Rita Ora

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Rita Ora
Rita Ora 2, 2012.jpg
Rita Ora in 2012
Background information
Birth name Rita Sahatçiu[1]
Born (1990-11-26) 26 November 1990 (age 23)
Pristina, SFR Yugoslavia (now Kosovo)
Origin West London, England
Genres R&B, pop, dance, rock, hip hop
Occupations Singer, songwriter, actress
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2007–present
Labels Roc Nation
Associated acts Tinie Tempah, DJ Fresh
Website ritaora.com

Rita Sahatçiu Ora (born 26 November 1990) is a British singer-songwriter and actress. Her debut studio album, Ora (2012), debuted at number one in the United Kingdom, and spawned the number-one singles "R.I.P." and "How We Do (Party)". After reaching the peak position as a featured act on DJ Fresh's "Hot Right Now", Ora became the artist with the most number-one singles on the UK Singles Chart in 2012.[2] Ora has a mezzo-soprano vocal range.[3] She was nominated for three awards at the 2013 BRIT Awards, including the Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough Act. She will play Mia Grey in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.[4]

Early life

Rita Ora was born in 1990 in Pristina, Kosovo[a] to Kosovar-Albanian parents and moved to the United Kingdom when she was 1. She grew up around Portobello Road in West London,[5] and attended St Cuthbert with St Matthias CE Primary School in Earls Court, following which she graduated from Sylvia Young Theatre School and then St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College. She used to live in Kensington, London,[5] but in January 2014 left and moved in with her sister.[6] Ora began singing from a young age.[7][8]

Ora has an older sister, Elena, and a younger brother, Don. She was named after her film director grandfather Besim Sahatçiu’s favourite film star, Rita Hayworth. When she was 15, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and she stopped going to school. According to Ora,

My mum had always been one of those free-spirited women and her being ill was really confusing for me. I couldn’t understand why my mum wasn’t a superhero, why she wasn’t, you know, unbreakable. I’d sit around the house for days. I was really down.[9]

Eventually, her sister convinced Ora to go back to school, and her mother made a full recovery. "The experience made me value family and life", Ora said.[9]


2007–2013: Ora

In 2007, Ora had her first music release when she appeared on Craig David's track titled "Awkward"[10] and then again in 2008 on "Where's Your Love" featuring Tinchy Stryder, for which she also appeared in the music video.[11] She has appeared in 2 songs of James Morrison's album Songs for You, Truths for Me as backing vocal. Ora began singing in bars in and around London.[9] She auditioned for Eurovision: Your Country Needs You on BBC One to be the British contestant for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest[12][13] but later withdrew from the competition after a few episodes as she did not feel ready.[12] Her manager, Sarah Stennett (CEO of Turn First Artists, who also worked with Ellie Goulding, Jessie J and Conor Maynard), later told HitQuarters that Ora had entered the competition because at the time she had felt it was her only chance at finding success.[14] Her withdrawal followed her first meeting with her manager when she was reassured that she had genuine potential to make it as a pop star and that performing in Eurovision would hinder rather than help her chances.[14] Stennett got in touch with Jay Brown of Roc Nation and told him about Ora. Brown asked Ora to fly out to New York where she met with Jay-Z.[14][15] Ora signed with Roc Nation in December 2009, within 48 hours of her arrival in the United States.[14] The same year, she made a cameo on Jay-Z's video for "Young Forever".[16] In 2010, Ora made a cameo on "Over" video by Drake.[17]

Ora in Pristina, Kosovo during the filming of the "Shine Ya Light" music video

Throughout 2011, Ora released videos of herself working on her debut album.[18] The video's caught the attention of DJ Fresh, who at that time was looking for a voice for his song, "Hot Right Now".[19] Ora auditioned for the part and was eventually kept on the track and the single was released on 12 February 2012, reaching number one on the UK Singles Chart.[20] She took two years to completely finish her first studio album. will.i.am, Ester Dean, Drake, The-Dream and Stargate all worked with Ora on her debut album.[21][22]

Her first UK single from Ora, "R.I.P." (featuring Tinie Tempah), was released on 6 May 2012.[23] The video directed by Emil Nava was recorded in Hackney, East London and released on 4 April 2012.[24] Produced by Chase & Status, the song debuted at the top of the UK Singles Chart, becoming her first solo UK No. 1, and second overall.[25] Following the departure of series 8 judge Kelly Rowland, Ora became a guest judge on the ninth series of The X Factor in the UK, with the auditions filmed at the O2 Arena, London.[26] On 12 August 2012, "How We Do (Party)" was released in UK and reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart. It was Ora's second No. 1 as a solo artist and third overall in 2012.[27] Whilst supporting Coldplay on their Mylo Xyloto Tour, she later announced that the album would be named Ora.[28] It was released on 27 August 2012 and debuted at the top the UK Albums Chart.[2] Ora was nominated for Best UK/Ireland Act, Best New Artist, and Push Artist at the 2012 MTV Europe Music Awards.[29] In September 2012, it was announced that Ora will be the opening act in the UK concerts from Usher's Euphoria Tour set to start in January 2013. Eventually, the tour was postponed due to Usher's "professional and personal commitments".[30]

From 23 October through to 30 October 2012, Ora embarked on her first headlining tour, The Ora Tour, a five-date US tour supported by MTV. She performed in Santa Ana, California, San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia. The last concert from the tour, set to take place in New York on 30 October, had to be rescheduled for 17 December due to Hurricane Sandy.[31][32] Iggy Azalea and Havana Brown were the supporting acts.[33] On 4 November 2012, Ora released her third single from Ora, "Shine Ya Light".[34] The song peaked at No. 10 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the fourth top ten single for Ora in 2012.[35] The video was directed by Emil Nava and sees the singer return to Pristina, Kosovo from where she originated, riding with a flank of bikers and gigging for excited hometown crowds.[36]

On 11 February 2013, Ora released "Radioactive", the fourth single from Ora.[37] On 30 April 2013, Hunger TV released the video for "Facemelt", the final single from Ora, which was directed by British photographer Rankin.[38] On 14 May 2013, Hunger TV released a second version of the video (also directed by Rankin), which contains a guest appearance from fashion model Cara Delevingne.[39]

2013–present: Second studio album

Ora embarked on her twelve-date UK Radioactive Tour, from 28 January through to 13 February 2013. During her tour, Ora performed a song called "Fair", which she announced will be on her sophomore album scheduled to be released in 2013.[40] On 14 January 2013, Ora revealed that her second album would be clearer and have more direction than her first one: "I definitely know what I want more and it's pretty straightforward with what I'm trying to say with this second album".[41] On 26 February 2013, she revealed to Digital Spy that she had been working with Dev Hynes for the second album and that the record show different angle to a "party girl".[42] On 14 July 2013, Ora talked again about her second album, saying: "I’ve really built in confidence these past three years. I can’t wait to be more honest on this record with my love life, the things that I like and the people I want to work with".[43]

Ora appeared as a featured artist on K Koke's "Lay Down Your Weapons". The song was released on 8 March 2013 as the second single from his debut album, I Ain't Perfect. She also appeared in the video for the song, directed by Courtney Phillips.[44] Ora was featured on Snoop Dogg's single "Torn Apart" from his 2013 Reincarnated album. In an interview for the latter, she talked about her second album saying: "I really wanted to make a lot of effort on this record ... I've grown and I've listened to music that people have released recently. [I've] gone back to the basics of my love for Prince and Chaka Khan. It's just me finding that balance".[45] On 3 November 2013, Ora hosted the 2013 BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards alongside Nick Grimshaw.[46] On 30 January 2014, Ora announced the lead single from her second studio album would be called I Will Never Let You Down, featuring Calvin Harris.[47] This same day, Ora was announced as one of the headlining acts at Radio 1's Big Weekend 2014.[48] The official cover for the single was released by Rita on her Instagram and Twitter accounts on March 14.[49] On March 31 the single was aired on BBC Radio 1 and Rita held a release party in Leicester Square with fans to celebrate the first listening of the full song, who had previously featured a commercial advertisement for Rimmel London Cosmetics during the BRIT Awards 2014 on February 19.[50]

Other ventures

In 2004, Ora appeared in the British film Spivs.[51] In 2013 Ora appeared as a guest star in 90210[51] as well as appearing as a racer in the film Fast & Furious 6.[52] She will portray Christian Grey's sister, Mia, in the film adaptation of the best-selling novel Fifty Shades of Grey.[53] Filming started in December 2013, with a release set for February 2015.[54]

In 2010, Ora featured in a commercial for "Roc Nation + Skullcandy Aviator Headphones"[55] and one for "CK one Lifestyle brand".[56] On 14 December 2012, Electronic Arts released a press statement announcing that Rita Ora will be a character in the The Sims 3: Seasons videogame.[57]


Ora was chosen as the new face of Superga's Spring/Summer 2013 campaign.[58] In the summer of 2013, Ora was chosen as the new face of the "Material Girl Collection", a clothing line sold in Macy's and designed by Madonna and her daughter Lola.[59] Ora is featured on Jay-Z's Made in America, a Ron Howard directed documentary about the Budweiser Made in America Festival,[60] which premiered on 7 September at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. On 8 September 2013, Ora closed the DKNY catwalk show at the New York Fashion Week[61] also performing at DKNY's 25th anniversary a day later.[62] Ora is the new face of DKNY Resort 2014 collection.[63] On 12 September 2013, Rimmel announced via their official Twitter that they will collaborate with Ora for a makeup collection which will focus on lipstick and nail polish.[64] On 10 October 2013, Ora performed at Rimmel's 180th anniversary.[65]



Ora credits Gwen Stefani and Beyoncé as her idols and biggest influences, saying in an interview “Do you know how much I love that woman? I love everything about her", referring to Stefani.[15] Ora has became close friends with Beyoncé, calling Beyoncé her mentor, in addition to talking about her admiration at being able to have Beyoncé give her feedback on her debut album.[22] Her other musical influences include Rihanna,[66] Aaliyah, India.Arie, Christina Aguilera, Brandy, Monica, Madonna, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Celine Dion, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Vybz Kartel and Sade.[15][67] Ora has mentioned her admiration for Rita Hayworth as an early inspiration for wanting to pursue an acting career.[68] For fashion inspirations, Ora also cites Gwen Stefani[69] as her most influential style icon. In addition to Stefani, Ora has drawn great inspiration stylistically from Marilyn Monroe and Daphne Guinness through fashionable trends in both vintage clothing and retro wear.[70][71]

When speaking about the sound of her debut album and its concept, Ora said it "definitely has pop in it, but (...) you can hear influences of jazz in there, you can hear influences of Monica and Aaliyah, and then you can hear Gwen Stefani”.[72] She has also stated the album will be influenced by her father's record collection which, in addition to reggae, also includes such artists as Eric Clapton and B.B. King.[73]


On 15 November 2012, Ora performed at the "VIP Room Theater" in Paris. She sung "How We Do (Party)", "Radioactive", "Uneasy" and a remix of R.I.P. (alongside rapper Black M).[74] On 28 November 2012, Ora performed as a special guest at the concert held in Tirana, Albania for the 100th Anniversary of the Independence of Albania.[75] On 26 February 2013 Ora was a guest performer at Etam Live Lingerie Show in Paris, where she sung How We Do (Party).[76] On 23 March 2013, Ora was a guest performer at Le Bal de la Rose du Rocher, an event organised by Karl Lagerfeld in Monte Carlo in aid of the Princess Grace Foundation. She sung "R.I.P." and "How We Do (Party)", also doing a duet with rapper Theophilus London for his track "Rio".[77]

On 10 April 2013, Ora took the stage at Elle's 4th Annual Women in Music celebration in New York. She performed "How We Do (Party)", "R.I.P.", "Shine Ya Light" and "Radioactive".[78][79] On 25 April 2013, Ora did a private performance at Chanel’s Little Black Jacket opening in Dubai.[80]

Ora and Snoop Dog performed "Torn Apart" live for the first time at the Yahoo! Wireless Festival.[81] The video for the track was shot in January in Thailand.[82] On 29 September 2013, Ora performed at the O2 Arena in London for Unity - A Concert For Stephen Lawrence. She sung a cover of Prince's "Diamonds and Pearls" and "R.I.P." (for which she was joined on stage by Tinie Tempah).[83] On 17 October 2013, Ora performed at the iHeartRadio Theater in New York for the UK Rocks, a campaign organised by Clear Channel and Bloomingdale's.[84]

During the 2014 Women Spring/Summer Milan Fashion Week Rita Ora held a little mini-concert for guests and audience of the Philipp Plein show, singing Facemelt, R.I.P and How We Do (Party).

Personal life

Ora is of Kosovar-Albanian ethnicity and speaks some Albanian. She possesses a mezzo-soprano vocal range.[3]

Asked about her religion, Ora stated: "I believe in God and I’m a Muslim culture, but my parents never forced me. Above all, they raised me with the idea that I could make my own choices and have my own beliefs".[85]

Previously linked with Bruno Mars[86] and Rob Kardashian,[86] Ora started dating Calvin Harris in May 2013.[87]

Ora has an affinity for Tabasco sauce.[88] "I'm just weird like that. I just really love hot sauce". She has a personalized Tabasco bottle with her name on it, sent by the company, as a gratitude for talking so much about their product.[89]


Television appearances

Year Title Role Notes
2009 Eurovision: Your Country Needs You Contestant[12] Contestant for the honor of representing the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest 2009


Year Title Role Notes
2004 The Brief Jaclyn Livermore[51] Season 1, Episode 3 - "Children"
2004 Spivs Rosanna[51]
2012 The X Factor Herself/Judge[26] Season 9 (London auditions judge)
2013 90210 Herself[51] She appeared as a guest star in the episode called "Misery Loves Company"
2013 Fast & Furious 6 Racer[52]
2015 Fifty Shades of Grey Mia Grey Filming

Awards and nominations

Year Organisation Award Work Result
2012 MOBO Awards[90] Best Newcomer Herself Won[91]
Best Female Act Nominated
Best Album Ora Nominated
Best Video "R.I.P." Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards[92] Best New Act Herself Nominated
Best Push Act Nominated
Best UK & Ireland Act Nominated
UK Music Video Awards[93] Best UK Urban Video "R.I.P." Nominated
Urban Music Awards[94] Best Newcomer Herself Nominated
Best Female Act Nominated
Artist of the Year Won[95]
Best International Artist Nominated
Best Single "R.I.P." Nominated
Best Album Ora Nominated
Best Music Video "Hot Right Now" Nominated
Mp3 Music Awards Best Newcomer "Hot Right Now" Won[96]
2013 BRIT Awards[97] British Single of the Year "R.I.P." Nominated
"Hot Right Now" Nominated
British Breakthrough Act Herself Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards[98] Favourite UK Female Artist Herself Nominated
Glamour Women of the Year Awards[99] UK Solo Artist Herself Won[100]
Pandora Breakthrough Nominated
BET Awards[101] Best International Act:UK Herself Nominated
Live Music Business Awards[102] Breakthrough Artiste Herself Nominated
MOBO Awards[103] Best Female Act Herself Nominated
Harper's Bazaar Women of the Year Awards Musician of the Year Herself Won[104]
MTV Europe Music Awards[105] Best World Stage Herself Nominated
World Music Awards[106] World's Best Female Artist Herself Nominated
World's Best Live Act Nominated
World's Best Entertainer Nominated
World's Best Song "R.I.P." Nominated
"Hot Right Now" Nominated
World's Best Video "R.I.P." Nominated
"Hot Right Now" Nominated
2014 IMA Awards 2014 [107] Best Albanian Act Herself Nominated


a.   ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Kosovo. The latter declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. Kosovo's independence has been recognised by 107 out of 193 United Nations member states.


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