British singer Rita Ora is poised to make a splash stateside this Summer with the release of her first album on Roc Nation, Jay-Z's label, as well a series of tour dates with Coldplay. We caught up with the platinum blond pop singer during her recent visit to LA to talk about her "gritty" sound, hearing herself on the radio for the first time, and her love of vintage clothes and playing dress up. She also filled us in on what it's been like to have Jay and Beyoncé Knowles as her musical guides and the "so cute" new addition to the Roc Nation family, baby Blue Ivy. Check out our interview and listen to Rita's newest track, "How We Do (Party)," on iTunes now!View Transcript »
I was coming to you guys, and I just heard it on the radio. Ah! So it's an honor, and it's something that I don't take for granted. Hey, guys it's Lindsay from Pop Sugar; and I'm here today with Roc Nation recording artist Rita Ora. How are you? Hi, I'm good. good. Tell me a little bit about finding out that Jay-Z wanted to meet you. Jay Brown and he also worked with Jay heard about me through an [xx] but then I went to New York. They flew me over. First time I've been to New York and I just met the guys, like shocked, on the spot.Right.And it was really exciting It was a quick kind of swallow and do your thing. Right. That kind of moment. What it was like to have Jay Z Beyonce as mentors, they're just such great influences, on not just me, a lot of people. So it's an honour, and it's something that I don't take it for granted. People might be surprised that Rock Nation's a really small close-knit family of people. Yeah. There's not a lot of us, you know there's a few of us artists they let us do our own thing which is just great. And you guys have a new addition to the family with Blue Ivy now. Yeah, she's so cute. Is she just like the most adorable maybe ever. Very happy. Now tell me too about growing up. Was there maybe an experience you had where you were like, hey, I may have a talent for this singing thing? when I was 6 I joined a choir and my singing teacher said to my mom, you know she can sing. My mom was like, what? My mom didn't really have any idea. She knew I was making noise but I don't think she knew that she could actually say. Right. And she was like, really. She sent me to a few schools and then I when to the Silvia Young Theater school which is a big theater school in London. Right So what artists did you look up to or listen to a lot when you were young that kind of shaped your sound today? Obviously Beyonce's one of my big inspirations, Destiny's Child was like my go to album. I love No Doubt. I think No Doubt. I love Gwen Stefani. Gwen Stefani is one of my idols, she is just so cool and You know I like old school music. I love Bruce Springsteen's stuff and David Bowie, and all these artists like Jimi Hendrix, at least artists that kind of knew themselves and didn't really care. So you're thinking the album's going to come out this summer, which is super exciting. And I know that you're going to be touring with Cold Play. [xx] Yeah. The arenas are huge.[xx] I'm not going to run from one side to the other. I'm not like the [xx] person in the world. So I could be in the gym. Yeah. Well how that partnership come about because your styles, musically are very different. Yeah. I have met Chris a few time during my process of making the album. He's seen my growth He is a great friend of the [xx] family and I really respect him as a musician and he heard my music and he said can you do it. Interviewer: Do you think there might be a collaboration in your future together? Interviewee: I wish. Interviewer: Hope so. Interviewee: I will definitely 100 percent say yes. Interviewer: So tell me a little about putting the album together. When you heard Having Hov, did you know, okay this is gonna be the hit that it is, I was looking today, 12 million people have watched it on YouTube.It's amazing. Interviewee: I know, I can't believe it.[song] When I first recorded it right, I didn't know what it was gonna be, I just was a fan of the track. Interviewer: Right. Interviewee: And DJ Fresh, who's a great drum and base producer and a great DJ, asked me to do it, and I said, "Of course I will." Interviewer: And then now it's kind of spilling over to the US. You actually heard it on the radio. Interviewee: Just right now. I was coming to you guys and I just had it on the radio. Ahh! Interviewer: We cannot not talk about this because I love it. It's kinda of amazing. Thank you, it's an antique Vivienne Westwood piece, and it has rips all over it. It is, there's a lot going on, I like it. I hope you guys can see the literally ripped everywhere. Have you sort of developed a personal style over the years? You know what it is, I love clothes, I love music, and I think that they are very similar different ways and with music and with fashion there's no boundaries. So, tell me a little bit too about all of the touring that you have coming up. I know that Jay-Z did a lot of stops with you in New York City. So what was that experience like? I initially thought we were going to a meeting. It was so unplanned. It was literally just a meeting to stop the Rita project and they had it and all of a sudden they wanted to play it straight away. and I couldn't believe it I was all like are you serious?And then they were like yeah. I was like but are you serious? And there were like yeah. And then they just played it right there and then. It was one of those moments trying not to cry, I wanted to burst out in tears. It was a moment for me. If you could kind of sum up the sound in one sentence what would it be? It would be pop but with a grit. It's pop with a twist, you know. It's a very honest album in my eyes so it's a very gritty and it has a bit of a rough edge to it. Thank you so much for coming by today while you're in LA. Thank you for having me. Really appreciate it. Definitely tune for Rita's debut album on Rock Nation.