Dua Lipa has cemented herself as a pop music mainstay with her near-perfect album Future Nostalgia.
The British pop star was preparing to drop the LP, her second, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe and America. Rather than delaying new music like some peers, Lipa dropped the disco-tinged dance-pop record a week early on March 27 after it leaked online.
Lipa recently opened up to PEOPLE about the making of the album — and its impromptu rollout amid the pandemic — during a Zoom call from a London Airbnb, where she is social distancing with her boyfriend, Anwar Hadid.
She’s delivered joy in a dark time. Since the album’s early release, fans have been enjoying solo dance parties to the new music.
“We’re all just trying to be safe and stay inside and protect the people around us,” Lipa, 24, says in the new issue of PEOPLE. “If I could make someone smile or give someone a moment of comfort during this time, then I’ve done my job.”
Born in London to Albanian immigrants Dukagjin and Anesa, Lipa began performing at a young age. Her family returned to Kosovo when she was a child, but at age 15, she moved back to London to pursue a singing career. After years of hustling and finding a following on YouTube thanks to song covers, she scored a record deal.
In 2017, Lipa released her self-titled debut album, which spawned several hits internationally, including the smash “New Rules,” which broke her big in the U.S. And last year, she picked up two Grammys, including one for best new artist.