Rita Ora

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Rita Ora
Rita Ora 2012.jpg
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 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] She was nominated for three awards at the 2013 BRIT Awards, including the Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough Act.[3] The first single from her second album, "I Will Never Let You Down", debuted atop the UK Singles Chart in 2014, scoring her fourth UK number one, tying with Geri Halliwell for the most UK number ones by a British solo female artist.[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 a year old. She grew up near 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 began singing from an early age.[6][7]

Her mother, Vera, is a psychiatrist, and her father, Besnik, is a pub owner.[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.[9]

Music career

2007–13: Ora

Main article: Ora

In 2007, Rita 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 featured on two songs of James Morrison's album, Songs for You, Truths for Me, as backing vocalist.[12] 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[13][14] but later withdrew from the competition after a few episodes as she did not feel ready.[13] Her manager, Sarah Stennett (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 felt it was her only chance at finding success.[15] Her withdrawal followed her first meeting with her manager when she was reassured that she had genuine potential to make it as a solo artist and that performing in Eurovision would hinder rather than help her chances.[15] 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, the founder of the label.[15][16] Ora signed with Roc Nation in December 2009, within 48 hours of her arrival to the United States.[15] The same year, she made a cameo on Jay-Z's video for "Young Forever".[17] In 2010, Ora made a cameo on "Over" video by Drake.[18]

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

Throughout 2011, Ora released covers and videos about working on her debut album on YouTube.[19] The videos caught the attention of DJ Fresh, who at that time was looking for a female vocalist for his song, "Hot Right Now".[20] Ora auditioned for the part and was eventually kept on the track. The single was released on 12 February 2012, reaching number one on the UK Singles Chart.[21] She took two years to completely finish her first studio album. Ester Dean, will.i.am, Drake, The-Dream and Stargate all worked with Ora on her debut album.[22][23]

Her first UK single from Ora, "R.I.P." (featuring Tinie Tempah), was released on 6 May 2012.[24] The video, directed by Emil Nava, was recorded in Hackney, East London and released on 4 April 2012.[25] 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.[26] 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 and the auditions were filmed at the O2 Arena, London.[27]

On 12 August 2012, "How We Do (Party)" was released in the UK and reached number one on the UK Singles Chart. It was Ora's second number one as a solo artist and third overall in 2012.[28] Whilst supporting Coldplay on their Mylo Xyloto Tour, she later announced that the album would be titled Ora.[29] It was released on 27 August 2012 and debuted at the top of 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.[30] In September 2012, it was announced that Ora will be the opening act on 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."[31]

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.[32][33] Iggy Azalea and Havana Brown were the supporting acts of her mini-tour.[34]

On 4 November 2012, Ora released her third single from Ora, "Shine Ya Light".[35] The song peaked at number 10 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the fourth top ten single for Ora in 2012.[36] The video was directed by Emil Nava and sees the singer return to Prishtinë, from where she originated, riding with a flank of bikers and gigging for excited hometown crowds.[37] 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.[38]

On 11 February 2013, Ora released "Radioactive", the fourth and final single from Ora.[39] On 30 April 2013, Hunger TV released the video for "Facemelt", which was directed by British photographer Rankin.[40] 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.[41] Ora embarked on her twelve-date UK "Radioactive Tour", from 28 January through to 13 February 2013, to support her debut album.

2013–present: Upcoming second studio album

On 14 January 2013, Ora revealed that her second album would be clearer and have more direction than the first one.[42] 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 shows a different angle to a "party girl."[43][44]

Ora was featured on Snoop Dogg's single, "Torn Apart", from his 2013 Reincarnated album. They performed it live for the first time at the Wireless Festival 2013.[45] During March 2013, she performed at Future Music Festival in Australia and Malaysia.[46][47]

On 28 June 2013, Ora performed on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.[48] In the second half of 2013, she headlined various major British music festivals, including Wireless Festival, V Festival, T in the Park, Radio 1's Big Weekend, and Oxegen festival in Ireland.[49] On 3 November 2013, Ora hosted the 2013 BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards alongside Nick Grimshaw.[50]

On 30 January 2014, she announced the lead single from her second studio album would be called "I Will Never Let You Down", track written and produced by Calvin Harris.[51] The same day, Ora was announced as one of the headlining acts at Radio 1's Big Weekend 2014.[52][53] On 18 May 2014, the song debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, making it Ora's fourth overall single to reach the apex of the chart, and third as a solo artist.[54]

In April 2014, Ora revealed to Fuse that her second album will feature production from Diplo and DJ Mustard, as well as a collaboration with Prince.[55] Ora is featured on Iggy Azalea's single called "Black Widow", from her album, The New Classic.[56] The first live performance of the song was at Wireless Festival 2014.[57]

In the summer of 2014, Ora performed at several European music festivals, including Donauinselfest in Austria[58] and Balaton Sound in Hungary.[59]

Other ventures


In 2004, Ora appeared in the British film Spivs.[60] On 14 December 2012, Electronic Arts released a press statement announcing that Rita Ora will be a character in the The Sims 3: Seasons video game.[61] In 2013 Ora appeared as a guest star in 90210, as well as appearing as a racer in the film Fast & Furious 6.[60][62] Ora was featured on Jay-Z's Made in America, a Ron Howard-directed documentary about the Budweiser Made in America Festival, which premiered on 7 September at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.[63] In April 2014, Ora appeared alongside Korean pop star, Hyuna, in an episode of Funny or Die called "Girl, You Better Walk."[64]

She will portray Christian Grey's sister, Mia, in the film adaptation of the best-selling novel, Fifty Shades of Grey.[65] Filming started in December 2013, with a release set for February 2015.[66] Ora originally approached the production hoping to jump on the film’s soundtrack.[67]


In 2010, Ora featured in a commercial for "Roc Nation + Skullcandy Aviator Headphones" and in Calvin Klein's "CK one Lifestyle" campaign.[68][69] Ora was chosen as the face of Superga's Spring/Summer 2013 campaign.[70] In the summer of 2013, she 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.[71] On 8 September 2013, Ora closed the DKNY catwalk show at the New York Fashion Week,[72] also performing at DKNY's 25th anniversary a day later.[73] She is the face of DKNY Resort 2014 collection and Fall/Winter 2014 collection.[74][75][76] She's also the face of the label's fragrance, DKNY My NY, inspired by New York City.[77] In September 2013, Rimmel announced their collaboration with Ora for a makeup collection that focused on lipstick and nail polish.[78] On 10 October 2013, Ora performed at Rimmel's 180th anniversary.[79] In January 2014, Adidas announced their collaboration with Ora for the Fall/Winter 2014 collection.[80] Ora is one of the cast members of Marks & Spencer's "Leading Ladies" campaign for Spring/Summer 2014.[81] In April 2014, Ora signed a deal with Roberto Cavalli to appear as the face of the Autumn/Winter 2014 campaign for the Italian fashion house.[82]

Voice and influences

Ora possesses a mezzo-soprano vocal range.[83] Ora credited Gwen Stefani and Beyoncé as her idols and biggest influences.[16] Ora has became 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.[23] Her other musical influences include 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.[16][84] Ora has mentioned her admiration for Rita Hayworth as an early inspiration for wanting to pursue an acting career.[85] For fashion inspiration, Ora also cited Gwen Stefani.[86] In addition to Stefani, Ora has drawn great inspiration stylistically from Daphne Guinness through fashionable trends in both vintage clothing and retro wear.[87][88]

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”.[89] 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.[90]

Personal life

Ora is of Albanian ethnicity and speaks some Albanian. Asked about her religion, Ora stated:

I believe in God and I’m of 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.[91]

Previously linked with Bruno Mars,[92] Ora started dating Calvin Harris in May 2013.[93] They split up in June 2014.[94]

She used to live in Kensington, London,[5] but in January 2014 left and moved in with her sister.[95]


Main article: Rita Ora discography


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Spivs Rosanna[60]
2013 Fast & Furious 6 Racer[62]
2015 Fifty Shades of Grey Mia Grey[65]
Year Title Role Notes
2004 The Brief Jaclyn Livermore[60] Episode: "Children"
2012 The X Factor Judge[27] Season 9 (London auditions)
2013 90210 Herself[60] Episode: "Misery Loves Company"

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2012 MOBO Awards Best Newcomer Herself Won [96][97]
Best Female Act Nominated
Best Album Ora Nominated
Best Video "R.I.P." Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards Best New Act Herself Nominated [98]
Best Push Act Nominated
Best UK & Ireland Act Nominated
UK Music Video Awards Best UK Urban Video "R.I.P." Nominated [99]
Urban Music Awards Best Newcomer Herself Nominated [100][101]
Best Female Act Nominated
Artist of the Year Won
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 [102]
BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards Best British Music Act Herself Nominated [103]
Best British Single "R.I.P." Nominated
Best British Album Ora Nominated
2013 BRIT Awards British Breakthrough Act Herself Nominated [104]
British Single of the Year "R.I.P." Nominated
"Hot Right Now" Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Favourite UK Female Artist Herself Nominated [105]
Glamour Awards UK Solo Artist Herself Won [106][107]
Pandora Breakthrough Nominated
BET Awards Best International Act: UK Herself Nominated [108]
Live Music Business Awards Breakthrough Artiste Herself Nominated [109]
MOBO Awards Best Female Act Herself Nominated [110]
Harper's Bazaar Women of the Year Awards Musician of the Year Herself Won [111]
MTV Europe Music Awards Best World Stage Herself Nominated [112]
Best Look Nominated
World Music Awards World's Best Female Artist Herself Nominated [113]
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 Best Albanian Act Herself Nominated [114]
BET Awards Best International Act: UK Herself Nominated [115]
Young Hollywood Awards You’re So Fancy Herself Nominated [116]
Breakout Music Artist Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Music: Breakout Artist Herself Pending [117]


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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