“People tend to feel intimidated by a woman that’s comfortable in her own skin”, Rita Ora is sitting opposite me at the Sanderson Hotel in London, discussing the resurgence of women on top in music. “And that comes to my whole point of supporting feminism; I’m a real believer in Pussy Power. I love my girls, like Charli XCX and Iggy, I love what Arianna did with her open letter, I love Miley and Katy Perry, and B is always on the next fucking level. Women are finally sticking up for each other. It’s been a long time coming.”
Rita is gearing up to release her second album later this month, and that too has been a long time coming. Her debut, ORA, hit the shelves way back in 2012 and landed her at number one. Three number one singles and a slew of award nominations later, Rita’s reputation as one of the UK’s biggest female music stars was cemented. A fourth number one came in the form of the Calvin Harris penned “I Will Never Let You Down”, but then, following a very public breakup with Harris, news of Rita’s impending second album went a little quiet.
“Obviously my personal life distracted me a bit, I wasn’t prepared to go in and finish off a record because I wasn’t myself, I was in a bad place”, Rita says, assuring me that now it’s time to move on, and that she’s ready to concentrate fully on the release of her sophomore album. “I think that our experience was amazing at that time, but it’s time to move on now”, she says. “I think that we’ve both shown that we’ve done that, not just in our personal lives, but in our musical lives too. I still love performing “I Will Never Let You Down” – it’s one of my favourites. People are like, “do you feel a bit weird?”, and I say no – because music speaks for itself, it’s a great song.”
So what can we expect from Rita Ora, chapter two? “I’ve grown up. I think I’ve got more to say because I’m older, but I haven’t changed personally”, she says. “I think humans change always, but I don’t think we completely forget. I don’t forget where I’m from, or what I’ve done. I’m still the same daughter I was to my mother, but I’m an evolved artist and that shows. This album shows my improvement as a storyteller”