meta-scriptDua Lipa, Common, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Shania Twain, Keith Urban And More To Present At 2020 GRAMMYs | GRAMMY.com
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Dua Lipa, Common, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Shania Twain, Keith Urban And More To Present At 2020 GRAMMYs

Plus, current GRAMMY nominees Brandi Carlile and Tanya Tucker will play double duty as both presenters and performers

GRAMMYs/Jan 23, 2020 - 02:06 am

The Recording Academy has announced the lineup of presenters for the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards. Set to hand out the golden gramophones on Music's Biggest Night are current GRAMMY nominees Jim Gaffigan and Trevor Noah, both nominated in the Best Comedy Album category this year, plus previous GRAMMY winners Common, Cynthia Erivo, Dua Lipa, Billy Porter, Smokey Robinson, Shania Twain, Keith Urban and Stevie Wonder. The night's presenters will also include past GRAMMY nominees Ava DuVernay and Bebe Rexha, plus music industry moguls Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne

Additionally, previously announced Brandi Carlile and Tanya Tucker will play double duty as both presenters and performers. 

Read: Gloria Gaynor And Cheap Trick To Headline The 2020 GRAMMY Celebration 

The 2020 presenters join an all-star cast of previously announced world-class artists and performers, who will take the stage at this year's GRAMMYs, including Aerosmith, who are also performing live at the 2020 MusiCares Person Of The Year event in their honor, Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Ariana Grande, Jonas Brothers, Camila Cabello, Rosalía, H.E.R., Demi Lovato, Bonnie Raitt, Run-D.M.C., Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, Tyler, The Creator and Charlie Wilson. Additionally, John Legend, DJ Khaled, Meek Mill, Roddy Ricch, YG and Kirk Franklin will perform all-star tribute to the late, GRAMMY-nominated Nipsey Hussle.

Read: Aerosmith To Perform Live At The 2020 MusiCares Person Of The Year 

The 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards, hosted by Alicia Keys, will be broadcast live from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT on CBS. Learn more about where and how to watch Music's Biggest Night

2020 GRAMMY Awards: Complete Nominees List

Zayn
Zayn Malik attends the Valentino Menswear Fall/Winter 2024-2025 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 20, 2024 in Paris, France

Photo: Marc Piasecki/WireImage via Getty Images

list

New Music Friday: Listen To Songs & Albums From Zayn, The Avett Brothers, Bebe Rexha & More

As Billie Eilish fans rejoice over the release of her latest album, they're not the only fandom jamming new tunes on May 17. Check out new music from Maria Becerra, Saweetie, Galantis, and more.

GRAMMYs/May 17, 2024 - 04:12 pm

As music fans know, Friday is the official weekday of new releases — but this week began with a bang.

On Monday, May 13, Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, released Atavista, a "finished" version of his 2020 album, 3.15.20. Back then, he released a nascent version of said album on his website, before pulling it down and uploading it to streaming services the following week, with guest appearances by Ariana Grande, 21 Savage and more.

Happily, the finished product retains those inspired guest appearances, over polished and honed versions of the original tunes. With the release of Atavista, Glover released a music video for "Little Foot Big Foot," featuring Young Nudy. He also promised special vinyl with visuals for each song, as well as an all-new Childish Gambino album due this summer.

And before Friday even hit, two country superstars also delivered exciting new tracks. Also on May 13, Lainey Wilson unleashed "Hang Tight Honey," the first single from her forthcoming third album, Whirlwind, out August 23. Three days later, Luke Combs released "Ain't No Love In Oklahoma," the lead track from TWISTERS: THE ALBUM. (Arriving July 19, the soundtrack will feature a number of other country greats, from Miranda Lambert to Shania Twain to Jelly Roll.) 

Today, there are plenty of other musical delicacies to savor. One of the most prominent is Billie Eilish's hotly anticipated third album, HIT ME HARD AND SOFT. Also, Puerto Rican rap star Álvaro Díaz's SAYONARA; American singer/songwriter Sasha Alex Sloan's Me Again; and 1D star Zayn's ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS have been unveiled. Even renowned actress Kate Hudson has also joined the musical ranks, releasing her debut album, Glorious.

Veterans, too, are stepping out with fresh offerings. Psych-tinged retro rockers Cage the Elephant are back with their first album in five years, Neon Pill. Slash released Orgy of the Damned, an album of mostly blues covers featuring guests from Gary Clark Jr. to Iggy Pop to Demi Lovato. On the opposite side of the coin, boy band pioneers New Kids on the Block return with Still Kids, their first album in 11 years, featuring guests DJ Jazzy Jeff and Taylor Dayne.

Still, that doesn't even begin to cover the trove of new songs delivered on May 17. Omar Apollo, Peggy Gou and HARDY released tracks from upcoming albums, and Russ (feat. 6LACK), Charlotte Cardin and T-Pain released inspired singles. What other treasures have this Friday wrought? Check the below list for albums and tunes to add to your weekend playlist!

The Avett Brothers — The Avett Brothers

With their previous album, back in 2019, Americana favorites the Avett Brothers declared they were Closer Than Together. Now, they're back with a self-titled album, and a return to their original label, Ramseur Records.

But that's just one way they're circling back to their roots; the Rick Rubin-produced The Avett Brothers returns to burning-rubber vocals; sturdy, folkloric melodies; and lovelorn lyrics. If those are your bag, don't miss tracks like "Love of a Girl," "Orion's Belt" and "Same Broken Bones."

Bebe Rexha, "Chase It (Mmm Da Da Da)"

Bebe Rexha's last album was 2023's Bebe, but this phenom of a pop singer/songwriter is already back with new music. Get warmed up for the impending summer sun with "Chase It (Mmm Da Da Da)," complete with a rip-roaring video.

The four-time GRAMMY nominee debuted her latest banger in the desert sands of Coachella 2024; if you're ready for the swooping, thumping official version, chase it down today. 

Meaningfully, "Chase It (Mmm Da Da Da)" marks Rexha's first solo dance track after numerous collaborations with electronic acts; she even earned back-to-back GRAMMY nods in 2023 and 2024 for jams concocted with David Guetta, and her only other release of 2024 so far was a collab with Brazilian DJ Alok.

Galantis, Rx

We haven't gotten a new album from the beloved Swedish EDM duo Galantis in a hot minute; that just changed. Though they has released two albums since 2015's Pharmacy — 2017's The Aviary and 2020's Church — Galantis' latest album is a direct successor to their game-changing debut. Behold, the aptly titled Rx.

Running the gamut from ethereal textures to electrifying, pulsing rhythms, Rx directly reckons with Galantis's now-sole member Christian Karlsson's ADHD, and how medication was a game-changer in his life and work.

"Pharmacy was when I knew I was neurodivergent and I knew the studio was like a pharmacy for me," Karlsson stated in a press release. "I was the patient. Rx is when I found medication. For me, it was key, but of course, everyone walks their own path."

Saweetie — "NANi"

Before Saweetie officially released "NANi," she had been teasing the track all week long. On May 11, at the 2024 Gold Gala, an annual gathering of top Asian Pacific and multicultural leaders, the rapper (who has Filipino and Chinese roots) told Billboard, "NANi' is that girl. 'NANi' is main character energy." And on Instagram, as part of the cover art reveal for the single, she declared, "We gon' fkkk up the Summer."

She certainly will. The poolside-partying, Smirnoff-plugging video lives up to a YouTube commenter's adroit description: "It's giving Barbie and Bratz royalty!" Will it be part of Pretty Bitch Music, the album she's been teasing (and honing) for years? Time will tell.

Warren Zeiders — "Betrayal"

Warren Zeiders staked his claim with his 2021 debut single, "Ride the Lightning"; now, he's got a stormcloud overhead. The uber-moody "Betrayal" makes no bones about its subject: "This isn't how I pictured you and I/ Smile in my face while you twist the knife/ Shame on me if you fool me twice/ You fooled me twice."

As unremittingly bleak as the lyrics are, though, the budding country star's melody lets the light in. What an alchemy: the more Zeiders bemoans being chapfallen and frustrated, the lap steel-laced music evermore swoops and sparkles.

María Becerra — "IMAN (Two of Us)"

Once a YouTuber, and now an urbano sensation, bubbly Argentine singer María Becerra is back with a four-on-the-floor stomper. The somewhat Dua Lipa-tinted "IMAN (Two of Us)" is a delight, as is its candy-coated video, where Becerra cavorts and romances through a surreal art exhibit.

Her new album, MB3*, is expected sometime in 2024; it should also include tunes like "Slow it Down," "Do You (feat. 24kGoldn)" and "Agora." Let the earworm "IMAN" slake your thirst in the meantime.

Zayn — ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS

Boy band acolytes will always long for the return of One Direction, who have been on hiatus since 2016. But in the meantime, their solo work just keeps getting sweeter. Following a three-year intermission, Zayn released ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS; for him, this music cuts to the quick of who he is.

"I think the intention behind this album fully is ​​for the listener to get more insight on me personally as a human being," Zayn explained in an Instagram post. "My ambitions, my fears, and for them to have a connection with that and that's why it's so raw. It's just me."

Taking six years to get right, and marking a return to Mercury Records, ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS is an unmistakable sonic and thematic evolution for the One Direction star. As with the other selections on this list, it's right on time for spring — let the songs of the season help you flourish, too.

New Music Friday: Listen To Songs From Megan Thee Stallion, Camila Cabello & Lil Nas X, BTS' RM & More

Danny L Harle attends Last Days Opera After Party at Chateau Marmont on February 06, 2024 in Los Angeles
Danny L Harle

Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Photonia

interview

Danny L Harle's Quest For Pop Euphoria: How Working With Dua Lipa Led To A New Level Of Creative Joy

The songwriter and producer talks about crafting Dua Lipa’s ‘Radical Optimism’ and the UK’s Eurovision entry for 2024. "It was all about making space for the great emotion of the song," Harle says.

GRAMMYs/May 6, 2024 - 01:51 pm

**"I’ve got an obsessive mind," admits producer Danny L Harle. "I often can't sleep at night because I've got melodies circling in my head. I get haunted by melodies, and I think that's why some people trust me, because they know that I will not let it go unless I think it's absolutely perfect."

That dedication to crafting powerful pop melodies has resulted in a treasure trove of earworms on Dua Lipa’s new album Radical Optimism. Harle was recruited by Lipa as one of the album’s co-producers, alongside Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker and songwriters Tobias Jesso Jr and Caroline Ailin.

It's no surprise that Harle was recruited to craft a record that seeks to find light and happiness where darkness prevails. Since his 2015 debut EP Broken Flowers, Harle has created dance-pop that examined the relationship between melancholia and euphoria, as well as the grandeur and escapism of a rave. 

After releasing a string of singles via PC Music, Harle dropped his first album, Harlecore, in 2021 with Mad Decent. The ecstatic spirit of Harlecore, which is centered around a virtual rave headed by four imaginary DJs, echoes in Harle’s latest collaboration as co-writer and producer of the UK’s Eurovision song, "Dizzy" by Olly Alexander. 

"There is good pop music and more algorithmic pop music, pop music which is more guaranteed to work and is less interesting," Harle says. "I just really like good pop music, and that, for me, always seems to start from my research with people."

It was Harle’s naturally synergistic approach to collaboration that led to his work with Lipa. He has also worked with yeule on their album Glitch Princess, and the likes of Charli XCX. But it was his production and writing on  singer Caroline Polachek's  debut solo album that caught Dua Lipa's ear. "She appreciated the spirit of collaboration with that album and wanted me to make her album."

Read below to get a taste of how Danny Harle made Radical Optimism and other earwormy, dancefloor hits.  

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Hey Danny! What’s that cool instrument behind you?

It’s an electric double bass, which is my main instrument: bass guitar and double bass. I use that on some of the Caroline Polachek stuff. There's certain artists who come into the room and see that and they're like, "We have to use that." And some people try to pretend it doesn't exist.

It’s fascinating; I used to play that instrument when I was younger, and then gave it up. There was a 10 year gap, and then I found a place much later in my life where it could fit in. I stopped playing bass guitar at one point as well. 

Then I found myself in a session with NAO, and she was like, "Can you play bass guitar?" There was one literally on display outside, the Squire bass, so I picked it up and we made a track together. She was in a session with Nile Rodgers the next day playing it to him, and he loved it, and then it was on the Chic album [It’s About Time]! At that point I lost any preconceptions I had about needing good gear to make a great sounding music.

Did you do a lot of the bass work on Dua’s album?

I did a fair amount of it, but a lot of it is a collaboration with me and Kevin Parker. All that time he's spent touring and playing the bass live is time that I've spent in front of a computer. So it's hard to compare bass skills, as much as it's my instrument. 

Alongside being a great live player, Kevin has a particular skill for making an instrument sound great when it is recorded, which is a completely different thing. There were some times where I was like, "I prefer the way that it sounds when you do it." And then sometimes he would ask me to do it as well. It was a really nice, trusting partnership. 

The process of the album was very trusting; a sense of being able to say when you think something could be better, but also understanding that trusting someone else is good at what they're doing. It was a very rare environment, but the atmosphere of respect and trust was quite an incredible thing to experience. If you hear what anybody says involved in that process, they'll say those are some of the best sessions they’ve ever had in that respect. 

We were talking about this key Motown idea, which is that happy songs go best over a sad melody. It doesn’t have to be the melody, it can be the music sounding sad; "Tears Of A Clown" by Smokey Robinson is a good example. There's something very resonant in that combination. 

"Houdini," "Training Season" and "Illusion" are all in minor keys, aren’t they? It makes for such melodically rich stuff that’s different from your average four chord pop progression.

Yup. It’s not as simple as happy song, happy chords. It adds richness to the emotional landscape of the song, and that was a key element in that. 

It was a room full of people who are excited by hearing new melodies and approaches and structures. That’s why you don’t really hear the same melodic patterns that music’s fallen into these days on the album. I find that particularly inspiring. 

You’ve written with stars like Charli XCX and Rina Sawayama before, but this is your first extended project with a pop star. You first made pop music to engage people as a virtually unknown musician, but now that attention is guaranteed. Did that change the way you think about pop?

Not at all. My approach to this stuff, especially these days, is that I can just do my thing. I'm very honored to work with the people I've been working with. Very early on in my career when I was trying to make pop music in that way, it would always go horribly wrong. Whereas now I just try to make good music. 

Some people can just make a pop song and I can't do that. I'm like, "Let's make a good song." I personally believe that there is good pop music and more algorithmic pop music, pop music which is more guaranteed to work and is less interesting. I just really like good pop music, and that, for me, always seems to start from my research with people just trying to make the best music. 

How did you make this record more personal to Dua in terms of influences and not just lyrically?

It all stems from her at the center of it; so much stuff happens to her. It’s insane, the amount she’d have to say before every session — [like] "These tracks are actually making points." 

Then it would be a case of finding an instrumental with a certain emotion, and out of natural conversation, there’d be a sense of connection [from] a phrase someone would hit on. [But] it would always stem from her as the center of the whole thing. It was just a very organic way of writing and we were very privileged with the rich life Dua leads to draw from. 

This record was a tight songwriting team — where did you fit into it?

I was contributing to all of the tracks in all factors: lyric ideas most rarely, but also melodic ideas, songwriting ideas, mainly from a production standpoint.  

I would be in the corner on my computer, and I would constantly be in conversation with everybody. We might have Kevin on a guitar, and then I’d be making some electronic arpeggios to go with that. I’d be constantly AirDropping stuff to Cam Gower, the greatest vocal engineer in the world, and he would be stacking what we had in ProTools. Sometimes I would take Cam’s session and put it into my computer — like with ‘Illusion’, because there’s stuff that goes on that affects the whole track in a way that I needed to do to get that dancey feel. 

It's quite a global, almost old-fashioned producer role I was taking. I think that was a valuable thing for Dua in certain cases, because I would know about every song on the album. If we were writing with new writers, I'd be like, ‘we already said this idea in that song.’ I would have an eye on the whole thing and be a soundboard for the overall project. 

Let’s start with the opening track, "End Of An Era" is unexpectedly calming and gentle. What prompted you guys to make this the opener?

I just love the idea of starting an album with the track called "End Of An Era"; it is quite an alarming thing to see. I love the tone of the track, the joy of it, but also the fairy-godmother-style commentary going over it as well. 

It's about that heart-eyes emoji feeling of knowing you're irrationally in love in the moment where you rethink everything about your life. I just thought the emotion fit really well. The album has a story to it, and it's a great opener for that story.  

The track "These Walls" expands Dua’s voice in a way I haven’t heard her sing before. Could you walk me through the production of that song?

With that song, I didn't want to get in the way of the purity of the message. It’s very important to understand when a track does not need to be a production showcase, you are in service of the storytelling. 

It was all about making space for the great emotion of the song and having occasional moments of departure, and always being relevant to what is being said. When she says "Did you really mean it when you said forever?", the track disappears into a strange fantasy synth moment. That idea is [that] your mind might get taken away by the thought of forever, just for a moment, as a sort of impossible idea. That's what the music's doing — it takes you out and it lands you straight back into the track.

There’s also a moment of self-deprecating humor: "If these walls could talk / they’d say you’re f—ed.". Was that humor fostered by the close relationship all the songwriters had?

Absolutely. That kind of thing is often the most memorable bit of a song, if placed correctly in the most tasteful area. There’s a track on the yeule album Glitch Princess, where it’s these big Charles Ives chords I wrote. It sounds like it’s gonna be a nice piano ballad, but the first line is "feels like s—." [Laughs.] It takes you by surprise, but it fits with the mood of the track. 

With Dua, it’s tastefully placing it where it fits in the story, and that point in the chorus, it felt perfect. It also reminds me of this idea in the [software] engineering world: the rubber duck principle. They have a rubber duck there because engineers will want to ask a question, but often when you’re asking the question, you’ll realize the answer to it. The rubber duck is there so you can ask the question and it’ll tell you the answer because you already knew it. ‘These Walls’ reminds me of that; if these walls are saying I’m f—ed, you know you’re f—ed. 

The climax of the album is "Falling Forever." It’s super ballsy, and the drums are mixed so loudly. Tell me about how this track came to be.

It’s a beautiful one, that one. A great thinker said it sounds like a thousand galloping horses. That one came about in the sessions with [producer and songwriter] Ian Kirkpatrick. He came in with the chords you hear at the beginning, and I really enjoyed the idea of having a galloping rhythm. You don’t hear the gallop very often, I can’t think of one other song that’s done that in recent history. 

I also thought up the "how long" thing — I thought it would be fun to make the word ‘long’ really long. Those were my key contributions to the song. Ian Kirkpatrick, his drums are so fantastic. You’ve gotta let him get on with it. 

The vocals are also so close there’s subtler production going on earlier in the album, but this song punches you right in the face.

It’s so great. It’s very much an approach that I have with singers where I want them to do a thing that makes their voice sound f—ing amazing. The first time I thought I achieved that with Caroline was with "Parachute," using everything her voice can do: the runs, the high register, the emotional low register. This is a showcase. "Falling Forever" does that with Dua. "These Walls" is an interesting comparison as well, it shows a real range of emotion that Dua is capable of in a way I find really exciting. 

It’s indescribable to hear her sing in the room. I had the privilege of having her recording demo vocals on an SM-7 [microphone] like this sitting in front of her. It is unbelievable to hear that: just a human making that sound in front of you, it’s like nothing else. It’s like witnessing a wonder of the world. Also to use the specific, occasionally metallic sound she can make with her voice, to use it when necessary as part of an expression of something, the way she phrases things is incredible as well. 

Does the message of Radical Optimism — of finding grace in the chaos — match the euphoria you want to explore in music?

There is a sense of melancholic euphoria as well, the Elizabethan side of things. I would say there's a Venn diagram of euphoria that fits with Dua. 

On the track "Happy For You," there are certain ravey things going on where Dua was like, "What’s that sound?" It’s these chords Kevin wrote, and I start stuttering them. 

Also the flute mellotron in the song "Maria," she was immediately like, "Yep: I love it." I was so happy because it’s so my thing, that cyclical melody. Also, the bit in "Illusions" before the chorus where it goes to a major chord before the chorus, I love the sound of the unexpected major chord. Having repeated moments like that, I think, was the reason why I was asked to stay on the project; we clearly had chemistry, but it was interesting how macro it was. 

That unexpected major chord moment also appears in your Eurovision song with Olly Alexander, doesn’t it?

I've written some more tracks with him that do that. I've really been enjoying that with Olly because his voice is so agile and can really make sense of more complicated chord sequences. 

Another thing I've been enjoying with him is when there's sparseness and letting the vocal melody spell out the harmony and maybe occasionally go minor and major over one bass note, which is something I really, really enjoy. 

I've always been a big fan of Olly Alexander, I’ve wanted to work with him my whole career. I believe I tweeted at him in 2009 saying hi. But I think people who like my stuff could hear that he has the kind of voice that I really like: a very virtuosic, melodic voice. [We] just had immediate chemistry, musically. We've written a fair amount of music and he’s a very exciting artist to be involved with. 

The UK has a pretty shaky track record with Eurovision. Did you feel any of that pressure?

No, there wasn't that thing in my head. I just love Olly’s voice. And collaborating with him is just fantastic. I've had ideas for Olly for years now, and it was a dream to be able to actually enact some of them.

What’s next in store for you?

My own album. I've got another one that I'm finishing up at the minute that I'm very excited about. It was delayed by two and a half years because I got all of my dream projects offered to me at the same time and I wanted to make sure that I did them all properly. But now I can get back to doing my own stuff. 

It feels so good to be back at the grindstone, sitting in my studio writing beautiful things, making beautiful objects to present to the world. It’s the dream, really.

Behind Mark Ronson's Hits: How 'Boogie Nights,' Five-Hour Jams & Advice From Paul McCartney Inspired His Biggest Singles & Collabs

Dua Lipa at the 2024 GRAMMYs
Dua Lipa at the 2024 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

list

Dua Lipa Is Confidently In Love On 'Radical Optimism': 4 Takeaways From The New Album

As Dua Lipa continues the dance party she started in 2017, her third studio album sees the pop star more assured — and more starry-eyed — than ever before.

GRAMMYs/May 3, 2024 - 03:13 pm

As someone who has dedicated her life to being a performer, Dua Lipa's recent admission to Apple Music's Zane Lowe seems almost unfathomable: "I never thought of the idea of being famous."

Stardom may not have been on her mind as a kid, but Lipa is now, indeed, one of the most famous pop stars on the planet as she releases her highly anticipated third album, Radical Optimism

In the seven years since her acclaimed 2017 self-titled debut, Lipa has achieved several highs — like three GRAMMY wins, including Best New Artist in 2019 — as well as the subsequent lows that can often come with global stardom. And though the singer also admitted to Lowe that it "took me a while to find my voice," Radical Optimism is her most self-assured album yet — one that hinges on the title being not only the project's name, but also its defining approach to Lipa's present-day vision for her life.

"Radical Optimism and the way that I see it is this idea of rolling with the punches, of not letting anything get you down for too long. Of always seeing the positive side of things. Of being able to grow and move forward and change your perspective regardless of what's happening in your life…I think it's a big part of maturing and growing up."

The entire album was crafted in her native London over the course of a year-and-a-half, with Lipa enlisting a small band of collaborators — including her righthand co-writer Caroline Ailin, Kevin Parker of Tame Impala, Danny L. Harle and Tobias Jesso, Jr. — to create a cohesive, buoyant body of work tinged with disco, funk and bits of psychedelic pop.

Naturally, "radical optimism" is a core thread that runs through all eleven songs as Lipa reflects on falling in and out of love, grapples with her fame and confidently declares that everything that came before Radical Optimism was just a practice run. After all, as she brazenly declares on the LP's second single, "Training season's over." 

As you enter Dua's latest musical world, dive into four major takeaways from Radical Optimism below.

Radical Optimism Isn't Just A New Era — It's A Whole New Perspective

When Lipa accepted her GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Album in 2021, she declared she was officially done with the "sad music" that had fueled her breakout debut album. And if 2020's Future Nostalgia was, in context, a kind of clubby, '80s-driven turning point for the artist, she fully embraces the Radical Optimism promised by its follow-up's title. Lipa's newfound attitude is both clear-eyed and relentlessly positive across the album's 11 tracks, whether she's gushing over a new love on giddy opener "End of an Era," being kept up all night by thoughts of a seductive crush on "Whatcha Doing" or cutting her losses and ditching out early on the spellbinding "French Exit."

Even "These Walls," on which she watches a doomed relationship fade to black, is approached with a sense of inevitability laced with clarity and astute kindness. "But if these walls could talk/ They'd say enough, they'd say give up/ If these walls could talk/ They'd say/ You know you're f—ed/ It's not supposed to hurt this much/ Oh, if these walls could talk/ They tell us to break up," Lipa sings over gossamer production and a piano line by Andrew Wyatt.

You Can Still Find Her On The Dance Floor

The rollout for Radical Optimism was front-loaded with the release of three singles ahead of the full album in the form of "Houdini," "Training Season" and "Illusion." Between the three subsequent music videos and a thrilling live performance at the 2024 GRAMMYs in February, Lipa signaled that her third LP would be filled with her signature style of scintillating dance floor bangers.

The rest of the album more than delivers on that promise, with an overall BPM that rarely falls below what's needed for a full-blown aerobic workout — perfect for over-the-top choreography, of course. And in case the Service95 founder's commitment to the dance floor isn't already apparent, just look at the history-making hat trick she recently pulled off on the Billboard's Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart: as of press time, "Houdini," "Illusion" and "Training Season" occupied the top three spots, marking a first for any female artist in modern music history.

She's Redefining Love On Her Own Terms

If the litany of love songs on Radical Optimism are any indication, it's safe to say Lipa is head over heels these days (with boyfriend Callum Turner, perhaps?). Opening track "End of an Era" may mark the beginning of a new musical journey for the singer, but it's just as much about the thrill of a new relationship. Later on the track list, she uses album cut "Falling Forever" to grow an initial spark of infatuation into a red-hot love affair as she yearns, "How long, how long/ Can it just keep getting better?/ Can we keep falling forever" on the lovestruck chorus.

Lipa also makes it clear on the shapeshifting highlight "Anything For Love" that she's "not interested in a love that gives up so easily." As she refuses to accept the modern paradigm of ghosting, non-committal situationships and running away when things get hard, the song morphs from a tender piano ballad into danceable, mid-tempo groove, giving the listener just enough breathing room to wrestle with the questions of what kind of love they'll accept before dancing it out.

She's Putting Her Emotional Growth On Full Display

It's been almost seven years since Lipa spelled out her "New Rules" for a generation of pop lovers, and some of the most affecting cuts on Radical Optimism prove the British-Albanian star has accrued even more hard-won wisdom since her early days of "If you're under him, you ain't gettin' over him."

Penultimate track "Maria" finds Lipa thanking the ghost of her current lover's ex-girlfriend for making him a better man: "Never thought I could feel this way/ Grateful for all the love you gave/ Here's to the lovers that make you change/ Maria, Maria, Maria." 

Meanwhile, on album closer "Happy for You," the singer turns her attention not to a lover's ex-girlfriend, but to an ex who's moved on from her and found himself happier than ever. It's a complex, but decidedly mature feeling to realize you're genuinely happy for someone you used to love, but Lipa encapsulates the emotion perfectly. 

"Oh, I must've loved you more than I ever knew/ Didn't know I could ever feel/ 'Cause I'm happy for you," she sings on the chorus. "Now I know everything was real/ I'm not mad, I'm not hurt/ You got everything you deserve/ Oh, I must've loved you more than I ever knew/ I'm happy for you."

The grown-up sentiment finishes the album on a bittersweet emotional high — proving that no matter what life throws at her, Lipa will remain radically and unapologetically optimistic to the end. 

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Dua Lipa performing at 2024 Time 100 gala
Dua Lipa performs at the 2024 TIME100 Gala in New York City.

Photo: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

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Dua Lipa's Road To 'Radical Optimism': How Finding The Joy In Every Moment Helped Her Become Pop's Dance Floor Queen

Four years after 'Future Nostalgia,' Dua Lipa's third album is finally upon us. Look back on her journey to 'Radical Optimism,' and how it's the result of the pop megastar's evolving quest for new ways to celebrate each moment.

GRAMMYs/May 2, 2024 - 01:52 pm

Long before Dua Lipa reached pop megastardom, she declared the mantra that would soon become the core of her art: "It has to be fun."

Whether in club-hopping evenings or tear-streaked mornings, Lipa has continuously found a way to bring catharsis and movement into every moment — and, subsequently, every song she's released. So when she announced that her new album would be called Radical Optimism, the second word seemed obvious. But what would radical mean for Dua Lipa, and how did she get there?

Considering her time as a model prior to her music career taking off, many found it easy to write off the London-born singer as by-the-books pop, all-image artist. But even before taking a listen to her self-titled debut, Lipa's upbringing reveals far more complex feelings and inspirations.

The daughter of Kosovo Albanian parents living in London, Lipa took notes from her musician father, digging deep on the likes of the Police, David Bowie and Radiohead, while dancing to Ciara and Missy Elliott with her classmates. After a four-year stint in Kosovo when her family relocated, the then 15-year-old Dua moved back to London to stay with a family friend and build towards an inevitable music-oriented life, which began with clubbing incessantly and posting covers of Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera on YouTube.

Lipa was still working in restaurants when she first made contact with the music industry, burning the candle at both ends — as well as a third end unseen to mortals. "I'd finish work, then go out to whatever nightclub was happening until, like, 3 in the morning," she recently recalled to Elle. "Then I would wake up and go to the studio until I had my shift again at, like, 8 pm."

Warner Bros. Records caught wind of those sessions and signed her in 2014, leading to even more time in the studio (and, likely, less waitressing). Her debut single, 2015's "New Love," showcases everything that would lead to her eventual pop takeover: the resonant, sultry vocals, a propulsive beat, and a video full of effortless cool.

There would be seven more singles to follow from 2017's Dua Lipa, with the budding pop star co-writing a majority of the albums' tracks, alt R&B icon Miguel collaborating on a song, and Coldplay's Chris Martin providing additional vocals on the closer. While there are plenty of hits to take away ("Blow Your Mind (Mwah)" is a particular favorite in its grand and stompy disco sass), the true star here is "New Rules." Detailing the "rules" to avoid a problematic ex, the song could be cloying and twee, but Lipa's chill swagger sells the dance floor intensity and female empowerment in equal doses.

Listeners around the world agreed, as the song marked Lipa's first No. 1 in the UK and several other countries, as well as her first top 10 hit in the U.S. It also earned Lipa spots at festivals, a performance on Later… With Jools Holland, and five nominations at the 2018 Brit Awards — the most of any artist that year. She laid out a pretty clear manifesto after winning British Female Solo Artist: "Here's to more women on these stages, more women winning awards, and more women taking over the world."

As that year went on, Lipa solidified her own role in that mission. She became a hot collaboration commodity, first linking with Calvin Harris for the UK chart-topping "One Kiss"; then teaming with Mark Ronson and Diplo's Silk City for another club hit, "Electricity"; and even being recruited for Andrea Bocelli for "If Only," a track on his 2018 album, . Her breakthrough was cemented in GRAMMY gold at the 2019 ceremony, too, as she won two golden gramophones: Best Dance Recording for "Electricity," and the coveted Best New Artist.

Early word of the Dua Lipa followup, Future Nostalgia, was that Lipa was amping the disco energy. "[The album] feels like a dancercise class," she hinted in July 2019 to the BBC, who also reported that the now full-fledged pop star was working with Pharrell, Nile Rodgers, Tove Lo, and Diplo.

Lead single "Don't Start Now" was co-written with the team behind "New Rules," and the hyper-elastic bass, MIDI strings, and honest-to-goodness cowbell more than lived up to her promise of disco domination. The track went platinum in five countries, a feat that would go on to be topped by multiple tracks on the album, including the smoldering "Physical" and the INXS-interpolating "Break My Heart."

The album's March 2020 release was a thing of anxious beauty. It could've been pure tragedy to release an album designed for sweaty, crowded clubs in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. And when the album leaked a full two weeks prior to its release, even Lipa wasn't sure if her timing was right. "I'm not sure if I'm even doing the right thing, but I think the thing we need the most at the moment is music, and we need joy and we need to be trying to see the light," she said in an Instagram Live days before the album's release.

True to that spirit, Lipa's openhearted enthusiasm and unadulterated fun made the album a staple of lockdown dance parties and wistful dancefloor daydreams. In a bit of chicken-and-egg magic, the album's runaway hit is the inescapable "Levitating." The song's buoyant synth pulse, clap-along disco groove, drippy strings and punchy hook add to something far greater than the sum of its parts. And DaBaby's in-the-cut remix verse helps fulfill Lipa's rap-meets-pop dreams. But it definitely didn't hurt to have the track basically overrun TikTok — and a video produced in partnership with the platform — at a time when we were all stuck at home, looking at our phones as a way to connect with the world.

That was only the beginning of the pop star's effort to make the most of the pandemic era; Lipa continued to find innovative ways to bring fans into her disco-fueled sonic universe for some joy and connection. For one, she evolved Future Nostalgia into a remix album: Club Future Nostalgia, featuring electronic minds like Moodymann and Yaeji, as well as high-profile guests like BLACKPINK, Madonna, and Missy Elliott. And while fans who had grown connected to the album were hungry for an event to attend, she developed Studio 2054. The technicolor, gleeful live-streamed event saw millions of viewers virtually join Lipa in an immaculately choreographed, star-studded dance party — one that further displayed her magnetic personality and in-the-moment attitude.

Through the entire Future Nostalgia era, Lipa's purpose further proved to be more than the music. Yet again, it was about the amount of fun and energy it was able to provide to fans, something that proved to resonate in an even bigger way than her first project.

"[Future Nostalgia] took on its own life. And that in itself showed me that everything is in its own way for its own specific purpose, for its own reason," she told Variety earlier this year. "As long as I'm being of service and the music is there and it's a soundtrack for a moment in time, or in someone's life, then I've done what I was supposed to do."

Before getting to work on her third LP, Lipa kept the dance party going with new and old collaborators. First, she scored another UK No. 1 and U.S. top 10 hit alongside Elton John with "Cold Heart (Pnau remix)"; later, she was enlisted for feel-good singles from Megan Thee Stallion and Calvin Harris' 2022 albums. Then, a reunion with Mark Ronson led to a summer 2023 detour in Barbie land, resulting in another disco-tinged smash, "Dance the Night," for the blockbuster film's soundtrack (as well as her acting debut!).

With the good vibes clearly not fading, Lipa was primed for her next musical venture. In November, she unveiled the lead single to her next project, "Houdini," a swirling track that features a trio of new collaborators — and a brilliant, if seemingly dissimilar, set of co-writers at that: former PC Music electronic experimentalist Danny Harle, Tame Impala frontman (and retro psychedelia mastermind) Kevin Parker, and breezy Canadian singer/songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr. But with her trusty songwriter pal Caroline Ailin also in tow, Lipa retained the same trademark dance pop pulse amid crunchy bass and stomping percussion — putting the Radical into the Optimism.

She kept the same team (and energy) for the album's subsequent singles, "Training Season" and "Illusion." The former thumps and jitters underneath Lipa opting for a willowy falsetto in the chorus, a song that can unite Tame Impala psych addicts and more traditional poptimists at the club. And where earlier Lipa tracks might have been more eager to get to a bright punch, "Illusion" smolders patiently, trusting that the vocalist's charisma can buoy even the subtler moments.

While the album's first three singles carry echoes of the propulsive, dance floor energy of Future Nostalgia, Lipa took more notes from a more modern pop era than the disco days on Radical Optimism. "I think the Britpop element that really came to me was the influences of Oasis and Massive Attack and Portishead and Primal Scream, and the freedom and the energy those records had," she told Variety. "I love the experimentation behind it."

But, she insists, that's not to say that she's produced the next "Wonderwall." This isn't Dua Lipa's Britpop turn, but rather her latest experiment in finding freedom and embracing the moment.

"When I hear 'Teardrop' by Massive Attack and I'm like, 'how did this song even come to be? It feels like it just happened in a moment of real freedom and writing and emotion," she continued in the Variety interview. "And I think that was just the feeling I was trying to convey more than anything."

And in her mind, that freedom needs to remain at the core of everything — whether working through a global pandemic or working on a new project. "I think it's important that we just learn to walk through the fire and not hide away from it, or shy away from it," she added. "That's just optimism. It's probably the most daring thing we can do."

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