Kevin Parker Says Dua Lipa’s ‘Radical Optimism’ Crew Referred to Themselves as ‘The Band’: ‘I Felt Like I Was in the Beatles!’

We are just a few weeks away from the release of Dua Lipa‘s 11-track album Radical Optimism album and in a new Elle magazine cover story the 28 year-old pop superstar pulls the curtain back further on the long creative process of assembling the songs.


Dua worked on Radical Optimism with an A-list group of co-songwriters and producers, including longtime collaborator songwriter Caroline Ailin, as well as Tobias Jesso Jr. (Adele, Harry Styles), Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, Danny L Harle (Dux Content). Parker said they referred to the assembled crew of hitmakers as “The Band,” explaining, “Not an old-school band, but a spiritual band. Each morning going into the studio, I felt like I was in the Beatles!”

The result, the the magazine says, is a mix of live and electronic instruments that create a “global groove” on a “cosmopolitan dance-pop record with a 1970s flair, and a vibrant, resounding affirmation of life.”

“Dua had this focus on finding this sound, which was so elusive,” Parker said. “But it was nice to be in the engine room of the creative process, rather than worry about being the face of it. It was the experience that I’ve been waiting for.” He described the origins of the first single, the bouncy “Houdini,” as starting with a bass line he plunked out weeks before their session that he realized could work once the singer added a “moody,” post-disco melody.

“She started singing, and it just immediately made sense,” Parker said. “This feeling of early-’80s sleaze, in some strange, dark, sweaty club. Gloriously suffocating. Hypnotic.”

Ailin, who has worked with Dua since before her 2017 breakthrough hit “New Rules,” described their process as beginning with “a little yap about what’s going on,” which, then somehow turns into a pop song. “That’s her superpower,” Ailin said “It’s hard not to feel like you’re the strongest person next to her. I think she lends a little bit of that to all of us sometimes.”

The singer also told Elle that her single “Training Season” was written in Nov. 2022 as a reflection on both her long-term relationships with men including models Bella and Gigi Hadid’s brother Anwar Hadid and French director Romain Gavras, as well as run of dates she went on. “As long as everyone knows where they stand, then you’re good,” she said about her dating life, which most recently linked her to British actor Callum Turner.

The magazine said Dua is coy about what her current dating situation, preferring to offer coded hints through her songs. “I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to write down what I want,” she explained about the “Training Season” sessions. “The power of manifestation and writing things into existence with the power of words. When you know your worth, you know what you want and what you don’t want.”

Describing a recent convo with one of her dancers who was going through a breakup, Dua said that when she was single she didn’t pine for a relationship. “I didn’t wish it away. You learn so much about yourself, you know, whether it’s going on a date or spending that time alone,” she said. “In the silence, you figure out who you really are. In the grand scheme of things, I was doing research.”

Dua Lipa will serve as both host and musical guest for the May 4 episode of Saturday Night Live.

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