Levitating
by Dua Lipa (featuring Madonna & Missy Elliott)

Album: Future Nostalgia (2020)
Charted: 5 2
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Over an elastic bassline and syncopated handclaps, Dua Lipa sings of riding into outer space with her lover.

    If you wanna run away with me, I know a galaxy
    And I can take you for a ride


    Dua Lipa's songs are often upbeat musically, but with downbeat lyrics about romantic difficulties ("Don't Start Now," "Break My Heart"). However, "Levitating" is an all-round euphoric jam.

    "It's about having fun and meeting someone and falling in love and thinking, 'You've probably met me at the perfect time, let's just go for it," Dua Lipa explained to Apple Music. "It's the feeling when love makes you feel like you're levitating. It's otherworldly."
  • Dua Lipa wrote the song with Katy Perry and Camila Cabello collaborator Sarah Hudson, and with Clarence Coffee Jr. of The Monsters and The Strangerz production and songwriting team. The same people also penned her "Physical" single along with Jason Evigan.
  • Production is courtesy of:

    Stephen "Koz' Kozmeniuk, who previously collaborated with Lipa on "Hotter Than Hell" and "IDGAF."

    Stuart Price, who has worked with Madonna, The Pet Shop Boys and The Killers.
  • The song clocks in at 103 BMP, the same heart-thumpin' rhythm as the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive." Dua Lipa told the BBC this was the track that helped shape the Future Nostalga album and they got "so excited" in the studio that the recording session became a spontaneous party. "We ate so many doughnuts that we were literally levitating because we were so high on sugar," she said.
  • The song finds Lipa trying her hand at faux-rapping reminiscent of Blondie's 1981 song "Rapture."

    "Things get quite Daft Punk-y here, but it's playful, and the middle eight is almost like my British version of Blondie's rapping," she told Apple Music about the track. "I felt like I needed to get my British side across as well on this record, because sometimes people don't actually know where I'm from."
  • Dua Lipa planned to accompany the single release of "Levitating" with a "fun" club remix by DJ/producer The Blessed Madonna (not to be confused with the iconic singer).

    Madonna (this time we are referencing the Queen of Pop) heavily influenced Future Nostalga and Stuart Price, who co-produced her 10th studio album Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005) also helmed "Levitating." In late June 2020, Lipa's manager, Ben Mawson, revealed in an interview with Music Week that they were hoping Madonna might want to contribute some vocals. Around the same time, Mawson was also reaching out by email to another of the English songstress' musical heroines, Missy Elliott. Lipa hoped at least one would say yes, but much to her excitement, both the "Vogue" hitmaker and the iconic rapper said that they would like to jump on the remix.

    The final version of the remix features Lipa and the actual Madonna frolicking over The Blessed Madonna's upbeat trance production before Missy Elliott steps in with a stylishly naughty verse.
  • This marked the first time in 17 years that Missy Elliott and Madonna had worked together. Previously, Missy supplied a guest verse for Madonna's "Into the Hollywood Groove (The Passengerz Mix)," a track from her 2003 Remixed & Revisited album.
  • Will Hooper filmed the dreamy video in mid-June 2020 at a London studio. The clip features Dua Lipa and Missy drenched in vivid blues and reds while the English pop princess's real-like boyfriend, Anwar Hadid, portrays her love interest.
  • Dua Lipa dropped a second remix on October 2, 2020 featuring DaBaby. Their disco-rap collaboration is accompanied by a Warren Fu-directed video capturing the duo performing in a futuristic spaceship.

    Dua Lipa held a contest on TikTok to get animation and make-up ideas (and even dancers) for the clip.
  • Rocking a '70s-inspired Valentino Haute Couture tasseled sequin gown, Dua Lipa gave the first televised performance of "Levitating" on the November 20, 2020 episode of BBC's The Graham Norton Show. She sang the song again two days later at the 2020 American Music Awards. Filmed at London's Royal Albert Hall in a custom-built set, Dua Lipa ended her performance by levitating towards the sky with the help of wires through a pulley system.
  • Dua Lipa sings the song a cappella in a commercial for Evian called "Drink True." Lipa's performance of the song with no studio effects links with the campaign's celebration of "authenticity, transparency and honesty."
  • Lipa sang this at the Grammy Awards in 2021 joined by DaBaby, who performed his hit "Rockstar" in the same segment. Future Nostalgia won for Best Pop Vocal Album at the ceremony.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Evolution Of The Prince Symbol

Evolution Of The Prince SymbolSong Writing

The evolution of the symbol that was Prince's name from 1993-2000.

Women Who Rock

Women Who RockSong Writing

Evelyn McDonnell, editor of the book Women Who Rock, on why the Supremes are just as important as Bob Dylan.

Laura Nyro

Laura NyroSongwriting Legends In Their Own Words

Laura Nyro talks about her complex, emotionally rich songwriting and how she supports women's culture through her art.

Ralph Casale  - Session Pro

Ralph Casale - Session ProSongwriter Interviews

A top New York studio musician, Ralph played guitar on many '60s hits, including "Lightnin' Strikes," "A Lover's Concerto" and "I Am A Rock."

Female Singers Of The 90s

Female Singers Of The 90sMusic Quiz

The ladies who ruled the '90s in this quiz.

Penny Ford of Snap!

Penny Ford of Snap!Songwriter Interviews

The original voice of Snap! this story is filled with angry drag queens, video impersonators and Chaka Khan.