Rita Ora might have lost the war, but she won the battle.
The X Factor U.K. judge is on top right now, and there’s no signs of slowing down. Ora mentored Louisa Johnson, who ended up taking home the win at Sunday’s finale, and come 2016… it’s Ora’s turn to shine.
She’s jumped through hoops for several years to get the forthcoming album out, including the fallout with ex Calvin Harris, who barred her from releasing any of the material they recorded together, and breaking into the U.S. market. However, next year she’ll release the album world-wide (her first U.S. release ever).
“It all started when I was on tour in Europe on my last album,” Ora tells Refinery29 of how the new album came about. “I wanted to just put out new music, and I was, like, talking about being lonely and then finding a boyfriend at the time and being with that person for, like, a year and then slowly splitting up with that person. Basically, it’s life, really.”
It’s hard to believe Ora hasn’t dropped an album in the states yet, considering she’s a household name in Britain with three No. 1s on the U.K. singles chart, but she will. Though, the decision to release the album globally was met with hesitation from her team.
“It’s been seven years, and it has been a bit of a battle,” she says. “With the first record, we didn’t expand to the United States. Label-wise, they said, it wasn’t the right time. I was only 19 or 20, and I was so excited to be making music and performing live. I didn’t know better. But now I do. I told them, ‘Look, I just want to release my album everywhere.’ Everybody thinks that they know best. But I won the battle.”
In 2015, Ora released “Body On Me” alongside Chris Brown and “Poison,” though both failed to make waves in the U.S. One song she hopes to leave an impression is a song titled “Home.”
“It’s about how I wanted to remind my hometown that I’m still here, you know? I’m always in the States and I’m always on the road, and sometimes when you’re physically not here, people don’t think you’re here, you know? But I’m here.”
She adds the new sound has a “darker, more sexual tone to it,” she says. “And I guess it’s more blunt.”