Having a hit record is tough, but topping your native land’s album chart on your first LP? That’s something even more remarkable. But that’s how it’s gone for Rita Ora. Discovered by Jay-Z and Roc Nation three years ago, the petit singer’s distinguishable vocals and catchy tunes have made her a fixture on pop radio with her song, “How We Do (Party).” She’s worked with some of the biggest names in hip-hop and pop, including Kanye West, will.i.am, Drake and The-Dream amongst others, all who’ve helped craft a dance-pop sound that’s made her popular with audiences. We caught up with the British singer a few weeks ago and here’s what happened.
What was it like going on-stage in front of so many people, especially since you were the first person to play on day two?
It was amazing. I did a lot of festivals last summer and it’s my favorite thing to do. You can literally do anything you want. The stage is yours for 45 minutes and it’s great to really absorb the crowd, and to be outside and perform in the rain.
Was this your first proper American festival? If so, how does it compare to the ones in England?
Yes it is. I went on early today so I feel like the crowd hasn’t been worn all day yet. But it’s very similar. It’s upbeat, the people feel free, people drinking beers. It’s very laid back and very cool.
Who are you looking forward to seeing?
Run DMC, Pearl Jam, The Hives. It’s a great lineup and a big mix, which is great.
What was it like being on the lineup with these groups?
It’s cool since it’s called Made In America and it’s a great opportunity to express my music. It’s a real honor.
How’d you like seeing Jay-Z, especially since you know him better than the average person.
It was like seeing my older brother do great.
What kind of role has he had with helping you polish your sound and all of the other things you’ve been doing?
He’s had a big role, I’ve asked for his advice on a few things. It’s nice to have him involved with my team and really caring about me. He gave me some great advice: as long as I’m patient and take my time, I’ll really enjoy what I’m doing.
What’s it like hearing your song on the radio? Was this something you’d expected when you first met Jay and began the process of working with Roc Nation?
No! I can’t believe that my song is out, especially in a place where I’m not from and it’s so cool. I really am grateful.
Will you be playing more shows after this?
Yes, I have a tour set up. Then I want to get back into the studio and make another album.
Do you have material you’ve been working on?
Yes. I was working on the first one for three years so I have some material left that I want to do on the second album.
Is in the same ilk?
No, it’s going to be a bit different. I feel like it’s going to be a bit more open.