At the Hay Festival on Sunday, award-winning singer Dua Lipa delighted the audience by being honest about how “persistence” had led to her success. She told the assembled audience, “I always wanted to be a pop star, but it never felt like something that was really achievable. She stated that growing up in London and her parents’ native Kosovo had given her the ability to adapt. She told the high-profile literary event, “I’ve been a new girl throughout my life.”
Although there were a variety of people in the audience, many of them were patient parents who were waiting in a queue at the stuffy Baillie Gifford stage with their teenage daughters while looking through Dua’s Instagram page. It goes without saying that the lead singer of One Kiss loves reading. She spoke about literature’s importance during the previous year’s Booker Prize ceremony.
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman, which she referred to as “a first step into understanding racism and classism” when she was ten years old, and The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera were two books that profoundly influenced her life and were covered in greater detail here.
She was born in London after her parents left Kosovo with them when she was 11 years old to escape the violence in the former Yugoslavia. When she was 15, she went back to the UK to finish her GCSEs and pursue a career in music.
She claimed that the concept of coming from two places once has always existed. I was conscious of the dual nature of my heritage even as a young child. She added that people frequently enquired about the meaning of her name. She continued by saying that although she was proud of her name and its origins, there had been times when she wished she had been given a different name, perhaps something more common and English like Hannah.
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Along with “making up dance routines in the playground at school,” the singer continued, reading “was also such a big part of my life.” When she relocated to Kosovo, she came across the 15th-century battle novel The Castle/The Siege by Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare.
“I recall that reading it was quite challenging because it is a large book, but it opened a door to my Albanian heritage. It was similar to another turning point in my life that significantly changed things for me.” She moved back to London on her own at the age of 15, sharing an apartment with a family friend’s daughter who was born in Kosovo. That would be very challenging for most young teenagers, or even for me.
I was really committed,” Dua remarked. “I didn’t think I had as many musical options as I did in London. I was motivated. My dad thinks that it’s difficult to say no to me. She began working for success in the music industry after completing her education.
“I was quite persistent. I just began composing frequently and working with a producer. I was 17. A publication deal was presented to me.” She also said, “Sometimes I’m still working things out. Why not give something a try if you like it? If you don’t just jump in, you’ll never know.”