Rita Ora in Singapore: I want to work with Madonna and the Red Hot Chili Peppers
The 28-year-old singer dished on her dream collaborations with "the OGs" and teased a new album at Apple's Made By Women series.
My dream collaboration would probably be Gwen Stefani, or Madonna, or the Red Hot Chili Peppers, said Rita Ora. "The OGs – the ones that really set the tone.”
As part of Apple’s Made By Women series, the 28-year-old British singer performed and spoke to fans at the Apple Orchard Road store in Singapore during an hour-long showcase on Monday evening (Mar 18). The surprise showcase was announced on Mar 4 and complimentary tickets were all registered for by the following morning.
Speaking to CNA Lifestyle, Ora revealed how those "OGs" have served as reliable sources of inspiration in her creative process.
“When I need to do something or create something, I always go back to where it all started. I go back to the OGs just to get back to my groove. I always have my go-to inspirations that I always refer back to," she said.
For her showcase, Ora presented a truncated version of the set list from her ongoing Phoenix World Tour, which saw her performing in Manila, Shanghai, Tokyo, Osaka and Taipei over the past week.
“I think the fans in Asia respond to different songs. They respond to album tracks, not just the singles. The album tracks; sometimes people like them but they don’t go crazy for them.”
“Over here, I think that they really appreciate the performance. Not that the other territories don’t, but in Asia, I feel the fans appreciate the entire thing; what it takes to make a record,” said the Kosovo-born singer.
Some 150 Singaporean fans were treated to four of Ora’s latest latest singles. Accompanied by an acoustic guitar, Ora performed stripped-down versions of Your Song, Anywhere, Let You Love Me and Only Want You.
“I haven’t done a show here before so this is my first introduction and I feel like it’s well overdue. I can't wait to come back one day and do a full concert. I don’t know why we didn’t come here,” admitted Ora.
Following the conclusion of her first Asia tour leg, Ora is set to make a triumphant return to Europe in April, where she will play five dates in England, among others.
NEW ALBUM THIS YEAR
Ora rose to fame in 2012 with the release of her debut studio album, Ora, which spawned the UK No 1 singles R.I.P. and How We Do (Party). Her sophomore album, Phoenix, was released last November.
The six-year gap between releases, uncharacteristic of pop stars, was caused by legal disputes between Ora and her former US record label, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, which began in December 2015.
Citing an “irrevocably damaged” working relationship with the label, the two parties eventually reached a settlement in May 2016. Ora then signed a global record deal with Atlantic Records UK, joining label mates Bruno Mars, Charli XCX, Ed Sheeran, Honne and a bevy of other big names.
Speaking about the delay between her studio albums, Ora admitted “the pace was a little slow”, and she is working to avoid such long waits in the future.
“Ideally, if I could have cut my second album out earlier, I would have, but I couldn’t. I sort of got close to my fans since Ora, and through it all, everything else I did in television, fashion, movies, social media really was my lifeline and my fan base really connected.”
“I am really grateful to social media. I couldn’t put out an album and I was so angry and so frustrated. I think the process would probably be to not keep that much of a gap in the future and just keep putting out music.”
New music could be coming as early as this year, revealed Ora. “I’d like to finish this tour and put out another album this year. I've already started writing songs on the road because it gets a bit lonely, but I like writing stuff."
"I've got a few movie things happening this year too. Times are changing, everything comes and goes so quickly. I overbook myself but it's so satisfying to be creative in music, in film and in fashion.”
WOMEN IN HER LIFE
In line with her showcase celebrating International Women’s Month, Ora lit up when speaking about her female inspirations, listing her mother alongside the former US First Lady Michelle Obama and American singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone.
“I would have loved to spend an hour with Nina Simone. I would love to hear her story, in that era where she was putting out music and there being so much racism in the world, I would love to know how she felt in that moment and be like, ‘Did that disturb your creativity? Did that inspire you?’ She really represented who she was and that is really inspiring.”
Speaking about her contemporaries and the current pop landscape, Ora emphasised the value of being caught by surprise in the music industry.
“If I could predict what would make it on the charts, I would not tell anyone and I would do it all myself. It’s so unpredictable. Especially back in the UK, where grime and rap have taken over, I’m really excited. It’s like a new era for music. I think it’s really cool to not know what’s happening.”
“I really love what Billie Eilish is doing, you know, she’s not what you would like to call ‘mainstream’, she’s like her own stream. I feel like she’s extremely popular and she’s extremely respected and she’s really young. I was like left field as f***, I was not expecting this really cool like quirky young girl to like dominate the scene.”
Apart from Eilish, Ora also praised Solange’s new album, When I Get Home, released earlier this month (“she’s really got her own style and I really respect her vibe”) and the brand-new scat-heavy collaboration between Vampire Weekend and Steve Lacy, Sunflower (“I just heard it today!”).