Rita Ora breaks out of legal limbo

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UK singer Rita Ora is back with a new single. Picture: Supplied
UK singer Rita Ora is back with a new single. Picture: Supplied

RITA Ora was one of Jay-Z’s proteges before she found herself in pop purgatory.

Like her pop peer Kesha, the British star’s chart career came to a crashing halt when she found herself at odds with her label, who she signed to in 2008 not long after its launch.

It took several months to settle the legal action between Ora and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label after she sought to be released from her contract after just one record, the 2012 debut Ora, with four more to deliver.

Unable to release music while she was waiting for the lawyers to sort it out, the sassy singer parlayed her string of hits in the UK — How We Do (Party), R.I.P., Radioactive and I Will Never Let You Down — into a television and film career.

Ora became a judge on the UK X Factor, scored a role in Fifty Shades Of Grey and its sequels, then launched on to the American small screen via Next Top Model and now as the host of another reality talent quest Boy Band.

And she waited, finally signing to Warner Music about a year ago and releasing her comeback single Your Song.

“Of course it’s tough when you don’t know what’s going to happen,” she says of her time in label limbo land. “But I always believed the situation would be for the best.

“And I had a lot of things going on so I wasn’t sitting there dwelling and being sad. I knew the right moment would come and this is it.”

While she has insisted there is no bad blood between herself and her former mentor or his wife Beyonce since the legal drama was “respectfully” settled out of court, Ora must have been hugely relieved when she found the studio doors to the world’s hitmakers open to her when she was able to begin work on her second album.

One of those who said yes when she called was good mate Ed Sheeran, who co-wrote her comeback single Your Song and sings backing vocals.


Ed Sheeran and Rita Ora hang out with Usher. Picture: Instagram

Also on board were members of the pop sisterhood including Charli XCX and MO.

“Ed is one of my really good friends, I’ve known him for about five years now and that song actually happened towards the end,” she says.

“I think people were excited when they heard I was working on stuff again and I just needed to find a team of people who I could be myself with and open up to, people I could tell my stories.”

But most importantly, she wanted her music to be happy.

It would have been expected of Ora to bare her soul about the bad times. And it wasn’t just the frustrations of having to wait for lawyers to give her the green light to sing again.

Ora’s hibernation from the charts was met with a frenzy of attention from the celebrity gossip circuit.

Her romance with Calvin Harris — pre T. Swift — generated plenty of red carpet photo opps as did her presence at all the famous fashion weeks and red carpet premieres.

Famous for being famous in America where pop fans had no idea of her success in the UK, Australia and elsewhere, Ora was the subject of mean memes and snarky asides.

She was aware of the white noise yet somehow remained unrelentingly upbeat.


Ora is hosting the Boy Band reality television quest in America. Picture: Supplied.

“I didn’t want to talk about the tabloids or the gossip stuff when it came to writing songs. There’s maybe one song that addresses the past … but I am more for being positive and moving forward,” she says.

“At the beginning, I was more sensitive to (trolling) but as you get used to it, it’s not so much you become numb to it as you know yourself more so it means less.

“The people around you know what’s true. And there is so much of that stuff out there, people get bored with it.”

Your Song, her first single in two years, has done exactly what Ora wanted it to do. It got her on the American charts, as well as peaking in the top 10 in the UK and at No. 12 here as it becomes one of the most played songs on Australia radio.

As she embarks on a full-scale promotional assault of American radio stations and talk shows, the song has made its way into the top 10 of the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart and is her most streamed track on Spotify, with more than 118 million spins.


Ora has fought to impress American pop fans with her powerful live presence. Picture: Daniel Boczarski/Getty

“I am really grateful for the support. It’s such a different time for me now,” she says.

As Kesha triumphantly returned to No. 1 on Friday with her Rainbow album after the legal battle with her record label boss Dr Luke almost broke the embattled pop artist, Ora also spares a thought for her Black Widow co-star Iggy Azalea.

The Australian rapper now finds herself in label limbo land, with her second album Digital Distortion languishing on the Def Jam shelf and not looking likely to be released.

“It’s difficult for any artist to go through a situation like that but everyone finds a way to come out of that and sometimes you just need to change the dynamics of the situation,” Ora says.

“I remember when she first came out on tour with me in America before Fancy came out and we had to share a mic, it was such a struggle.

“It’s important to stay positive, to help each other and push through.”


Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora enjoyed a hit with their collaboration on Black Widow. Picture: Tim P. Whitby/Getty.

While she initially confirmed her second record would be released in November, Ora told fans last week it has now been delayed until 2018.

It’s a wise shift considering the raft of music superstars readying new albums for late 2017 including Pink, Niall Horan and Foo Fighters.

But she has flagged an imminent return to these shores to celebrate the success of Your Song and perhaps share some other prospective album tracks.

“We are trying to figure out that now, whether I am coming in October. But to be honest, I am so delirious doing Boy Band right now I have no idea what’s happening next week because it keeps changing all the time.”



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