A booming bass and slithering synth have never led a song astray, and they immediately establish an aggressively joyful tone on “Girls,” Rita Ora’s stacked collaboration with pop stars Cardi B, Charli XCX, and Bebe Rexha.
Released as the days are getting warmer and the final memories of winter hibernation slip away, “Girls” is primed to be a summer jam. It details hazy summer nights spent sipping red wine and rolling Js over skittering drums, layered, echoing vocals, and an unrelenting synth line.
Ora also establishes the song as an exploration of bisexuality early on when she sings, “I’m 50-50 and I’m never gonna hide it.” Throughout the song, the pop powerhouses further the celebration of queerness, singing, “Sometimes I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls/ Red wine, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls.”
PAPER caught up with Ora to chat about writing and producing the song.
There are so many amazing women on this track. How did you decide to work with Cardi B, Bebe Rexha, and Charli XCX?
I wrote the song like two years ago and just put it in my back pocket. When I brought it back out, Cardi was the first person to jump on it. It really turned into its own thing and became a powerful message that I really believed in. I played it for Charli XCX because I’ve known her for so long. I said “Listen to this!” And she said, “Rita, I’ve got to be a part of this. This is so powerful. This is such a great message for right now!” And then I messaged Bebe and she was also on board. I’ve wanted to work with Bebe for ages because we’re from the same country. I feel like all these girls wanted to be part of something they knew was very important, so I’m very proud of the support I have from my fellow collaborators.
How do you think this song is culturally relevant, right now?
It’s like the perfect time. People are going to take what they take to the song, but all I wanted to do is show freedom and a sense of individuality. [It’s also about] me as an artist being able to build confidence to be at this point of my career. It has taken me a while to get to this point. I’m very proud of who I am and who I’ve become I am as a woman and as a person.
Do you feel like it’s a queer feminist anthem?
I think this song is not about gender or even sexuality for that matter. This song really is about telling and showing people that you can be what you want to be and that was the message I had in the mind. When I wrote it that’s how I felt. It really represented freedom to me.
What do you hope listeners take away from “Girls” when they listen to it?
I just want them to feel a sense of acceptance in whatever it is they’re going through. And I think that’s what this song is. It’s for everyone and it’s an open door of good vibes and positivity, and having the ability to still speak on this crazy world we live in. Even if you don’t agree with what the message is. The fact that we were able to do that is beautiful on it’s own.
What was your writing process like?
It was actually done pretty quickly, it was me and a few other writers in the room and I just [said]. “Can you imagine if you made like a crazy anthem for pop stars?”
And you said you wrote it a few years ago. How did you decide to come back to it?
It was just because every time [I would go out] I would play it for my friends. Usually when I know to do things like that’s how I know there’s something special. Sometimes, when I’m wasted that’s how I test my songs. I play it to my friends or if I feel like I want to dance to it when I’m wasted, it’s a good sign.
Do you feel like this song is a good song for partying and going out to?
It’s prime time for summer anthem.
That was also my goal to make it a summer anthem, and it is sort of.
I’m also interested in the production behind it. It’s very intense and layered. What your rationale was behind making it so sonically full and textured?
It started so minimal to be honest. It was just on a guitar, and then it built into this chant. Then it really just turned into this almost like pop-hip-hop kind of back beat and it took on a life in its own really.
You said the writing process was quick. What about the recording process?
That was quick too. I did mine first and the girls knew what they were doing and they just went in. Everyone kind of got their stuff in and out.
What were their thoughts on the final product?
They love it. They keep messaging me. Everybody is just really excited. I think that’s a good place to be.
And you’ve been working on the music video too, right?
Yes, definitely. We’ve been filming it over the past two weeks. Whenever the girls are free it’s very hard working with such busy females I can assure you.
Who’s directing it?
The video is so fun. His name is Helmi. He’s a French director. The film is just really cool the video is like something I’ve never done before.
Source: Paper Magazine
“People tend to feel intimidated by a woman that’s comfortable in her own skin”, Rita Ora is sitting opposite me at the Sanderson Hotel in London, discussing the resurgence of women on top in music. “And that comes to my whole point of supporting feminism; I’m a real believer in Pussy Power. I love my girls, like Charli XCX and Iggy, I love what Arianna did with her open letter, I love Miley and Katy Perry, and B is always on the next fucking level. Women are finally sticking up for each other. It’s been a long time coming.”
Rita is gearing up to release her second album later this month, and that too has been a long time coming. Her debut, ORA, hit the shelves way back in 2012 and landed her at number one. Three number one singles and a slew of award nominations later, Rita’s reputation as one of the UK’s biggest female music stars was cemented. A fourth number one came in the form of the Calvin Harris penned “I Will Never Let You Down”, but then, following a very public breakup with Harris, news of Rita’s impending second album went a little quiet.
I’ve added many HQ Photos Of Rita Ora Attending some Awards Show and doing Photoshoots. Click the links below to check them out.
Photos of Rita in the new issue of ELLE magazine in the UK have been added to the gallery!
We announced that Rita Ora would ‘join the family’, with her first ELLE cover, at the ELLE Style Awards in February – and here’s your first, exclusive look at it.
As one of the UK’s most in-demand talents, Rita – as shot by Thomas Whiteside – creates a bold statement (what else?) for our May issue.
Download the digital edition of ELLE now
On the newsstand cover she wears a Dior skirt with a Cartier bracelet. But it’s her tattoo, ‘Rosetta’, that takes centre stage.
‘It’s based on an original piece by Alberto Vargas, who was an incredible illustrator in the 1930s. He was one of the creators of the pin-up image. That’s our build, our power,’ she explains.
‘That’s why I was obsessed with it; learning what men don’t understand about women and what women don’t understand about men. I was obsessed with the painting a long time ago, and then I got it done six months ago.
‘I just love pretty things, whether it is art, a song or a pair of shoes.’
Ever one to push the boundaries, Rita also stars in a video first for a UK magazine – wearing Google Glass to effectively shoot her own behind-the-cover video.
I didn’t really know who Rita Ora was when I first met her. It was 2010 and she was a guest on my BBC Radio 1 show. I’d done no research and there was nothing about her online. All I’d been told is that it would be a 10-minute chat with a new pop star signed to Roc Nation. Now, if you’ve ever heard Rita Ora talk, you know that 10-minute chats aren’t in the mouthy pop star’s framework. She arrived in the studio and was brash, yet angelic and hypnotizing with the presence of a mega star, bounding over to hug me and gush about her love of Kate Moss and Radio 1. She was open, funny and dorky, but most of all, she was real. Since then she’s had five number one hits and a number one album in the UK, toured the world and become the superstar she promised to be in 2010. A lot has changed, but Rita herself is still all about real talk, full of love and somehow even funnier, sexier and dorkier than ever. Success has a strange effect on teenagers who dream of fame, but Rita has somehow taken it all in stride. She’s dealt with criticism from the press, Twitter spats and actualreal-girl beef but now she faces her biggest challenge, something every Britishartist dreams of: conquering America. With a Calvin Harris-produced single outin May and increasingly scary levels of fame and pressure to make album numbertwo a success when it’s released stateside this summer, I chatted with herabout how she plans on doing it all while keeping sane.
Nick Grimshaw: You were just at Milan Fashion Week, walking in Jeremy Scott’s Moschino show and performing at Philipp Plein. How was it? All I’ve seen is pictures of you becoming best friends with Naomi Campbell.
Rita Ora: Yeah, me and Naomi Campbell are like best friends… No, I’m joking. She’s so cute. She was looking after me at the [Philipp Plein] show. I was really nervous because I felt fat — everyone was so skinny and tall. So she gave me a pep talk and walked me in. Then we ended up having drinks by the bar and she was being really cool.
NG: She’s so fun isn’t she?
RO: She was being major, but you know what that’s like. I’ll talk to you about it later when we’re not being recorded.
NG: So, you were in Milan, where I also saw you cavorting on top of a car in a bikini or
a bra top or something at the Philipp Plein show.
RO: Oh, it was a bra, yeah. I had nothing else so I wore a bra and some jeans. We had fun. It was a really sick show. It wasn’t fashion-y, which was nice. It was just like a proper party.
NG: Were you always experimenting with fashion looks when you were younger?
RO: I was always messing around. I had everything at my beck and call in my mom’s room, so I was playing dress-up all the time and putting on shows. My mom would tell me to shut up, already, and I would never shut up.
NG: I think the Oras need to have a reality show like the Kardashians.
RO: Yeah, we do need to do that. Everyone’s going to see how absolutely gangsta we are.
NG: So gangsta. That day we hosted the BBC Radio 1′s Teen Awards together and I had to share… well actually I jumped into your room because my dressing room was awful, so we shared your dressing room and your mother was telling me that I looked stupid moments before I went on live television.
RO: I know, literally like three minutes before you were going on TV. I was like, “Mom, you can’t say that to him.”
NG: She was like, “You look stupid. That outfit doesn’t suit you.”
RO: And I was like, “It looks cool, it looks cool.”
NG: I love her. She’s a good woman. Would you say that she’s one of your role models?
RO: Yeah she is. She’s a very influential human being. She’s friendly, fun and very honest. And she kind of came from nothing. She had so much shit going on in her life but now she’s a doctor and also knows how to have fun. She’s never backed down from anything. I mean she’s a mom, she’s a wife, she’s a doctor… She is. Everything. She’s major.
NG: So Rita, now that you have reached your goal and you are an international pop star–in Milan one minute and New York the next–with an album on the way, what’s the next level? What’s the next goal?
RO: I would love to win a Grammy one day. And I want to go to India, China and Egypt. Places I would have never gone before. I want to live the world through music and perform for people. Music is so fucking fun and it connects people. And in all honesty, I never want to stop doing this. I would go on tour for the rest of my life if I could. So I don’t think I’ve reached anything yet. I’ve got about 15 more years of goals to achieve.
NG: I’m not just saying this because we are being recorded right now, but I’ve heard you moan about food or moan about drink, but I’ve never heard you say, “I’m tired, I’m not doing this, I can’t do it.” Are there any days where you’re like, “I can’t fly across the world, I literally can’t do this”?
RO: I mean, yeah, but I just don’t tell anybody. Why complain about something that you’ve always wanted? I know that you have to work hard to succeed and there are a lot of people who work hard around you. There are a lot of incredible, talented artists that you aren’t competing with but you’re kind of fighting up against because everyone wants to be the best, so I don’t ever complain about having to work hard. I’d rather run around than sit around, you know what I mean?
NG: Why do you think that so many pop stars go off the rails? And do you ever feel like it’s moving too fast and you could go off the rails?
RO: I think it comes back down to your morals and how you envision yourself and your goals and where you want to be when you’re 70 years old. Everyone’s different and everyone reacts differently, but I think that if you always keep good people around you then surely someone can remind you who you were before you did any of this.
NG: Let’s talk about your new album. This is your US debut. How does that make you feel? When I am doing the radio show and I think of pop stars I think of international pop stars, like Rihanna, Beyoncé… and Rita! What’s it like when you go to America?
RO: Ooh that’s good because that’s who I want to be whenI grow up. Conquering America for a UK artist is incredible because that’s what everybody wants and dreams about. And I guess it’s the same for the US acts; they’d like to crack the UK. The accomplishment is dominating a market which you aren’t familiar with. So yeah, I am a bit nervous. I am a bit scared, I’ll be honest, but I am so fuckin’ excited because the tour we’re doing is going to be so fucking massive. I just can’t wait for it because we have so much more to play with now. The first tour was obviously just me and the band and I was new and now I’m new again, but in another part of the world and we have dancers and loads of decorations and things you’ve never seen before. I don’t want to give too much away but it’s like a completely different planet.
NG: What about when you see Jay Z now — is it like, “Hov!” or is it like a work relationship? What advice did he give you on album two? Everyone says the second is always a difficult album…
RO: Yeah, it is. Now we’re at a place where I’ve grown up a little bit; it’s been two years since my last album. When I met him I was 17, and I am 23 now, so he’s watched me grow and now it’s about me having my own opinion and making my own decisions, which he understands. It’s more of a brother-sister relationship really. He really cares about me and it’s nice to see a boss who also really wants you to succeed and he’s really doing everything in his power to make this perfect.
NG: We should also speak about this man called Calvin Harris, who just so happens to be your boyfriend, and who you worked with on this album. Is it different working with someone that you’re dating rather than someone you’ve just met professionally? Is it easier or harder?
RO: It’s easier actually, because you’re in a comfortable environment but also you get a little bit shy. I got a little bit shy during our first musical bonding because he’s seen me in everything else but he hadn’t seen me in my work mode. So I was a bit shy at first, but not anymore. Now it’s fine.
NG: How many songs did you guys do for the album?
RO: We’ve done four, but the people on this album are just so cool, Grimmy, I can’t believe it.
NG: Hit me with it, come on.
RO: My single “I Will Never Let You Down” [produced by Harris] is obviously a very important song to me because it’s a love song, but it reminds you of Whitney. And that was the vibe we were on. We just wanted to feel good. You know that feeling of “How Will I Know” with the synth? It just makes you feel happy; that’s what I wanted to create. We have this amazing song “Young Dreamers” with Macklemore and it’s so cool. It’s for the kids, and it’s liberating and so fun. I did some stuff with Prince. This album was just so…
NG: Hold on. Don’t brush over Prince. Back up on Prince.
RO: Yeah, we did a few tracks together. I flew to Minneapolis and went to Paisley Park, which is like his iconic studios and we just made music. I was there for a week. It was the best thing I have ever done in my life.
NG: Oh my God, I bet. What happened? Did you just start jamming with Prince? Was it easy? What’s he like?
RO: No, it’s so easy. He plays like 50 instruments so you could do anything and he’ll fix it. He has an answer for everything. He’s a genius. When we connected I basically got a call from my management saying, “Prince would love to speak to Rita.” And I was like, “Wait, like the actual Prince? The Prince of Wales?” But I went that night and met him and we listened to music and it was amazing.
NG: That is so insane. And you never get freaked out? Because if my manager called and was like, “Jay Z’s invited you over,” or, “Prince has invited you over,” I’d be such a weirdo. How do you do it? How are you not freaking out?
RO: You know why? Because I want to be like that one day. They started from nothing and now they are legends and they will be remembered. And I’m all about learning everything–like how they move, how they speak, how they act–and I am so distracted by all of that, by trying to read them like a book, that I don’t think about who they are and I just take it in. I’m from West London and never thought anyone would know my name.
NG: Well they know now. I was looking at the pictures of us at Coachella last night because I was trying to convince my friends to go and I found the pictures of you getting ready for your performance in Frank Sinatra’s bedroom.
RO: Oh yeah, we’re doing that again this year. You went through all of my clothes. It was amazing.
NG: Yeah, there’s a picture of me in one of your body-con dresses with one of Frank Sinatra’s lampshades on my head. What’s your favorite festival? Do you like British or American festivals?
RO: The weather is better at the American festivals, but I think the vibe at the British festivals is completely different. It’s so much cooler and so much more, I don’t know, risky.
NG: I was thinking about this and one of the main differences is that at Coachella we hang
out at a nice house that Frank Sinatra once owned, and at Glastonbury I remember us walking back to our Winnebago at six in the morning eating sweet and sour chicken.
RO: In the mud.
NG: That is the different vibe.
RO: Oh babes, I miss you!
NG: I miss you too. Stop being a pop star!
Rita Ora enters the lounge in Sony’s New York headquarters and immediately curls up on a couch, kicking off a pair of pointy, cherry-red Louboutin pumps so new that one still has a price sticker inside. She is only 22, but one gets the sense that Ora is already the sort of person who’s able to make herself comfortable wherever she goes. Plus, high heels are still foreign territory for her.
“Growing up, I would usually just be like one of the boys,” she explains. “I became kind of a sneakerhead.” Ora’s tomboy roots still peek out, in the menswear-inspired outfit she’s wearing by the British designer J.W. Anderson — perfectly starched white dress shirt and red tartan trousers — and in the videos for both of her catchy-as-hell singles, the soaring, forget-your-ex anthem “R.I.P.” and the party jam “How We Do.”
Her West London upbringing — her family moved there from of Yugoslavia when she was a baby—comes out in bits and pieces, too. “We all stick by each uvva,” she says of her labelmates on Roc Nation, to which Jay-Z signed her in 2009 after she’d spent several years performing in bars around London. And how did that go down?
“The first thing Jay said to me was, ‘Hey, kid!’ ” Ora recalls, doing a near-perfect impression of Jay-Z’s signature genial bark. “He raised me a little bit. It’s very much of a family feeling.” Jay-Z and Beyoncé were both in attendance at Ora’s first U.S. performance, at a Cartier party in New York City last April. Ora didn’t know they were coming, but had coincidentally prepared an homage of sorts. “I was singing ‘Say My Name,’ and I was nervous because it was in front of the queen!” Ora says. “She did give me the stamp of approval at the end.” She’s not the only one: Ora’s debut album, Ora, which took her three years to finish, landed at number 1 on the U.K. charts when it was released last September. The record comes out stateside early this year.
Rita Ora finishes off her close to perfect year in a fab way!
The Roc Nation beauty finds herself between the pages of Harper’s Bazaar January 2013 edition looking smoking hot as she dons a white & black Alexander McQueen tuxedo jacket as well as a black and white Stella McCartney jumpsuit with her signature bold red lip.
The breakout star chats about her musical influences, who she hopes to collaborate with in the future as well as as her influence on young girls.
On Her Favourite Band: [Mumford & Sons] I would love to do a collaboration with them. Coming from the UK feels like the coolest thing in the world right now.
On Her Musical Influences: Growing up I loved Beyoncé and Gwen Stefani because they were honest girls, but people always need a new role model relevant to them.
On Her Fans: I find it exciting that girls have really connected with me and my music and that I have the power to change someone’s life in three minutes, to wake them up.
Rita Ora poses for Seventeen magazine.. Added 11px, check out the photos below:
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