Rita Ora: ‘I Haven’t Felt This Free In A Long Time’


by Colin Crummy |
Published on

Rita Ora calls herself many things: actress, designer, brand and business woman. But she hasn’t released an album since her debut rocketed to number one in 2012 due to ‘complications’ with her deal on her mentor Jay Z’s label Roc Nation.

In December, things came to a head when Rita issued a lawsuit citing neglect by the record label; they countersued over her contractual obligation to deliver four more records. The two parties finally settled out of court in June.


Speaking to Grazia at the launch of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Rita says the four-year musical limbo left her ‘frustrated’. ‘There were a few complications and just a lot going on at that point. I have gone through things personally and professionally,’ she says. ‘I’ve dealt with battles I’ve never thought I’d have to deal with at 25.’

The Roc Nation saga may bring closure to a tumultuous period for Rita musically. In 2014, former boyfriend Calvin Harris wrote and produced her number one hit ‘I Will Never Let You Down’, then prevented her from performing it at the Teen Choice awards. She says the bruising encounters in the last four years have taught her not to trust.

‘I guess don't trust so many people. I’m a very open person. I love very hard. So if I trust someone, I trust you until you prove me wrong basically. And yeah, it’s never a nice feeling if you believe in something and it gets destroyed.’

Things are looking up for Rita on the music front. She’s signed a new deal with Warner’s Atlantic Records; new songs are expected before year’s end. In the meantime, you could never accuse her of wallowing. She’s been a judge on The Voice and The X Factor, appeared in Fifty Shades, collaborated with Adidas Originals and endorsed everything from mobile phones to make up.


Next up is a gig as the new host of America’s Next Top Model, after being chosen by Tyra Banks, who takes up an executive producer role on the reality contest. ‘I’ve never felt this comfortable and this free creatively in a very long time,’ Rita says.

With all the other strings to her bow, did she ever feel that popstar might just fall off the Rita Ora CV? ‘It frustrates me that you have to pick one,’ she says. ‘I don’t like that. I do what I love. My inspirations are women who do what they want to do and need to do to survive.’

So what has kept her going? ‘It’s very important thing to keep a core team, a trusting and loyal team,’ says Rita, whose best friend is her stylist and her sister her manager. ‘And I guess to just stay focused; there’ll always be another party.’

Rita spoke at the launch of the new and improved Coca-Cola Zero Sugar which ‘tastes more like Coke and looks more like Coke’ but without the sugar.

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