We caught up with girl-of-the-moment Rita Ora backstage before her secret Red Bull Music Academy gig at this year's Notting Hill Carnival
Thirty minutes before her surprise guest performance at Red Bull Music Academy and Major Lazer’s annual Notting Hill Carnival party, Rita Ora is backstage dressed to the nines in a riot of colour, happily posing for pictures with excitable scantily-clad girls in carnival costume.
Although for Rita, you get the feeling that everyday is a dress-up day. Pulling out all the stops, she’s rocking a Jamaican flag printed string vest and bomber jacket teamed with a teeny pair of leather hotpants, sparkly statement shades and those signature red lips when we meet up, looking every inch the pop star. But for one of the music scene’s biggest rising names, Ora is charmingly grounded when it comes to fashion.
‘This is all from a Jamaican shop in Dalston in east London,’ she explains, pointing down to her striped socks. ‘My style’s everything from high-end to this. I love vintage shops and stuff from design graduates too. Ashley Williams, for example, has just graduated and I really love her style at the moment and what she’s coming up with. Style to me, is all about catching on to looks before other people catch on.’
For us, fashion and otherwise, Rita is certainly ahead of the game. The path to fame can be a speedy one these days, but few people have been propelled into the spotlight quite as swiftly as Ora. Signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label, the 21-year-old Kosovan-born London-raised singer now counts superstar songstress Beyoncé as a friend and Kanye West, Drake and Will.I.Am amongst her contemporaries.
Having scored a UK number one hit singing on DJ Fresh’s Hot Right Now, Ora knows she can do this. And do it well.
‘You have to always be confident and rep your own music and just have fun with it,’ she says. ‘At the end of the day, you have all the control you want when it comes to your sound and how the public perceive you.’
And has Jay-Z offered her any tips on how to succeed in the notoriously tough music industry?
‘The best advice Jay and Bey gave me was to always make a show, even if it’s in a room of just 200 people,’ she explains. ‘Days like today are great, because carnival is the best time to do a gig when everyone’s in the mood and all dressed up.
‘For new artists the Red Bull Music Academy, who have put on today’s party, is a great platform to help uncover and nurture musical talent, it’s great the way it’s helped so many people come up through the ranks.’
Something tells us that the only way the lovely Rita is going, is up. Her debut album ORA is out now.