Each week, Music Week meets the brightest new talent in the biz. Here, we sit down with First Access Entertainment's Elena Ora to hear about her career so far...
How did you break into the industry?
I started out helping my sister, Rita [Ora], look for a manager and a lawyer to represent her. Through this search we met Sarah Stennett [First Access Entertainment CEO]. I was 19 or 20 at the time, and was still at university. Sarah offered to mentor me while I was still studying. As soon as I had graduated, I joined the First Access team full time to help manage Rita alongside Sarah.
What’s your proudest achievement so far?
We have achieved a lot of groundbreaking things in our journey so far – some of which have been ‘firsts’ for a UK female artist. For example, Rita being the first to launch a collaboration with Adidas at the same time as topping the UK album and singles charts simultaneously [with Ora and Young, Single & Sexy]. I was also very proud of Rita’s performance at The Oscars 2015, which came shortly after her role in Fifty Shades Of Grey. Being able to mix the worlds of music, fashion and film, in the same vein as iconic women such as Aaliyah and Whitney Houston did in the past, helps continue to set the tone for female artists to explore and express their creativity in a multifaceted way.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Being able to have a creative or innovative idea that sparks excitement and passion, and then to see it through until it’s brought to life, is the most enjoyable and rewarding part of my job.
What’s the biggest challenge?
Sticking to the original plan and source of inspiration, and not letting yourself be swayed or derailed by the doubt or fear of others. Often there is a process in which things are done that can lead you to lose confidence in yourself and your vision. For example, there have been those in the past who have argued that Rita shouldn’t be part of a fashion or beauty advertising campaign, or act in a film, or take part in a TV series, as it will detract from the focus on her as a credible music artist. When we have proven time and time again that, as long as you strategise and time all activity and promotion effectively, each element of every project or campaign can help complement and amplify one other.
What advice would you give to those looking to break into the biz?
Passion and perseverance are key, as is taking pride in your work. Appreciate what you contribute and create with your team and protect this.
What’s your greatest ambition?
To create an environment where innovation and risk are supported and not limited by timidity or scrutinisation.
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