Dua Lipa Clarifies Apparent Dig at Recording Academy President After Best New Artist Grammy Win

"I guess this year we've really stepped up," Lipa said in the beginning of her speech on Sunday's Grammy Awards

Dua Lipa continued her praise for female musicians while backstage at Sunday’s 61st annual Grammy awards after winning the prestigious best new artist prize.

The 23-year-old “New Rules” singer had applauded the way her fellow female nominees “stepped up” in her acceptance speech — a statement interpreted to be a dig at outgoing Recording Academy president Neil Portnow, who in 2018 responded to criticism that the show’s winners were overwhelmingly male by saying that women needed to “step up.”

But when asked by reporters backstage why it was important to use that phrase, Lipa remained enthusiastic.

“Being in the new artists category and having so many female artists nominated is a big change, and it’s the change that we hope to see for many years to come,” said the British songstress, who was nominated among many other female artists including Chloe x Halle, H.E.R., Margo Price, Bebe Rexha and Jorja Smith.

61st Annual GRAMMY Awards - Arrivals
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“It’s a big difference from the previous years and I feel so grateful to be a part of the nominations when they came out,” Lipa added. “To see so many women on it? I was like, ‘This is amazing.’ They’re artists that I love and admire, and I’m so glad to be able to share that with them.”

Dua Lipa. Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock

Lipa’s best new artist win was her second Grammy. Her collaboration with Silk City and Diplo, “Electricity,” also won for best dance recording. Aside from “New Rules,” Lipa also found chart success in the U.S. with “One Kiss” and “IDAGF.”

Also during her speech, Lipa — who also performed during the show alongside St. Vincent — thanked her fans and her team before expressing her desire to inspire others.

“For anyone that hasn’t realized how special they are to have a different story, a different background, a name that honors their roots because they just want to be normal whatever the hell that means, just know that no matter where you’re from or your background or what you believe in, never let that get in the way of you and your dreams because you deserve it,” she said.

“And I’m proof that you can do whatever you put your mind to. However hard you work, I really believe in it and I believe in you and thank you so much,” she concluded.

61st Annual GRAMMY Awards - Arrivals
John Shearer/Getty

Though Grammy producers cut the end of Lipa’s speech off, she was able to finish what she wanted to stay backstage.

“I was so lost in what had just happened that it was so difficult for me to remember everyone’s names and everyone I had to thank,” Lipa admitted. “To my team, my label — who completely slipped my mind — all the way from the U.K. to the U.S., they’ve worked really, really hard. To my family and my little brother and sister and my friends, who I’ve been yabbering on about this for pretty much most of my life and I’m grateful I’m still here. And to all of the artists who have really inspired me because without them I wouldn’t have dreamt as big as I did.”

As for inspiring others, Lipa explained that her comments were meant “for everyone who felt that they had a different background or a different story, that they didn’t feel special even though they had a name that honored their roots because they just wanted to be normal — whatever the hell that means — that no matter what you do or where you’re from or what you’re background is, don’t let that get in the way of you and your dreams.”

And she made it clear that fans will be hearing more music in the coming months.

“I’m working on trying to finish my album, which is almost done,” she said, teasing, “You’ll be hearing from me soon.”

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