Along with the new album, Ora will also release her lead single from Phoenix, “Let Me Love You,” on Friday. Described as a “mid-tempo pop-anthem” in a statement, the song will examine Ora’s feelings of uncertainty when entering a new relationship and is promised to be “one of Rita’s most intimate tracks to date.”
Ora acknowledged the gap of time between her albums in a statement, saying she needed to take her time to create the album that she wanted to share with her fans. “This album is a true labour of love, and it was important for me to do it my way,” she said. “I’m so appreciative of the love and support from those who worked with me on the record and allowed me to create something I’m really proud of. They gave me the space and freedom to create something from my heart.”
The album comes after a pivotal year in the singer’s career. After selling out a European tour and racking up millions of streams for her recent singles, Ora released the song “Girls” with Cardi B, Bebe Rexha and Charli XCX at the start of the summer. The song was met with criticism from the LGBTQ community, including queer pop stars Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani, for its problematic portrayal of girl-on-girl attraction.
While Cardi and Rexha defended the song, Ora swiftly apologized for the track and subsequently came out. “I have had romantic relationships with women and men throughout my life and this is my personal journey," she wrote on Twitter. “I am sorry how I expressed myself in my song has hurt anyone. I would never intentionally cause harm to other LGBTQ+ people or anyone."
Rita Ora’s new album Phoenix is out everywhere on Nov. 23 and is available for pre-order now.