'Studio 2054': Dua Lipa explains why her virtual concert is like 'a really long music video'

Patrick Ryan

Late last month, Dua Lipa stunned with not one, but two breathtaking TV performances. 

The British pop star sent Twitter ablaze with her sparkling performance of "Levitating" on "The Graham Norton Show," wearing a tasseled sequin Valentino gown. Two days later, she sang the same song on the American Music Awards, this time soaring through London's Royal Albert Hall as a deluge of glitter confetti rained down. 

"I think this whole album is glitter confetti," Lipa says. "And I feel like sparkly dresses are gonna be my thing now for the future." 

She's referring to sophomore album "Future Nostalgia," her infectious disco revival that earned six Grammy nominations, including album, record and song of the year (lead single "Don't Start Now"). It's an album that's "shaped me so much," says Lipa, already a best new artist Grammy winner. "It's given me so much confidence and joy, and helped me grow." 

Dua Lipa performing "Future Nostalgia" cut "Levitating" on the American Music Awards Sunday.

"Future Nostalgia" is the centerpiece of her virtual concert "Studio 2054," presented as part of the American Express "Unstaged" series. The ticketed livestream drew more than 5 million views worldwide during its first airings last Friday, according to Lipa's representatives. It will be available to watch via LIVENow through Sunday, and tickets are $10. 

The 70-minute concert was taped on a warehouse soundstage in London, and has the feel of "a really long music video," Lipa says. She runs through songs from "Future Nostalgia," its remix album and her 2017 debut, and is joined virtually and in person by special guests including Elton John, FKA Twigs and Kylie Minogue. 

Lipa, 25, tells us more about "Studio 2054" and releasing an album in lockdown. 

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You continually raised the bar for other artists this year, with your extraordinary music videos, TV performances and animated visuals. Does "Studio 2054" feel like a culmination of everything you've done these past eight months? 

Dua Lipa: It does, but it also feels like a like a lot more than that. It's such a merging of so many different worlds and artists and performances. It really takes you on a journey from an '80s TV studio to a disco roller rink to a New York boiler room rave party.  All those things tell such a different story and have a different energy to them. So it's everything that's happened up until now, and what will continue in the future as well.

Aside from the name, how does this show capture the look and feel of the legendary Studio 54 nightclub? 

Lipa: I've always had a fascination with Studio 54, and I think what I love so much about it is the versatility and mixture of so many different personalities. And that's what I really wanted to bring in a kind of modern take, with all the people that will be joining and all kinds of art forms that will be taking part in it. That's something I'm really excited about, that I guess makes it quite unique. And then, of course, the costume changes and set changes and set design, all of that is larger than life and will be really fun. 

Dua Lipa, 25, will perform a virtual concert Friday, as part of the American Express "Unstaged" series.

Elton John recently said how much he loves "Future Nostalgia." Knowing he's a fan, did that make it any easier asking him to be a part of this? 

Lipa: Well, it's always nerve-racking when you talk to one of your idols and someone you've looked up to your whole life. It's never not a pinch-me moment or a moment of, "Oh, my God, I can't believe I'm doing this." But I'm so, so grateful that he was willing to take part in it and create something with me that's so unique just for this show. 

You and Miley Cyrus just released "Prisoner" (from Cyrus' new album "Plastic Hearts," out now). Why do you think you get along so well, both as friends and collaborators? 

Lipa: We have a very common understanding of just wanting to have fun and create something special. It's always fun to collaborate with someone who's so fun and charismatic and knows exactly what she wants. It's so collaborative also in allowing me to be myself. I think we allow space for ourselves to really bloom, and then when we come together, it makes magic. Especially with something like "Prisoner," which feels like such a perfect combination of both our styles and where we are stylistically at the moment. It all felt like it just fitted like a jigsaw puzzle. And she's just so down to earth and chill, so we get on really well in just everyday setting. 

You were one of, if not the first major artist to release an album at the start of the pandemic in March. What's the most important lesson you learned in 2020? 

Lipa: Definitely to be more patient. Even now, so much of my life is like, "What's next? What's next?" But I think I've really learned to be very present in everything that's going on and that was something that had to come with everybody being so still.

Have you been working on any new music during lockdown? 

Lipa: Yeah, I've done a little bit of writing. Miley and I did "Prisoner" after four months I spent in the U.K., and then I traveled to the States and ended up working there. So I've done a couple things here and there, and I'm preparing for the deluxe side of my record, which is coming next year. So it's just go, go, go.