Illustration: Jan Feindt

Dua Lipa and Me

Brennan Carley ’13 landed the job of a lifetime. 

One morning in January 2022, Brennan Carley ’13 was having breakfast in his New York City apartment when Dua Lipa turned to him and asked an important question. Lipa, who is one of the world’s biggest pop stars and had just won her third Grammy, for her album Future Nostalgia, wanted to play him a new song. Carley, naturally, said yes, and thus became one of the first people in the world to hear “Sweetest Pie,” which featured fellow superstar Megan Thee Stallion and went on to peak at number fifteen on the Billboard Hot 100.

These kinds of experiences are just part of Carley’s nine-to-five these days. Over the past two years he has become a key member of Lipa’s creative support team, helping to build her lifestyle and pop culture newsletter Service95 and her critically acclaimed celebrity interview podcast Dua Lipa: At Your Service. His official title is US editor and culture director of Lipa’s global editorial platform Service95. 

Carley, who studied English and Communications, first took note of Lipa in 2016, when he was a news editor for Spin magazine and on the hunt for the next big thing. While scouring the music blogs, he heard some of Lipa’s songs on the music streaming service SoundCloud. Intrigued, he decided to check out her performance at the South by Southwest festival in Austin. He was so impressed by the experience that he immediately texted his now-husband. “I think she’s gonna be the biggest pop star in the world,” he wrote. He would end up writing three articles about her as her star rose over the years. “I love interviewing. It’s one of my favorite things to do,” he said. “But I felt like I had a real connection with her.” 

He wasn’t the only one to notice it. In 2021, Lipa and her team requested a meeting with Carley, who grew up outside New York City. “They were like, we’re starting this media thing, and we’re looking for a couple of editors,” he recalled. Carley accepted the opportunity, joining a small team that created the podcast and the newsletter, which launched in 2022. In each episode of the podcast, Lipa interviews a mix of experts and celebrities such as Elton John and Billie Eilish. The newsletter, sent to subscribers every Thursday, contains original content and a collection of Lipa’s recommendations. 

Carley books guests for the podcasts, works with Lipa on questions for interviews, and oversees the editing process. 

In addition to their success with Lipa’s fans, the newsletter and podcast have generated positive reviews. New York magazine, for instance, praised the “editorially alive” choice of guests and Lipa’s hosting skills. Carley, who started off predicting that Lipa would become one of the biggest stars on the planet, now focuses on a different part of her skill set. “Whenever I see her,” he said, “I’m always like, There she is! World’s number one boss!”

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