Artist Spotlight: Rita Ora

Artist Spotlight: Rita Ora

From West London to NYC, Rita Ora is taking the world by storm. At just 21, she can already boast being involved in 3 No. 1 hits, including “R.I.P” and “How We Do (Party)” off her #1 debut album and as the vocalist on one of the first ever No. 1 drum’n’bass singles, DJ Fresh’s “Hot Right Now”. And to top off an amazing year, she’s racked up two nominations in the British Single category at the 2013 BRIT Awards. 

But the magic started back when Rita was only 6 years old. “What drew me most to singing was the fact that I could make a noise that made me feel good about myself” says Rita. “I used to sing poems. It was just about doing something that inspired a reaction. It was about self-esteem, even back then, at a young age. I made a noise, the reaction was positive. Simple as that. I could sing my feelings. It was a new, exciting way of expressing myself. This brand new communication device. I understood the power of it straight away.’ 

Soon, Rita was dipping her toes into the local music industry in West London. Between hanging about Portobello Market and attending the famous Sylvia Young Theatre School at the age of 16 alongside pupils from The Saturdays and Little Mix, her upbringing can be heard throughout her music. She has a natural propensity toward mixing street-beats with pop melodies, which was quickly noticed but one of the biggest players in the game. None other than Jay-Z.

The sounds she heard on the streets of Notting Hill, the brassy calypso and ragga of Carnival mingling with the ringtone pop emanating from fast food joints; the splash and funk of the locale’s black music history engaging with the elegant noise of gentrification. If she sounds black and white, hard and soft, rich and poor, it is because her world is full of those competing factions too. She just learnt to set it all to song. ‘My first record,’ she says, ‘had to sound exactly like my life.’

After submitting her demos to the Roc Nation team, Ora moved out to NYC two years ago to develop her debut album and become the latest prodigy of Jay-Z’s expert team. Now dubbed by many as the Rihanna of Britain, learning with the best has certainly paid off. The name-check cast-list of people that have queued up to work with her reads like a Award ceremony of modern urban musical excellence, from the left-field margins right to the heart of the mainstream: as well as Drake and C&S, and Diplo and Switch. But the humbled pop star still remains in awe of the megastars she has worked with and knows that success is a product of years of hard work.

Without a doubt, Rita is a pop sensation that is here to stay. From her signature red lips to her vibrant fashion sense, bubbly personality and insatiable musical talent that has won the world over, we can’t wait to watch this pop star evolve.