English pop sensation Rita Ora has fast-become one of the most influential women in pop music. She has had an incredible career since she first burst onto the scene back in 2008. It was then when she signed a massive deal with Roc Nation and ultimately went on to dropping her debut album ‘Ora’ in 2012.

Since then, she has been responsible for a string of worldwide hits, made her acting career in films like the Fifty Shades franchise and Detective Pikachu and has used her voice for good. We get up close and personal with the star.

Your career has been exceptional to watch. What moment in your career did you take a step back and finally think ‘Damn, I made it’?

Thank you so much! That’s a difficult one. My career has been full of ups and downs but the hard work has proven to be worth it. There are a few moments where I felt that I was incredibly lucky. One was performing for Obama at the White House at Christmas, performing in Kosovo for over 300 000 people, performing at the Oscars was amazing and the moment when I became the female solo artist with the most Top 10 singles on the British charts was humbling as well. Oh, performing at Mother Teresa’s canonisation at the Vatican City was definitely a highlight.

Your new single is so good! What connected you to the lyrical content of ‘How To Be Lonely’?

‘How To Be Lonely’ was written by Lewis Capaldi and I really like the melodies he brings to a track. The song, for me, was special lyrically because I had never heard someone describe loneliness in that way before. When you are going through a break up its weird because first you always have someone to talk to and then all of a sudden you have to learn to be on your own. Almost going cold turkey so that really connected to me.

This is the first song to launch your new era, tell us more about that.

I have been putting the groundwork on my upcoming album but because of the coronavirus pandemic, I don’t have anything recorded at the moment. ‘How To Be Lonely’ was the first track to be completed and I was able to release it now which is sort of why the song is the introduction to the new era. That being said, I am excited for people to hear what else I am working on.

The coronavirus has taken a massive toll on the music industry. Both the UK and South Africa will be going on lockdown this week. What has been the biggest challenge you as a musician has faced during this time?

I think finding out how to communicate your music and still connecting with your fans has been the biggest challenge during this time. Shows and festivals have been put on hold and the recording process for my upcoming album has been postponed so navigating that is a challenge for any artist right now. That being said, I have a feeling that creativity and inspiration will run wild during this time and that musicians will come up with some great content. Everyone is getting creative digitally at the moment as well which is great.

How can artists use this time to further connect with their fans and continue building their careers?

For me, I recently did a live stream with Miley for her Instagram show ‘Bright Minded’ which was really great. I also have some content which was shot before the lockdown. I have released a live band version of ‘How To Be Lonely’ as well as it’s music video.

Besides music, you were a judge on The Masked Singer UK this year. Why do you think this format is exploding around the world?

I just thought the show was super fun and everyone around the world has started to connect with the show as well. I think it’s exploding because people genuinely get sucked in wanting to get to know who is behind the mask. I am a musician so I know people’s voices but, on the show, not everyone is a musician so you get really thrown off. It’s one big game of charades on TV and it’s light-hearted fun.

What is the best and worst thing about touring the world?

My worst thing is packing and unpacking. That drives me mad! It’s so boring and you lose so much stuff in the process! The best thing is eating different foods from different cultures in different countries. For me, I have made so many friends across the globe and they have shown me the best restaurants and bars in their respective countries.

Where has been the most surprising country to tour in?

Everywhere is surprising when you travel there for the first time but I was super excited to go to South America. They have the best audiences in the world. Unfortunately, my tour there was delayed because of the coronavirus but I am really looking forward to going back there at the end of the year. I have planned where I am going to go, what I am going to eat, my content and even my outfits.

What is one thing you want to say to your South African fans?

South Africa is one place which I haven’t toured just yet but it is certainly on my to-do list. I’d just like to tell my South African fans that the accent is one of my favourites in the world and I love their fun-loving, free-spirited approach to life. I just want to tell them that they’re amazing fans and I can’t thank them enough for supporting me and being such a beautiful nation. I can’t wait to see you guys soon!

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