With her third single ‘How We Do (Party)’ hitting the number one spot in just 11 hours, Rita Ora is at the very top of UK music right now. Being the protégé of one of the biggest names in rap music, the multimillionaire knew just what he wanted to create with the up and coming star. Dubbed the UK’s version of Rhianna, Jay-Z has a formula when it comes to breaking artists. Collaborating with the likes of DJ Fresh & Tinie Tempah and working with die-hard producers Chase & Status, Rita Ora has already kicked her way to the top the charts with ‘R.I.P’ & ‘Hot Right Now’. With her new album set to sideswipe the charts, there is only one place it is headed.
Meeting Rita was like catching up with an old friend. Chilling with her iPad watching the Spice Girls at the Closing Ceremony of the Olympics she looked up with a superstar sparkle in her eye and beaming smile. “My new single was released yesterday and it went to number one in 11 hours which is cool because R.I.P took like a day. I can’t believe it. It’s so cool and definitely a standard that we have put up for ourselves now. I am so grateful. I never expect anything to get to number one and it was always my dream. I am so happy.”
So with a tidy record deal under her belt and recognition from the music industry worldwide, just where did it all begin? “Music way back started when I was six. I joined a choir in my school and I was like Mum I wanna sing. My singing teacher told her that I should audition for a theatre school. I went to Sylvia Young and that was when I learned my craft. I wasn’t really a musical theatre singer, so it was fun to be one of the few that turned everything into an R&B pop song. I learned a lot and signed a production deal with a producer. After school I would go into his studio and write. That fell through when I was 16 and I went to do my A-Levels. Between sixteen and eighteen I was singing anywhere I could, in bars or down at the pub. I would song write with a few songwriters I met in my production deal and gradually it got into Jay-Z’s hands.”
Hold it right there. It “Gradually got into Jay-Z’s hands?” that sounds far too casual. “The music industry is very small. Jay-Z and his camp Roc Nation had just started out then. They had J-Cole and some other artist but they were still looking for more. This A&R from the UK knew the A&R for Roc Nation, they had a conversation because I was in talks with her. There were a lot of promises but she never did anything. She spoke about me to Jay Brown who works with Jay-Z and he was like “I wanna hear what she sounds like” I sent Jay Brown my demo, he played them to Jay and he wanted to meet me. So I flew out to New York the next day. A few days later I came back home with a Record Deal.”
Although being hidden away in development, Rita has been catapulted to stardom in a very short space of time. The road hasn’t always been plain sailing, which means relying on having her close friends and family at her side. “My sister is always with me, she does my day to day managing and keeps me in check most of the time. I think if you have a tight team around you no one can touch you because you have got that stability. There have been trials and errors and the people that you think you can trust end up not being who you think they are. It is all part of the journey I think. My best friend Kyle does my styling. He doesn’t pick what I wear, but he helps me. I don’t want people to think that someone gives me something to wear and I’ll put it on. We have been best friends forever and we dress the same. We have always been fashion friends and we have both always loved clothes, so we decided may as well just work together.”
Rita is not only amazingly talented, she is grounded and humble too. The music industry is a tough world and it takes dedication and unstoppable hard work to get to the top. Being noticed by one of the most successful businessmen and rappers of all time is a massive achievement for any artist. “I want people to know that I will never forget that I got signed by such a great man and to have him backing you up automatically boosts your confidence. My idol is Beyonce so I feel like she’s backing me up for being Jay’s wife. I have been studying B in Destiny’s child for years and to have her in my world is incredible. I never forget how lucky I am. I always try and put positive energy into something. I have always envisaged my self to be at the top of my game. I set my standards high, I didn’t know if I was ever going to reach them but I always wanted to sing in front of a sea of people. I used to go to sleep and dream about it. The first time I realised it happening was at Wireless when I played the main stage, there were literally seas of people. I got off stage and I started crying because I have never performed in front of that many people before.”
Working with the likes of J Cole, Drake and will.i.am her new album ‘ORA’ is set to storm the charts. Being dubbed as the UK’s version of Rhianna if her predecessor’s success is anything to go by then Rita has big things ahead of her.
“It helps being a female in this industry. I feel like it is easier to find something to relate to if you are a female. You have the look and the feminine touch to everything and the variety to sing about. That is why I think people make such a big deal about someone like Frank Ocean. He sings about things that men don’t usually open up about. I feel like it’s easier to be a woman. I don’t use looks for anything. I do a few sexy shoots now and again, but so what. Everyone does. My point is, man or woman, we are made to have different roles. My Mum is my biggest inspiration, she handled three things at once and they were major. She became a psychiatrist, she beat breast cancer and then she was a Mum. Being a Mum is a big job”
Following in the footsteps of her idol Beyonce, Rita joins the list of strong female artists taking on the male dominated music chart. Her inspirational story goes to show that if you really believe that you can make it, you just never know when a door will fly open that will change your life forever.
Her album ‘ORA’ is out now. For more information go to: