Rita Ora has been compared to the likes of Rihanna & Gwen Stefani, but has a style all her own. After being signed up by Jay-Z’s team and having her first number one single, we caught up with her to see how things were going….
Hello Rita. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us here at Birmingham Live.
When you were spotted in a bar in Camden, were you singing your own stuff?
When I first got spotted I was doing a whole lot of covers, not my music. It was great but some people didn’t give a shit in the beginning. It was really funny.
So you had to keep trying?
Yeah I never gave up, I was forever trying.
When you flew to New York to meet Jay-Z and Rock Nation, what happened? Did you have to audition?
No I didn’t have any audition. I had more of a kind of meet and greet as they’d already heard my track. I completely connected with them as soon as I met them.
Do you spend a lot of time with Beyonce and Jay Z in New York?
Sometimes he comes in and out but he has his own things too. He’s very much involved with his company.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve done with Jay Z?
Just being in the studio with him, and seeing him work is the coolest thing I’ve ever done.
Did Roc Nation have a big influence on your song writing?
It definitely influenced me as I get inspired by a lot of things. I get inspired by any kind of energy or characters and I got involved with some amazing artists who inspired me to do the best I could do. I definitely learnt a lot from them as I switched it up a little and made my standards higher and made sure that every track on my album is an absolute meaningful record and honest. I don’t think anyone can deny honesty.
As the album’s taken two years to make and has been worked on by some amazing artists it must be really special, what can we expect from your debut album?
You can expect a lot of unexpected themes. I definitely have a lot of inspiration; I listen to a lot of different music. You’re not gonna hear just one kind of music on my album. There’ll be a few reggae songs in there and a few kind of Gwen Stefani sounds and then some 90s Hiphop in there. There’s a big big collection on there as I love music. I’ve basically made music I was listening to when I was growing up.
Who were your biggest influences when you were growing up?
I loved my 90s, so Destiny’s Child and Mel C, but I also love the soul music. I love my D’Angelo and my Jill King.
Will there be any special people featuring on the album? Are you allowed to say?
I don’t want to give the big surprise away but there’s definitely a Roc Nation influence in there from the team. I don’t want to give too much away but me and Azealia Banks have been working together. There’s a few items in there.
So when is the album coming out?
September’s my goal.
If you hadn’t have been discovered when you were 18, what would you be doing now?
I think I’d probably be singing or like studying to be a vet.
Your new hit single R.I.P has hit number one. Are you pleased with it and did you choose Tinie Tempah to be on the track?
Yeah I chose him. I thought he’d be perfect for the track and I’m a big fan of Tinie. So when I recorded it I just wanted him to be a part of it and luckily he wanted to and it all worked out fine. I’m just happy that he killed it, he completely destroyed it and I’m really proud of it.
So since your recent success what’s a normal day been like for Rita Ora?
Yeah it’s really busy, there’s a lot of phone ins and I’m doing shows every night. Like we’re on our way to Cambridge right now with DJ Fresh. Yeah I’ve been really busy but I’m so grateful.
From the Birmingham O2 Academy to playing with Coldplay in Portugal on Friday, it’s a bit of a difference. Are you excited? Are you going to do anything differently?
I’m definitely looking forward to it because of the big stadiums and the really big arenas. So it’s gonna be really different to the DJ Fresh gigs. But I’m so happy to even be on the line up for Coldplay. They’re one of my idols as well; it’s such a big deal. I’m just gonna have a lot of fun and rock it out.
You’ve recently been compared to the UK’s Rihanna. Are you happy with this comparison and or are people going to see the real Rita Ora on your album?
I think that being compared to someone that’s huge, that’s successful, that’s beautiful and that’s independent is actually a compliment and I really appreciate that as a new artist. Everyone kind of gets compared to other artists, as they’re who they could be as famous as. So I’d have to say that you’re gonna get Rita as I’m not going to be the next Rhianna, that’s not gonna happen, but I’m gonna be the first Rita. You can’t get another Rihanna and you can’t get another Rita, you’ll see alot of me.
Have you got a favourite song of all time?
Yeah it’s P Y T by Michael Jackson.
As you attended a theatre school, is acting and not just music something you’re interested in?
Yes, one day down the line I would love to do some acting but right now I’m okay. I mean it’s all about my music. But I love to do a lot of everything.
Have you heard about Ill Manors created by Plan B?
Have I heard of it? Of course I have! Yeah it’s amazing. I saw Plan B in LA. It’s really nice to see him finally do it. He’s so talented, he’s amazing. He takes control of all his shit and I’m really proud of that.
If you could pick anyone dead or alive to work with whom would you pick?
Michael Jackson or Gwen Stefani
Will there be a solo Rita Ora tour?
Yeah that’s on my list. I just wanna finish my album first.
Thanks again for taking the time to speak to Birmingham Live.
Interview by John Kirby
Photos by Steve Gerrard