Rita Ora: What's all the fuss about?
You know all of your favourite US R&B megastars? Rita Ora has them on speed-dial. Emerging as if from nowhere, the 21-year-old Ora is already being talked of as the Brit version of Beyoncé or Rihanna, and is set to blast to the top of the singles chart next week with R.I.P, an irresistible throb of club-friendly electro-pop featuring a guest turn from Tinie Tempah. So who is Rita Ora, and what all the fuss about?
She's hot right now
You may think you've never heard Rita Ora, but you have. Oh, but you have. This year she was the sultry banshee fronting up Hot Right Now, the delirious club banger by DJ Fresh that sped to number one. Ora's glammed-up twirling and pouting in the video that came with it showed us that for all her grade-A hip-hop and R&B connections, the main influence on her kooky fashion sense is her all-time hero, Gwen Stefani.
Enter the Jigger
Listening to her ferocious vocal on R.I.P., it's clear Rita Ora is a major talent – but she also has serious connections. Three years ago – still only 18 – she headed off to New York and popped up on videos by Jay-Z and Drake. The Jigger took note and signed to her his Roc Nation label, giving Ora the bonus of feedback from his missus: "I can't believe I get to play my stuff to Beyoncé!" she marvelled.
Watch the video for R.I.P.
From Kosovo to… Craig David?
But life hasn't always been full of glamour for Rita. She had an unconventional beginning, born in Kosovo in the war-torn Balkans in 1991. Rita moved to London with her parents and by the time she was in her teens was enrolled at Showbiz College, a.k.a. the Sylvie Young School. By 16 she was guesting on Craig David singles, including one with Tinchy Stryder, but not everything she did was so cool – she also auditioned for the Eurovision Song Contest before dropping out because "she wasn't ready for it". Translation: "It was too cheesy."
What next for Rita Ora?
She'll go on collecting star names like us mere mortals amass small change. Written by Drake, R.I.P. is produced by techno and rave-pop legends Chase & Status. Ora has been working on her debut album in the States for a year and has had a few minor players chipping in as well: will.i.am, Drake, Kanye West and Stargate. Plus, of course, Jay-Z dropping in every few days to check everything is going OK.
So world domination is assured?
Backed by rap royalty, plugged into the R&B stratosphere and swimming in killer tunes, it's hard to see how it could go wrong for Rita Ora. The only possible danger is that it might be too much, too soon for this 21-year-old and being a celebrity could go to her head. Rita has already dated Rob Kardashian, brother of Kim, and has reportedly been canoodling with Drake on their current joint tour. But so what? The way things are going, Rita Ora will soon be bigger than both of them.