From its inception, Ones To Watch has strived to highlight and provide a platform for artists with not only unique voices and visions, but who we truly believe to have the potential to make a lasting difference in the musical landscape. Over our years of music fanaticism and obsession, we are proud to say that a number of the artists we have featured have gone on to reach great heights and certainly show no signs of reaching to even greater heights in the years to come. So, we proudly present the first edition of Where Are They Now?, a reoccurring column highlighting a Ones To Watch artist who we believe has made amazing strides in the music scene since originally being featured on the site. And no artist seems as fitting for the spot on Where Are They Now? than Dua Lipa, whose emergence into the music scene was as explosive as it was sudden.
Dua Lipa first began to garner attention, at the notable age of 17, after releasing a series of demos in 2012 that caught the eyes of Lana Del Rey’s management team who instantly signed her to Warner Music Group and set her up with noted Lana Del Rey and Bruno Mars producer Emilie Haynie. This fortunate series of events would officially introduce the world to Dua Lipa in 2016 with an infectious string of releases, “New Love,” “Be The One,” and “Last Dance,” which would go on to establish herself as a new, buzzworthy voice in the world of pop music. The music world quickly took to Dua Lipa with open arms, with BBC longlisting her for the prestigious Sound of 2016 and us officially proclaiming her One To Watch.The first time we met Dua Lipa the year was 2016. Fresh off the heels of her first SXSW performance, the at the time aspiring pop artist had only a few singles under her belt, but contained all the makings of what would soon be an international pop sensation. However, before Dua Lipa became one of today’s youngest, most applauded voices in pop she was One To Watch.
The following year would see Dua Lipa’s popularity explode seemingly overnight, as the rising artist continued on with series of hit singles, including the Ones To Watch favorite “Blow Your Mind (Mwah)”, that would earn her opening spots for mega star-studded tours. Our infatuation with the budding pop start continued to grow after sitting down with the artist at 2016’s SXSW, where she dished on her love for rap star Future and let us in on her upcoming single “Hotter Than Hell.” Her next single “Hotter Than Hell,” which arrived in May of 2016, may as well have been a prediction for the next stage of her career.
The summer hit with tropical flare would mark the first time Dua Lipa would break the UK’s Top 20, as well as being the first stepping stone in a distinction not many artists can claim. Apparently not one to let up on releasing hit, replay-ready singles, Dua Lipa would release the dance-hall, reggae-infused Sean Paul collaboration “No Lie” and the festival anthem in the making, produced by Martin Garrix, “Scared to Be Lonely.” Beyond serving as a prime example of Dua Lipa’s undeniable ability to lend her voice to a wide array of genres, Dua Lipa was able to officially take home the honor of having three simultaneously charting singles in the UK’s Top 15.
From a newly discovered rising pop artist in 2016 to a certified pop star in the following year, 2017 would be everything and more for Dua Lipa. The end of 2016 saw Dua Lipa further saw the rapid rise of the artist’s popularity – no doubt due to her series of charting singles, which would earn her a much-deserved spot on Ones to Watch’s “The Best Of The Best: 20 Artists To Watch in 2017” year-end list. And while by no means am I claiming that we here at Ones To Watch are clairvoyant, although our psychic prowess has not yet been refuted, 2017 would indeed continue to prove explosive for Dua Lipa. The spring of 2017 would see Dua Lipa headlining her first ever North-American tour, not to mention debut festival appearances at Governor’s Ball and Bonnaroo. While spring would be one of the first times North American fans would have the chance to catch our favorite pop princess live, summer would bring something fans and critics alike had been clamoring for since Dua Lipa first entered the music world in 2016 – her debut album.
The summer of 2017 marked the release of Dua Lipa’s self-titled debut album, Dua Lipa. A wonderfully, captivating celebration of the power and range of pop music, Dua Lipa, officially established the artist as one of pop’s newest and brightest voices. The release of Dua Lipa would also see the release of her sixth single “New Rules,” which would earn Dua Lipa her first number one in the UK, a feat which had not been achieved by a female solo artist in nearly two years – the former being Adele’s “Hello.” In addition to 2017 being the year when Dua Lipa would officially top the UK’s charts, win numerous awards for her much applauded debut, it would also be the year that she would venture off on tour with the likes of super megastars Bruno Mars and Coldplay.
So, with 2017 nearly under wraps and Dua Lipa taking it by storm, what’s next for the Ones to Watch alumni? Well, beyond an international spring tour that sees her headlining some of the world’s most iconic venues, including two nights at Los Angeles’ infamous Hollywood Palladium, we can only speculate that Dua Lipa will continue on in typical Dua Lipa fashion, further establishing herself as a lasting voice in the world pop.