Dua Lipa may have always wanted to see her name in lights.
At only 21, the sultry songstress has already released several chart-topping singles. Her name appears repeatedly on roundups of artists and albums to watch in publications from TIME to Rolling Stone. In February, she claimed the title of “Best New Artist” at the annual NME Awards. Her highly anticipated eponymous debut album is slated to be released June 2.
But the bold, neon letters that backlit her boisterous show at Crescent Ballroom last Tuesday proved that her name was already in lights. And it’s well-deserved.
Phoenix is the third to last stop on the British singer-songwriter’s first U.S. tour, in which she graced the stages of 12 cities, from St. Petersburg to San Francisco, in one month. This summer, she will bring her signature smoky vocals to the festival circuit, captivating audiences at Governors Ball and Bonnaroo.
Strutting on stage in a short, silk kimono dress, paired with a black choker and black thigh high boots, she certainly looked the part of a pop star. But as she seamlessly glided into a high-energy catalog of cuts from her upcoming album, her brazen stage presence and bold pipes — backed by a live band —proved it.
She’s not Ariana Grande. She’s not Selena Gomez. She’s not Lana Del Rey. Though listening to her beat-driven pop music might warrant a comparison. After experiencing a live show, however, it’s strikingly obvious that London-born Lipa is in a league all her own.
But she’s also humble as hell.
In between songs and sporadic sips of water, the singer seemed overwhelmed with gratitude. “I’m over-the-moon grateful,” she cooed into the microphone.
Obviously anything will sound earnest and sexy when purred in a soft, raspy British accent, but Lipa is as sincere as she is seductive.
“Let’s be bad together,” she purred to the packed house before launching into the punchy banger “Bad Together.”
The rest of the set was a sonic odyssey of falling in love, breaking up and moving on, ranging from the anthemic, Martin Garrix-mixed “Scared to Be Lonely” to catchy and confessional “Room for 2” to visceral “Thinking ‘Bout You,” which Lipa flawlessly delivered with silky, silver-lined vocals and heart-on-her-sleeve ardor. She ended the show with the flippant “Blow Your Mind (Mwah)” as she kissed the crowd goodbye.
She is carefree yet coy, like she might be hiding something. But that’s business as usual for Lipa. Maybe she knows she’s going to make it big this year, and I would suggest catching an intimate show with her before she does.
Story and photos by Madison Rutherford