Rita Ora on new music, tabloid attention and her relationship with Taika Waititi

Over time she became: spin Once dubbed the music industry’s go-to piñata, even though most of the “controversy” is often misunderstood or, as Ora tells me, completely hoaxed.

To counteract it, Ora says, she controls. That’s where her music comes in. When she reaches a new chapter in her life and she feels that she has something she wants to say, she temporarily retreats out of the spotlight into the studio. And that’s what she does. The impetus came a year and a half ago when she fell in love and began work on her third album, due for release in 2023.

This album is Ora’s next step in reclaiming her story. When Ora signed a new record deal with Sony BMG last year, she took full ownership of the master. This is a recent trend among many mostly female artists to avoid having their past catalogs sold without permission. “I’ve always had that in me. It’s about being in control,” she said, ending the session as she curled her legs up on the leather sofa. “My mother is a big inspiration for that.”

You said you only go back to music when you want to capture the moment. Can you describe that moment?

I’m giving this presentation to everyone I work with, so we’re all on the same page. What is your language? What is your purpose? what is the connection? I will tell everyone about my journey. [With the album, I’m] Capturing this moment in my life I fall in love. What I’m talking about on that, very personal thoughts, about what it took me to decide on this person and commit to him.

This album gave me a lot of courage and confidence. I wrote a lot of songs for this album. Attended all sessions. If not, I changed the song to suit me. I’ve never done that before on any album. I actually did all the work, wrote every song, or participated in the process of every song.

what changed?

A position of owning and creatively controlling one’s master. I’m in another seat on the bus now.

you are driving it

It’s like driving! Now that you have this power, why not try it? It gave me more confidence as a songwriter. I can suggest things in the room and not feel silly about it. I feel more confident in my ideas and vision.

Given your musical success, it seems strange that you have self-doubt.

I’ve never been as committed to songwriting as I was on my first and second albums, but after a few weeks in the groove, I realized I could really do it. You can always stand in front of the mic and sing, but I was getting a little nervous about making sense of the world of songwriting.

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