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Dua Lipa was born in London on 22 August 1995. Her first name "Dua" is an Albanian word which means "love" or "want". Her parents, who are ethnic Albanians from Prishtina, had left Prishtina in the 1990s. Among the schools she attended was the Sylvia Young Theatre School. She moved with her family to Kosovo in 2008, the year the country declared its independence from Serbia.
At the age of 15, she moved back to London and lived with friends, because she wanted to build a career in music. She began working as a model at age 16. Lipa grew up listening to her father, the Kosovan rock singer Dukagjin Lipa, sing. At the age of 14 she began posting covers of her favourite songs by artists such as Christina Aguilera and Nelly Furtado on YouTube.