Dua Lipa Approached Writing ‘Dance the Night’ as If She Was Scoring the Scene | How I Did It

“It’s very different when you’re writing to picture,” Lipa tells TheWrap of her approach to the “Barbie” dance anthem

Pop star Dua Lipa in no stranger to crafting numerous chart-toppers throughout her career, but embarking on Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” was an all-new adventure.

Lipa cowrote the disco-tinged song “Dance the Night” alongside Caroline Ailin, Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt, which plays during Barbie’s (Margot Robbie) best night ever … before she asks if anyone else questions their mortality. The song sets the tone for a big high point in Barbie’s life before she goes on a journey that shows her what it truly means to be human.

“It’s very different when you’re writing to picture,” Lipa said in the latest episode of TheWrap’s How I Did It, presented by Warner Bros. The “New Rules” singer had no previous experience writing a song for a movie in this manner.

Collaborator Ronson told her to liken it to crafting a professional score for the movie as they wrote the song while watching footage from the dance number.

“We were really leading and leaning into [the] visual to help us combine the two,” she said. The focus became on writing a song that was both nostalgic yet modern. “I felt there had to be a lot of synergy,” she said. The songwriting team would have “intense brainstorming sessions,” according to Lipa, with Post-It notes and whiteboards covered in ideas.

“I felt really [like] such a core part of the team,” she said. Working on the song with Ronson and Wyatt was a full-circle moment of friends getting together. The two worked with Lipa on her first song, 2018’s Grammy-winning “Electricity.” Gerwig herself was influenced heavily by disco, a genre Lipa has long celebrated.  

Initially, Lipa wrote a totally different iteration of the song, one less focused on the best night of Barbie’s life and instead emphasizing the chaos of her impending existential crisis that comes to dominate the rest of the movie. “Once the visuals came in, it kinda became very apparent that it needed to be a little bit lighter lyrically,” she admitted.

Gerwig’s feature has been celebrated for its incisive look at women, and Lipa explained that the song definitely respects that element of the story.

“That moment says so much about women in general,” she said. “When things don’t go right, [women] make things seem like everything’s fine and roll with the punches. You just kinda go, ‘Oh, don’t worry about it. I probably just said something silly.’”

‘Barbie’ is available on Blu-ray and digital and will be streaming on Max on Friday.

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