Rita Ora has been teasing a new album for quite some time. But with a new single — “Body On Me” featuring Chris Brown — and a current mini U.S. tour to support her new music, it looks like the time is here. Almost.
Although a release date is still TBD, the Roc Nation artist tells Billboard that she’s ready to follow up her debut album, Ora.
“I’m very proud of where I’m at in the moment,” says the 24-year-old in an upstairs green room inside the Samsung Studio on Fairfax Avenue in L.A., where she has just performed a string of hits for a lively crowd on Aug. 28 at the MTV VMAs Song of the Summer party presented by Samsung Galaxy Tab S2. “I recorded it all in London because I wanted to keep my roots from where I grew up and I sat down and [had] a brainstorm to make sure my message comes across.”
Nailing that message (everything from relationships and independence to being comfortable in your own skin) meant working with a tightknit team of “fresh” talent, including Major Lazer and songwriters Felix Snow, the Monsters and Julia Michaels, the latter of whom she called a “good friend.” She also had a few words about her “Body On Me” collaborator.
“I respect Chris’ work and I thought the tone of voice fit perfectly with the record,” Ora admits, adding that she doesn’t mind that the 26-year-old singer has a string of other songs out this summer. “There’s a lot more to think about than how many songs Chris has out at the moment. I’m just a fan, and I’m very, very grateful that he wanted to support me.”
Ora says there’s also more interesting subjects to think about than pressure. “It’s always there. It’s just in my subconscious at all times — that’s the world we live in unfortunately,” she laughs. “So I try not to focus on that and just do the best at what I can do.”
For now, that means reflecting her age. “I was 18 when I did my first album; I’m 24 now. I was a fan of music before, and I really enjoyed being in the studio and making music about partying, but I wasn’t ready to offer my own interpretation or creative vision of music. I feel I have to contribute something now.”
She’s been lending her talents all over the place — from the big-screen recently in Southpaw to the fashion world with Adidas and DKNY and even collaborations with Samsung — but Ora says the stage is where she’s most comfortable.
“My favorite thing ever in what I do is performing live,” says Ora, who will later close out her evening at West Hollywood hotspot The Abbey. “It’s about not having any rules. I’ve been very adamant on making sure that there is a sense of freedom on my stage, whether it’s outfits or being comfortable in your sexuality, whatever. I’m very proud of what I am and who we are as a band and as a team. We roll as a unit and this is the first time I’ve performed in Los Angeles, or even America, in two years. It’s almost like starting again.”