Category: Music

29
Aug
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Dua Lipa wears the Marc Jacobs T-shirt; Balenciaga skirt; Clash de Cartier hoop; Wolford tights; stylist’s own large hoops (throughout).

Dua Lipa was photographed on March 6, 2020. Photographed by Tim Walker; Styled by Sara Moonves.

On the Friday afternoon in March that I meet the turbocharged pop superstar Dua Lipa, she drops a second video for her single “Physical.” She’s wearing a Balenciaga black leather jacket, bleached baggy jeans from her collaboration with Pepe Jeans, and pink-and-white Nike Airs. Tall and elegant, approachable and fun, she’s just back from Sydney, where she was headlining the Mardi Gras celebrations for the LGBTQ community. “I was beaming the whole time I was there,” she says. “I went out dancing afterward with Sam Smith to this bar called Stonewall Hotel.”

We’re in the photo studio for the W shoot, where Covid-19 is a talking point and everyone is using hand sanitizer, but the coronavirus hasn’t yet resulted in the cancellation of pretty much every conceivable event, let alone any semblance of ordinary life, worldwide. “Oh my God, stop,” she says when I ask her about it that afternoon. “At the moment there’s a media frenzy that I think is worrying everyone, and I’m in the same boat.” A little over a week later, Lipa posts to her 41 million Instagram followers an image of herself with her friend the Italian designer Giuliano Calza, with the caption: “Wow, on this night we really thought 2020 was gonna be the one…thinking of you all during this difficult and confusing time. Stay safe, wash ur hands, be with your loved ones, and most importantly remember and think of the ones less fortunate than you.”

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Prada sweater, top, skirt, tights, and shoes; Maison Margiela Artisanal Designed by John Galliano hat; Sermoneta glove; Martyre earrings.
Photographed by Tim Walker; Styled by Sara Moonves.

Needless to say, Lipa’s plans for 2020, which included a world tour and spots at major festivals, have indeed been upended. She ends up launching her second album, Future Nostalgia, from the sofa of her rented apartment in London the Friday after the U.K. goes into lockdown. For a pop star gearing up for the biggest year of her life, having to cancel all performances must be unbelievably disappointing—like an athlete in her prime being benched. Yet while catching up with her in August over the phone from L.A., where she’s recording new material with someone who, judging from her Instagram feed, is probably Miley Cyrus (“Maybe! But nothing I can disclose,” she teases), Lipa is philosophical. “It was nice for me to realize the importance of patience,” she says of the past few months. “So much of my life is a big to-do list—what do I have to do, where do I have to fly next? It was stressful but also refreshing to have time to reflect on everything that’s happened so far.”

The fact that Future Nostalgia was so well received made things easier. Even though she couldn’t promote the record in any normal sense, Lipa became the first female artist to have four successive singles streamed over a billion times each, and Future Nostalgia was a critical success as well as a commercial smash—in the U.K. it’s even been nominated for the coveted Mercury prize, which usually ignores all-out pop. In the midst of the grimmest time any of us can remember, the giddy disco-fabulousness of Future Nostalgia has been a rare shot of pure pleasure. “My biggest hope for putting this album out at a time like this was that during moments of uncertainty, it would give people the best kitchen dance parties ever,” Lipa says.

Nonetheless, for her, as for everyone, there have been tough moments. “In lockdown, I was getting messages on my phone: ‘Today you would have been performing at London’s O2 arena’—that was hard. Obviously I wish that I was on tour, but I’ve had a lot more time now to perfect the show and make sure that it’s really amazing. Maybe I can change certain bits in it or add to it,” she says. “I’ve been able to hone in and focus on all different aspects of the job.”

One project has been a remix of the entire Future Nostalgia album, masterminded by Kentucky-born DJ the Blessed Madonna and heralded by a new version of the song “Levitating,” featuring both Missy Elliott and the other Madonna. (A remix of “Physical” by Mark Ronson, meanwhile, features Gwen Stefani.) In other words, Lipa has made a clubbing record at a time when no one can go clubbing. “Yes…” she agrees, “but also what I’ve realized during this time is that you can bring the fun no matter where you are. If I can make music to aid that in any way, then I feel like I’m doing my job.”
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Chanel Haute Couture dress; Eric Javits hat; Paula Rowan gloves; Martyre earrings; Wolford tights.
Photographed by Tim Walker; Styled by Sara Moonves.

Lipa, who was brought up on her parents’ CD collection, is old-school in her own way. Future Nostalgia was conceived as a rounded body of work that defies the pick-and-mix approach of the streaming era.  “I always get nervous with the question ‘Would you like to only release singles?’ ” she says. “That’s my biggest nightmare; I want to be able to release a full project. I’m learning as an artist and slowly getting to where I want to be.”

She comes from a “very liberal” family of musicians (her dad was the singer in Oda, a Kosovar rock band) and academics (her grandfather was a historian), and was raised mainly in London, but her first language is Albanian, and she is the daughter of refugees. In 1992, three years before she was born, her family was driven out of their hometown, Pristina, by forces under the direction of the Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic. By the time the Lipas returned, in 2006, when Dua was 11, Kosovo had endured a war that resulted in thousands of civilian deaths, the mass displacement of populations, and war crimes for which a number of officials, including Milosevic, were later indicted at the International Court of Justice in the Hague. “My parents always dreamed of going back to Kosovo,” Lipa says. “I think one thing that people don’t realize, especially with the refugee situation at the moment, is that no one just leaves their hometown unless it’s to look after their family or in times of crisis.”

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The Marc Jacobs T-shirt; Balenciaga skirt; Gareth Wrighton hat; Clash de Cartier hoop.
Photographed by Tim Walker; Styled by Sara Moonves.

Lipa’s political conscience has been further influenced by the fact that she’s going out with someone who is half-Palestinian: Anwar Hadid, the younger brother of Gigi and Bella, who, like his sisters, is also a model. “He’s also very connected to his roots, and I’ve learned so much from him,” Lipa says. “Everything that’s going on in the world is so complex, but there’s a lot of oppression and a lot of injustice, and the only way I feel we can try and help is to represent people and be able to speak up for them—for refugees all over the world. We don’t want to see oppression and all this racism that I feel the current leaders of the world are pushing forward. We want to see a more liberal future for everyone.”

As followers of their Instagram accounts know, liberal politics doesn’t come in a much more glamorous package than Dua and Anwar. Does Lipa ever get nervous about sharing her private snaps along with her music and images from her photo shoots? Or is it just part and parcel of being a star in 2020 and satisfying the public’s voracious appetite for content?

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Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello cape and dress; We Love Colors gloves; Clash de Cartier earring.
Photographed by Tim Walker; Styled by Sara Moonves. Hair by Malcolm Edwards at LGA Management; makeup by Sam Bryant at Bryant Artists; manicure by Loui-Marie Ebanks at JAQ Management. Booking by Special Projects. Produced by Jeff Delich at Padbury Production; production manager: Lauren Sakioka; photography assistants: Jess Ellis, Olivier Barjolle, Guillaume Mercier; digital technician: Daniel Archer; lighting director: Paul Burns; retouching: Graeme Bulcraig at Touch Digital; fashion assistants: Angus McEvoy, Harry Bradbury, Ellie May Brown, Rosie Smythe; production assistants: Charlotte Norman, Charlotte Garner, Alyce Burton; hair assistants: Lewis Stanford, Thomas Temperley, Sharon Robinson; makeup assistant: Paige Whiting; manicure assistant: Simone Cummings; tailor: Alina Gencaite; tailor assistant: Jurgita Doksiene.

“As long as it’s on our terms, it’s okay,” Lipa says. “Anwar’s my best friend, and we share a lot of exciting moments, and it’s a shame not to be able to… I only have that one Instagram account, so it’s my work and my personal life, a little bit of everything. My family follows me on there, and it’s how I keep in contact with my close ones, too. Although there are a lot of other eyeballs, it’s mine.”

She makes it clear, though, that the most valuable connections for her are the ones that take place in real life. Her “Don’t Start Now” video conference on The Late Late Show With James Corden and the “Break My Heart” Zoom performance she did for Jimmy Fallon have been no substitute for the real thing. “Really, I miss touring, that human connection, having the excitement of going out to a restaurant or a bar or something and hearing a song and just freaking out that it’s out,” she says.

The milestones of what would have been her big year have passed with Lipa at a remove—but, as she points out, she’s hardly the only one. “It’s important to remember that we’re all collectively going through the same thing, and right now there’s no fear of missing out in any way,” she says. “We’ll just have to pick things up where we left off when the time is right.”

by Alex Needham
Photo by Tim Walker
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16
Jan

Pet Shop Boys Preview New Album ‘Hotspot’…with ‘Burning the Heather’ album arriving in January!

Pet Shop Boys will release their 14th album, Hotspot, on January 24th, 2020. The album, produced by Stuart Price, features 10 new songs written by band members Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. The band has released a radio edit of one of the new tracks, “Burning the Heather” which features Bernard Butler on guitar.

Hotspot follows Pet Shop Boys’ 2016 album Super, which featured single “The Pop Kids” and appeared on Rolling Stone‘s 20 Best Pop Albums of 2016 list. The new album is available for preorder now.

By EMILY ZEMLER

rollingstone.com

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10
Jan

On the brink of releasing his sophomore album ‘Fine Line,’ the superstar muses on breaking boundaries, his experiences with celebrity, and his close creative relationship with Gucci’s Alessandro Michele. Styles’ tight relationship with Michele was hardly manufactured by a marketing team. The duo’s fanciful, creative lines of flight meet, quite naturally. “Alessandro is a free thinker and his way of working is very inspiring,” Styles enthuses. “If he wants to do something, he just does it, and I find it impressive. When you have the opportunity to witness the work of someone who is considered a master, it is quite incredible. There is no question of class, age, who did what. What he does is for everyone, concerns everyone, and I think that every art should be like that.” 

Childhood and the potent memories of scent return to Styles’ thoughts, via the new Gucci fragrance. “I really like Gucci Mémoire d’une Odeur for its freshness, but also the fact that it adapts and changes according to the person who wears it, which I find amusing,” he says. “It probably reminds me of summer as a child. Being by the lake with my friends, where I grew up, and the smell of wildflowers.” One thinks of Henri Michaux’s famous verse: “Night is not like day; it has a lot of flexibility.”

ALL CLOTHING GUCCI / ©Disney

“Many borders are falling—in fashion, but also in music, films, and art,” Styles declares with excitement. “I don’t think people are still looking for this gender differentiation. Even if the masculine and feminine exist, their limits are the subject of a game. We no longer need to be this or that. I think now, people are just trying to be good. In fashion and other fields, these parameters are no longer as strict as before, and it gives rise to great freedom. It’s stimulating.”

Styles and Michele have formed an organic bond. “If Alessandro doesn’t necessarily ask my opinion, we show each other things,” he explains. “It’s cool to have the opinion of someone who isn’t necessarily in your field, but whose work and taste you respect.”

ALL CLOTHING GUCCI / ©Disney

Styles’ new album heralds a dynamic driven by serious writing discipline and the decision to take total charge of his career. “Songwriting is like surfing,” he says. “You can train as much as you want to get on the board, but sometimes the wave comes and sometimes it doesn’t. And yet, we still need to train to become better. You can’t just sit down and decide to write a song and think you’ve written the best song of your life. It takes a lot of work.”

How does this thoughtful young man, who ten years ago worked in a bakery in a small English town and is now a musical sensation who finds himself the subject of countless fans’ fantasies and smack in the stormy eye of media attention, find serenity? “Celebrity is something I am still learning, experimenting,” he says. “I learn to sort out what I like, what I don’t like, what I’m willing to give in my songs, and what I’m not inclined to share. We have to find a balance. We wonder what people will think of such and such words. And it’s accepting to be vulnerable, but at the same time it’s what makes this whole adventure exciting.”

ALL CLOTHING GUCCI / ©Disney

This palpable excitement runs through the new album. Styles hopes that it expresses “a feeling of freedom.” This same vibe of unapologetic freedom is part of the work of his many role models—Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger, Stevie Nicks, Janis Joplin, and Prince. “When I look at them, I don’t know what it is, but it’s this, this something special,” he says of how these fellow icons inspire him. “They go beyond the limits. In terms of writing, Paul McCartney has always been a huge influence. I had the chance to meet some of them; they don’t stop being great to me.”

Arriving in a car suited for a massive star (private driver, ice cupboard, tinted windows), Styles departs on foot, with a small team, to drink a beer at the local pub.

The scene brings to mind Styles as a scrappy teenager, in a cardigan too big for his lanky frame, eager to invent himself. As the millennial superstar slowly strolls away, the sweet smell of success lingers: a soft-smelling fragrant mist—the romantic mixture of wildflowers, chamomile, and the dreamy mood of Sunday lunch in the English countryside.

lofficielusa.com

by Baptiste Piégay

Credits:   

Photography: Counsel Clarke Rudick

Hair: Alex Brownsell

Makeup: Niamh Quinn

Shop:  Nordstrom Mall Of America

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12
Dec

12briefing-madonna-master675-v2

 

“People say that I’m so controversial. But I think the most controversial thing that I have done is to stick around,” Madonna said in a speech about sexism in the music industry.

Nicholas Hunt/Getty

Images for Billboard

NYTIMES.COM

 

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18
Aug

madonna-covers-a-special-edition-of-love

Madonna (makeup free!) covers a special edition of LOVE 16.5, which will come out September 19th during London Fashion Week…
FASHIONWEEKDAILY.COM

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15
May

11 Performances You MUST Watch At Eurovision 2016

Don’t miss these. See links for winner!
NEWNOWNEXT.COM

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15
Mar
A playlist by the writers Marlon James, Jenna Wortham, George Saunders, Wesley Morris, Mary H. K. Choi and others.
NYTIMES.COM|BY THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE

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14
Jan
David Bowie had an indelible effect on music videos as a storytelling method. From “John, I’m Only Dancing” in 1972 to “Lazarus” just last week, Bowie’s experimentation helped make music videos what they are.
NYTIMES.COM|BY TURNER COWLES

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23
Nov

With the Release of ‘25,’ Adele Flexes Some Fashion Muscles

Could her love of old-school, silver-screen glamour actually bring back clothes?
NYTIMES.COM|BY VANESSA FRIEDMAN

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