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Dua Lipa ‘rules’ first solo concert in Seoul

Predominantly female concertgoers respond to Lipa’s message of empowerment

Just like her first name, which means “love” in Albanian, Dua Lipa’s first solo concert in Seoul overflowed with love and passion, as the 22-year-old London-born artist repeatedly blurted out “I love you so much” to screaming fans.

There was no fixed choreography for her songs, but the perpetual motions of her arms and legs throughout the 90-minue set showed how much the singer -- whose hair was slightly disheveled from headbanging and perspiration --was enjoying her sold-out show in Seoul on Sunday.

And most importantly, the “New Rules” singer did not allow the estimated 2,000-strong crowd to take their eyes off her even for a second, with her Adele-level vocal prowess paired with indomitable swagger.

The event marked her second visit to Korea following her performance at the Pentaport Rock Festival last year. 

Dua Lipa performs at her solo concert in Seoul on Sunday. (Yonhap)
Dua Lipa performs at her solo concert in Seoul on Sunday. (Yonhap)

Clad in a colorful tank top, Lipa opened the stage with a hearty and energetic rendition of “Blow Your Mind (Mwah).” By the time she belted out “Lost in Your Light” and “Be the One,” the show was in full swing. After reeling around the stage for a while, Dua showed her sentimental side with hits like the balladry “Homesick” and “No Goodbye,” toning down her husky voice to go along with the piano melody.

The highlights of the concert -- naturally saved for the encore -- were “IDGAF” and “New Rules,” two of her popular kiss-off anthems that propelled the once pop infant to one of the most influential figures in the industry worldwide today.

A master in entertaining the audience, Lipa cheerfully encouraged her fans to put up their middle fingers during her performance of “IDGAF,” shortened from “I Don’t Give a F---,” while she showcased a brief freestyle dance routine that drew loud screams from the crowd.

About 80 percent of those who filled the Yes24 Live Hall in eastern Seoul on Sunday were women, and the crowd responded to the singer’s emphasis on female empowerment.

In “IDGAF,” she reminds her ex that she is most certainly not thinking about him, clarifying the point in the chorus: “‘Cause if you think I care about you now, well boy I don’t give a f---.” Another self-love anthem “New Rules” hit over 1 billion plays on YouTube, making her the youngest female artist to ever cross the mark.

And Lipa, who had carried white roses on the Brit Awards red carpet to show her support for the victims of sexual harassment and abuse, stressed the importance of the bond among women all around the world.

“I’m always here to champion women and I think women should look after women, I guess that’s a big part of who I am. ... This global movement like Times Up, it’s very important not only in the entertainment world,” said Lipa during an interview with The Korea Herald before the concert.

“I thought it was important to put this white rose in front of so many women all over the world, for them to be able to realize that we’re standing in solidarity with them. We’re here to support, look after them, show them it’s OK to speak up, because there is (a) crazy domino effect when you speak up about certain issues. Things certainly happen as a lot of other people get up and speak out as well.”

Lipa’s musical journey began when she was 14, making cover songs on YouTube in 2009. She signed a contract with Warner Music Group in 2015. 

Last year, she became the most streamed female artist in the UK with her signature sultry pop approach -- which she defines as “dark pop.” With her self-titled debut album that includes “New Rules” and “IDGAF,” Lipa won awards for British Breakthrough Act and British female solo artist at the Brit Awards in January.

“Not enough British female artists have broken through on the global scale, I think, while there’s a heavy influx of US artists. I would like to see more British artists on the global scale,” she added.

By Hong Dam-young (