Rita Ora is a British singer and actress who got recognition through DJ Fresh's single, 'Hot Right Now', in which she was the main vocalist. She got the attention of Jay-Z, whose record label released her debut album 'Ora'. She took the music industry by storm after her singles topped the charts in the UK one after another. She has appeared as a judge in a number of talent shows in the UK and the US, such as, 'The X Factor' and 'America's Next Top Model'. She is also an actor who is a part of the 'Fifty Shades' movie franchise. After entering UK as a refugee, she rose to fame through hard work and perseverance. Ora, whose family faced oppression when she was young, is a philanthropist and an advocate for women's rights. She has participated in many fundraisers and charity concerts for various causes. She has also endorsed top brands like Calvin Klein, Coca-Cola and Samsung, and has been the face of Madonna's clothing line 'Material Girl'. She signed a new record deal with Atlantic Records in June 2016.
Rita Ora was born on 26 November 1990 in Pristina, SFR Yugoslavia, which is now Kosovo. When she was one year old, her Albanian parents, Vera and Besnik Sahatçiu, fled Kosovo and moved to UK at a time when Albanians were being oppressed by dictator Slobodan Milosevic.
Her father is an economist and pub owner, while her mother is a psychiatrist. She is the granddaughter of one of Yugoslavia's most prolific film directors, Besim Sahatçiu. Her maternal grandfather, Osman Bajraktari, was a diplomat.
Her birth name was Rita Sahatçiu, but her parents later added "Ora" to their family surname as it was easier to pronounce. She was named after Rita Hayworth, the favorite film star of her grandfather. She has an older sister, Elena, and a younger brother, Don.
Growing up near Portobello Road in West London, she attended St Cuthbert with St Matthias CE Primary School in Earls Court. She graduated from Sylvia Young Theatre School, a specialist performing arts school.
As a child, she used to listen to her father's record collection and was influenced by artists like Blondie, Hendrix, Prince, Earth, Wind & Fire and Celine Dion. However, according to her, Gwen Stefani and Beyoncé influenced her the most.
Rita Ora began singing at an early age and used to perform at open mic sessions around London. She occasionally performed at her father's pub. However, her professional career started as an actor, in 2004, when she appeared in an episode of the British drama series, 'The Brief'. The same year, she landed a role in the British film 'Spivs', playing an Albanian immigrant.
In 2007, she got her first break in music when she appeared in Craig David's track 'Awkward'. The next year, she was featured in another of his tracks, 'Where's Your Love', along with Tinchy Stryder.
In 2008, she successfully auditioned for 'Eurovision: Your Country Needs You' on BBC One and became the British contestant for the 'Eurovision Song Contest 2009'. However, she withdrew from the competition after a few episodes when her manager, Sarah Stennett, convinced her that participating in it would be detrimental to her efforts at being a solo artist.
In 2008, her manager got Jay Z's record label, Roc Nation, to notice her work. She flew to America to meet Jay Z in person and was immediately signed to the Roc Nation. Over the next couple years, she appeared in Jay Z's music video 'Young Forever' and Drake's video, 'Over'.
In February 2012, DJ Fresh chose her to be the female vocalist of his song 'Hot Right Now'. The track topped the UK Singles Chart and made her famous overnight.
In May 2012, she released her debut single 'R.I.P.', featuring Tinie Tempah. It was followed by another single, 'How We Do (Party)', in August that year. Both the songs topped the UK Singles Chart, and were later included in her debut album, 'Ora', which released on 27 August 2012. In late 2012 and early 2013, she toured US and UK respectively to promote her album.
She released the single 'I Will Never Let You Down' on 18 May 2014. It once again reached the top of the UK Singles Chart. The next month she featured in the single 'Black Widow' from Iggy Azalea's album 'The New Classic'. At number three, it became her first top-ten song on the 'Billboard' Hot 100 chart.
In early 2015, she appeared on the BBC One talent show, 'The Voice UK', as a coach, and later that year became a judge on 'The X Factor'. She is currently a part of the reality television series 'America's Next Top Model' as the host and a judge.
She portrayed Mia Grey, the sister of the protagonist, in the 2015 film 'Fifty Shades of Grey'. She is slated to reprise her role in the two upcoming sequels of the film.
Rita Ora's debut album 'Ora' peaked at number 1 on the UK Albums Chart after release. It became the thirty-fifth bestselling album of the year and received platinum certification from the British Phonographic Industry for sales of 300,000 copies.
Rita Ora was named an honorary ambassador for the Republic of Kosovo at the Embassy of Kosovo in London. Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and his wife, Cherie Blair, were present at the ceremony when she received the honor.
Her song, 'Grateful', from the soundtrack of the film, 'Beyond the Lights', was nominated for an Academy Award. She performed the song at the 87th Academy Awards in February 2015.
Rita Ora was in a relationship with Calvin Harris from May 2013 to June 2014. She started dating Richard Hilfiger in July 2015, but this relation, too, ended in about a year.
Her mother is a Catholic, while her father is a Muslim. Ora considers herself spiritual, rather than religious.
In December 2015, she got involved in a dispute with her record label, Roc Nation. She filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the company, in response to which the company filed a counter lawsuit next month. They eventually reached a settlement in May 2016.
She considers herself a feminist and has performed at the 'Chime for Change' charity concert in London, which was about female empowerment. Ora, who is a philanthropist, has performed as a special guest many times to raise money for cancer research or to fight Ebola crisis.