Rita Ora may have picked her poison, but it’s doing her no harm on this week’s Official Singles Chart. At the mid-week stage, the star’s latest track Poison is on track to be the highest new entry on this Sunday’s tally.
The song – currently at Number 3 – is likely to earn Ora her eighth Top 10 single this week; her last was as a guest feature on Charli XCX’s Doing It, which peaked at Number 8.
“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.
Rita Ora has a plan. The magazine covers, fashion (Roberto Cavalli) and beauty (Rimmel London) endorsements, clothing line with Adidas Originals, campaign with Coca-Cola, even performing a nominated song (“Grateful”) at the Oscars are all testimony that the plan is working. “Oh, it is in full effect. We’re these conniving Kosovan hungry bitches,” Ora says of herself and her older sister, Elena Sahatçiu, who is also her manager. “I knew that one way or another, I was going to do things my way.”
On playing the house diva behind the turntables while her parents thought she was going to sleepovers: “I would rip my T-shirts and be really punk and not clean. And I would have blonde hair, really dark eyebrows, red lipstick, lots of fake rings that made my fingers go green. I wouldn’t be smelling that great…. But me and my friends, we were really, like, rebel-y. I feel like I lived a lot when I shouldn’t have.”
On dating: “I’m afraid of being alone. I’m not afraid to admit that, you know. I’m not embarrassed to admit that. I just hope it’s not a never-ending cycle. Sometimes love just makes you feel crazy. And that feeling that we have as girls, just to have that feeling, even for five seconds, it’s like crack. I mean, don’t compare it to that, but you know what I mean. It’s like comfort eating.”
On her recent breakup: “There was a reason why I split up with him. And there was a reason why I’m at this point in my life where I feel like I have so much musical freedom, and I don’t have to explain myself to anybody… It was more of a thing where I was in awe. I was at that point in my relationship where I felt he could do no wrong. I thought he had my back and that he’d never steer me wrong. But then “I Will Never Let You Down” came out, and everything started to go a bit weird. I don’t know if it was because business was mixed with personal or what.”
On playing a drug addict who attempts to seduce a boxer played by Jake Gyllenhaal in Southpaw: “I arrived on the set, and the makeup artist said, ‘You’re kind of ready to go onstage.’ I’m like, ‘You know I’m playing a crack whore?’ Which shows: Don’t look at me when I’m waking up.”
On recording three songs with Prince: “He came to London about a year ago and his manager contacted my management, and he said, ‘Hey, Prince is in town.’ I was like, ‘What prince? Like the royal family prince? I wouldn’t care about that prince. I care more about actual Prince Prince.’ And he was like, ‘Actual Prince.’ I said, ‘Oh, my God!’”
On patience: “I’ve had to have a lot of patience. Because there have been times at night where I want to pull my hair out and just put my music out for free on the Internet and just say fuck everybody. But then I have this conscience saying no, be smart, be strategic. There are ways of doing things and still getting your way. If I’m going to do Rita Ora, it’s going to be Rita fucking Ora. It’s not about who is on my album or who’s featured or the names. It’s about a solid body of work that I can call my own.
Read the full interview—and see all the photos—in the July issue of Marie Claire, on newsstands June 23.
Drum roll please…. we can now reveal that Nick Grimshaw and Rita Ora have signed as judges for the new series of The X Factor as well as confirming that Cheryl Fernandez-Versini will return to the judging panel alongside show creator Simon Cowell.
Popstar Rita Ora is no stranger to The X Factor having first appeared on the show in 2012 as a guest judge. Rita burst on to the music scene in 2012, scoring a No.1 single with her collaboration with DJ Fresh on ‘Hot Right Now’. She went on to have a No. 1 debut album which produced two further No.1 singles.
Speaking about joining the show, Rita Ora said: “I am excited to be coming back to The X Factor – I had a ball here in 2012. This is a journey I can’t wait to embark on to find some talented singers. Its the new generation taking over. Booooom”
As the host of BBC Radio 1’s Breakfast show since 2012, Nick is one of the most respected Radio DJs in the business. A massive champion of music, he will bring a new and fresh perspective to the panel in the search for the next big singing sensation.
A well-known fan of The X Factor, Nick Grimshaw said: “I love X Factor and have watched the series religiously since it started, so obviously I’m hugely excited to be joining the show. Music is my job and my passion and I’m really looking forward to seeing what talent we can find and nurture this year. I can’t wait for Judges Houses in Oldham!”
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini returns to the panel for her fifth series, after last year taking Lauren Platt all the way to the semi-finals. As the only British female to have five solo number 1 singles in the UK, Cheryl is one of the nation’s most successful female recording artists. As a member of Girls Aloud, Cheryl achieved 20 top ten singles, four number ones and five platinum albums as well as winning a BRIT award.
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, said “I haven’t been as excited about an X Factor season since I first became a judge. The addition of Rita and Grimmy along with some interesting changes we’ve made to the format has refocused us to do what we do best, finding talent and making stars. I cannot wait to get started!”
Simon Cowell, who last year mentored the winning act, Ben Haenow, as well as the runner up Fleur East, said: “It’s taken a while! But I am very happy to be able to confirm our line-up of judges for The X Factor this year. The combination of Nick, Cheryl and Rita is going to be a lot of fun! They all bring a lot of enthusiasm and passion for music to the show.”
“I have a feeling I am in for a bit of a rough time but sometimes you have to embrace the craziness and now, with luck, we hope to find a star.”
The X Factor returns to ITV in autumn this year and applications for the new series are open now. Whether you want to be the next One Direction, Little Mix, Olly Murs or Leona Lewis apply now!
Anyone can still apply by submitting a video audition. Video auditions can be sent in via https://application.xfactor.tv/ and more information can be found here.
We can’t get enough “Poison.”
And while the British singer has been dealing with some meanies lately — we’re looking at you,A$AP Rocky — we thought we’d celebrate Rita for who she is: a vocal goddess, as evidenced by her new song. Here are 11 times Rita vocally slayed us, and watch out, there’s a little “Poison” at the end: