Rita Ora talks loneliness, lockdown and her evolving musical career

Rita Ora talks loneliness, lockdown and her evolving musical career

Rita Ora has told Music Week that she has “breaking in a different era” to thank for her dedicated fanbase.

We caught up with the million-selling singer last month in lockdown, where she’s hard at work on her as-yet-untitled third album. Now, in a brand new extract from our conversation, we talk isolation and progression with the singer, who’s due to perform for BBC Radio 1’s revamped Big Weekend livestream later this month. 

“Music has always been my escape,” said Ora. “I’m definitely all about making music at the moment and I’ve been like that for a long time. I can’t wait to put out another album and go on tour, I love performing live, it’s my favourite part of the job.”

Read the Q&A in full below.

How are you finding lockdown?

“It’s very hard. I’ve always been big into staying in contact with people, it’s not anything out of the ordinary for me to be talking on FaceTime and on phones. It really helps me with not feeling alone when I go on tour, being able to communicate. I’m used to that part of things, but I’m doing the most I can. I’m trying to stay busy and keep it together, working out a lot, meditating a lot. My mum’s a psychiatrist for the NHS so it’s been a lot of ups and downs just trying to support her and making sure she self isolates.” 

You went live on Instagram with Miley Cyrus and Rita Ora, what was that like?

“I loved it. It was getting energy off other people and it felt super-genuine because we’re all in the same boat, it was really endearing actually. No matter where you are, who you are or how much money you make, we’re all going through the same thing right now, so talking to Miley and talking to Charli made me think, if people can see us coming together, they’ll know they’re not alone.”

I’ve always thought pop was music that made me feel great

Rita Ora

The pandemic arrived in the midst of your third album, are the same things motivating you musically now as before?

“It evolves. You creatively evolve, you start wondering and feeling different things, that’s what you want to portray. I’m definitely not where I was at when I put out Ora, I’ve grown into myself as a woman. People have their own vision of what pop music is, it’s a very vague thing. Pop music can be anything right now, it could be hip-hop, urban, it’s such a big, vast description of a genre. I’ve always thought pop was music that made me feel great, happy, and takes me out of myself. I try and make people feel good when they listen to music, that’s what it’s about.”

How do you look back on your first steps in the business?

“Breaking at that point, it felt like I caught the end of breaking back in the day. Twitter had just started, there was no Instagram, no Spotify, it was about buying the album on Apple. It was when you buy the album and the single, it wasn’t ‘stream anything’. I still remember going to CD stores and signing CDS and those days are sort of over now. I’m very grateful I got to experience it, I genuinely feel like I built a core, solid fanbase. Even though it was 2012, 2013, you physically had to go and do these things. You had to go and see people and I think that naturally builds a very strong foundation for your fans, and they grow with you. You build a genuine connection over the years. Now, I can still do that, but I’ve got so much more to use, Instagram and all the streaming platforms. I enjoy social media, I know some people hate it, but I enjoy it, I like contacting my fans and connecting with them and seeing what they like and don’t like.” 

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