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Rita Ora

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Rita Ora
Rita Ora (cropped).jpg
Ora performing in Sepang, Malaysia during the Future Music Festival Asia, in 2013
Background information
Birth name Rita Sahatçiu[1]
Born (1990-11-26) 26 November 1990 (age 24)
Pristina, SFR Yugoslavia (now Kosovo)[a]
Origin London, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actress
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2007–present
Associated acts DJ Fresh

Rita Sahatçiu Ora (born Rita Sahatçiu; 26 November 1990) is a British singer, songwriter and actress. Her debut studio album, Ora, released in 2012, debuted at number one in the United Kingdom. The album contained the UK number-one singles, "RIP" 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, with three consecutive singles reaching the top position.[2] She was nominated for three Brit Awards at the 2013 ceremony.[3]

The first single from her second album, "I Will Never Let You Down", became her fourth UK number one when it debuted at the top of the charts in 2014.[4] Also in 2014, Ora featured on Iggy Azalea's single, "Black Widow", which reached number three in the US. In 2015, Ora became a coach on the fourth series of The Voice UK.

Early life

Ora was born in 1990 in Pristina, Kosovo,[a] to Kosovar-Albanian parents. Her mother, Vera Sahatçiu, is a psychiatrist, and her father, Besnik Sahatçiu, is a pub owner.[5] Ora has an older sister, Elena, and a younger brother, Don. She was named after the favourite film star of her film director grandfather Besim Sahatçiu, Rita Hayworth.[6] She was born as Rita Sahatçiu ("watchmaker" in Albanian), but her father later added Ora ("watch" or "clock" in Albanian) to the family surname so it could be easily pronounced.[1]

Ora moved to the United Kingdom when she was a year old. She grew up near Portobello Road in West London,[7] 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.[8][9]

Music career

2007–10: Career beginnings

Ora began performing at open mic sessions around London and, occasionally, in her father's pub.[6] In 2007, Ora had her first music release when she appeared on Craig David's track titled "Awkward", and then again in 2008 on "Where's Your Love", featuring Tinchy Stryder, for which she also appeared in the music video.[10][11] She featured on two songs of James Morrison's album, Songs for You, Truths for Me, as backing vocalist.[12]

She auditioned for Eurovision: Your Country Needs You on BBC One to be the British contestant for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest but later withdrew from the competition after a few episodes as she did not feel ready.[13][14] 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 the American label, 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] After being signed, Ora recorded an album and wanted to release it, but her label advised against it and she started to work on another material for her debut album.[6]

2011–13: Breakthrough and Ora

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 featured on the single that was released on 12 February 2012, reaching number one on the UK Singles Chart.[21] During February 2012, Ora was also the opening act on the UK concerts from Drake's Club Paradise Tour. Ora worked with Ester Dean,, Chase & Status, The-Dream and Stargate on her debut studio album, and took two years to completely finish it.[22][23]

Ora in Pristina, Kosovo during the filming of the "Shine Ya Light" music video in September 2012

The first UK single from her debut album, "RIP" (featuring Tinie Tempah), was released on 6 May 2012.[24] Produced by Chase & Status, the song debuted at the top of the UK Singles Chart, becoming her first solo UK number one.[25] On 12 August 2012, "How We Do (Party)" was released and reached number one in the UK and Ireland. It was Ora's second UK number one as a solo artist, and third overall in 2012.[26] The song also reached the top ten in Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Whilst supporting Coldplay on their Mylo Xyloto Tour, she later announced that her debut album would be titled Ora.[27] 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.[28] 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".[29] From 23 October through to 30 October 2012, Ora embarked on her first headlining tour, Ora Tour, a five-date US tour supported by MTV.

"Shine Ya Light", released on 4 November 2012, became Ora's fourth consecutive top ten single in the UK, peaking at number ten.[30][31] 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.[32] On 11 February 2013, Ora released "Radioactive", the fourth and final single from Ora.[33] Ora embarked on her twelve-date UK "Radioactive Tour", from 28 January through to 13 February 2013, to support her debut album. She was nominated for three awards at the 2013 BRIT Awards, including the BRIT Award for British Breakthrough Act.[3]

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.[34] 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".[35][36]

On 23 March 2013, Ora performed as a special guest at Le Bal de la Rose du Rocher, an event organised by Karl Lagerfeld in Monte Carlo in aid of the Princess Grace Foundation.[37] On 24 May 2013, Ora was the headline act on 1Xtra Arena/In New Music We Trust stage at Radio 1's Big Weekend.[38] On 28 June 2013, Ora performed on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.[39]

On 30 January 2014, she announced the lead single from her second studio album would be called "I Will Never Let You Down", produced by Calvin Harris.[40][41] 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.[42]

Ora is featured on Iggy Azalea's single titled "Black Widow", from her album The New Classic.[43] "Black Widow" became Ora's first top 10 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in August 2014.[44] On 14 December, Ora performed at the 2014 telecast of Christmas in Washington, filmed at the National Building Museum.[45] On 22 February 2015, she performed the Academy Award-nominated song "Grateful", which appears in the film Beyond the Lights, at the 87th Academy Awards.[46]

Other ventures


In 2004, Ora appeared in the British film Spivs.[47] On 14 December 2012, Electronic Arts released a press statement announcing that Ora will be a character in The Sims 3: Seasons video game.[48] In 2013, Ora appeared as a guest star in 90210, as well as appearing as a racer in the film Fast & Furious 6.[47][49] 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.[50] In April 2014, Ora appeared alongside Korean pop star, Hyuna, in an episode of Funny or Die called "Girl, You Better Walk."[51]

She portrayed Christian Grey's sister, Mia, in the film adaptation of the best-selling novel Fifty Shades of Grey.[52][53] Ora originally approached the production hoping to contribute to the film's soundtrack, and instead was asked to audition for the role of Mia Grey.[54]


In 2010, Ora featured in a commercial for "Roc Nation + Skullcandy Aviator Headphones" and in Calvin Klein's "CK one Lifestyle" campaign.[55][56] Ora was chosen as the face of Italian sneaker brand, Superga, for their Spring/Summer 2013 campaign.[57] 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.[58] On 8 September 2013, Ora closed the DKNY catwalk show at the New York Fashion Week,[59] also performing at DKNY's 25th anniversary a day later.[60] She was the face of two DKNY's 2014 collections, Resort collection and Autumn/Winter collection.[61][62][63] She's also the face of the label's fragrance, DKNY My NY, inspired by New York City.[64] In September 2013, Rimmel announced their collaboration with Ora for a makeup collection that focused on lipstick and nail polish.[65][66] Ora is one of the cast members of Marks & Spencer's "Leading Ladies" campaign for Spring/Summer 2014.[67] 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.[68] In January 2014, Adidas announced a three-season collaboration with Ora for their line of casual sports clothing, Adidas Originals, starting from the Autumn/Winter 2014 collection.[69][70] In 2015, she was chosen as the face of Coca-Cola Europe campaign.[71]


Following the departure of judge Kelly Rowland, Ora became a guest judge on the ninth series of The X Factor in the UK. She was a judge during the auditions that were filmed at the O2 Arena in London.[72]

On 3 November 2013, Ora hosted the BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards alongside Nick Grimshaw.[73] On 19 October 2014, Ora and Grimshaw hosted the awards for the second year in a row.[74]

Ora is the fourth coach on the fourth series of The Voice UK, joining coaches Tom Jones, and Ricky Wilson.[75]


Ora possesses a mezzo-soprano vocal range.[76] Ora credited Gwen Stefani and Beyoncé as her idols and biggest influences.[16] Ora called Beyoncé her mentor, expressing admiration and gratitude at being able to have Beyoncé give her feedback on her debut album.[23] Her other musical influences include Freddie Mercury, Christina Aguilera, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Celine Dion, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, and Sade.[6][16][77] Ora also stated that she was inspired by her parents' record collection which included artists such as Prince, Earth, Wind & Fire, Eric Clapton and B.B. King.[6][78] Ora has mentioned her admiration for Rita Hayworth as an early inspiration for wanting to pursue an acting career.[79]

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."[80]

Ora was previously linked with Bruno Mars.[81] She started dating Calvin Harris in May 2013.[82] They went separate ways in June 2014.[83]


Main article: Rita Ora discography





Year Title Role Notes
2004 Spivs Rosanna[47]
2013 Fast & Furious 6 Racer[49]
2015 Fifty Shades of Grey Mia Grey
Southpaw TBA Post-production
Year Title Role Notes
2004 The Brief Jaclyn Livermore[47] Episode: "Children"
2012 The X Factor Guest Judge[72] Series 9 (London auditions)
2013 90210 Herself[47] Episode: "Misery Loves Company"
2015 The Voice UK Coach[84] Series 4
Empire Herself[85] Episode: "Who I Am"

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2012 MOBO Awards Best Newcomer Herself Won [86][87]
Best Female Act Nominated
Best Album Ora Nominated
Best Video "R.I.P." Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards Best New Act Herself Nominated [88]
Best Push Act Nominated
Best UK & Ireland Act Nominated
UK Music Video Awards Best UK Urban Video "R.I.P." Nominated [89]
Urban Music Awards Best Newcomer Herself Nominated [90][91]
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 [92]
BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards Best British Music Act Herself Nominated [93]
Best British Single "R.I.P." Nominated
Best British Album Ora Nominated
2013 BRIT Awards British Breakthrough Act Herself Nominated [94]
British Single of the Year "R.I.P." Nominated
"Hot Right Now" Nominated
UK Kids' Choice Awards Favourite UK Female Artist Herself Nominated [95]
Glamour Awards UK Solo Artist Herself Won [96][97]
Pandora Breakthrough Nominated
BET Awards Best International Act: UK Herself Nominated [98]
Live Music Business Awards Breakthrough Artiste Herself Nominated [99]
MOBO Awards Best Female Act Herself Nominated [100]
Harper's Bazaar Women of the Year Awards Musician of the Year Herself Won [101]
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Look Herself Nominated [102]
Best World Stage Nominated
World Music Awards World's Best Female Artist Herself Nominated [103]
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 [104]
BET Awards Best International Act: UK Herself Nominated [105]
Young Hollywood Awards You're So Fancy Herself Nominated [106]
Breakout Music Artist Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Music: Breakout Artist Herself Nominated [107]
BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards Best British Solo Artist Herself Nominated [108]
MOBO Awards Best Female Act Herself Nominated [109]
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Look Herself Nominated [110]
Best Video "Black Widow" Nominated
2015 Black Reel Awards Best Original Song "Grateful" Nominated [111]
BRIT Awards British Video "I Will Never Let You Down" Eliminated [112]


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 108 out of 193 United Nations member states.


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External links