dua lipa too! And I so agree with all her sentiments. However it seems like the dance requirement is mainly for pop stars? . I don’t see many country singers doing cartwheels on stage. I’d rather have someone stay in one place and belt out good tunes then singers relying on machines to help them sing because they are out of breath jumping around. Although Madonna’s confessions tour was pretty good. Hee!

  8. detritus says:

    To paraphrase another smart woman – I can do everything he can do, but in heels.

    She’s bang on, and despite the minor misstep im excited to hear more form here. Both her using her platform like this and her music, because girls got pipes.

  9. Mindy_Dopple says:

    Future Nostalgia is one of my favorite albums to blast right now and it’s so fun. She’s totally right about women being expected to go full Beyonce but most men get to just stand on stage and sway side to side.

  10. Storminateacup says:

    I like Dua. ‘Don’t start now’ is a good tune. She did well at the Brit Awards. You can see the growth from the first to the second album and she will be interesting to watch going forward.

  11. Lucy says:

    She might have stepped on her own message, but at least now we know she’s actually walking the walk. I like her a whole lot too, she can sing her a** off and she sounds very smart and grounded. I just wish she had kept her hair dark, but that’s more my problem than hers.

  12. Arie says:

    Her comment about male artists that don’t do much on stage while women are expected to be jumping all over the place is spot on. Probably one of the reasons people like male Kpop groups so much…they’re the only boy bands who actually dance anymore!

  13. Barfly says:

    Its so true. I bartend & if i cut someone off, throw out a customers for being belligerent to others or just check someone for being rude im a bitch, i think i own the place, im a control freak, etc…. If its one of the door guys or a male bartender they’re “just doing their job”. Men don’t like it when a woman can tell them no, kick them out & make it so they can’t come back. God forbid a female point out your shortcomings…..

  14. adastraperaspera says:

    She’s a great singer! Look forward to her speaking out more and getting a chance to work with women producers.

  15. Portmanteau says:

    The hive mind of this site is off putting.

  16. Mina_Esq says:

    It certainly seems that men in the music industry feel less pressure to put on a big show than women do. Women universally have to work harder to get the same degree of recognition. It really does suck. Lots of famous male singers out there have equally weak voices to some of the names mentioned (Britney, etc), but they still get away with putting in less effort.
    As for the bitch comment – I’ve only ever had other women call me a bitch, most recently on this forum for having an opinion. THAT is also a problem imo. Her point of finding and working with more women is vital.