By every metric of global pop stardom that exists, Rita Ora has arrived.
And yet, here in the States, she is still somehow positioned as an up-and-comer, someone who the industry has been trying to “make happen” for years now. There are memes about it: One features Mean Girls
' Regina George posing with the words, “Stop Trying to Make Rita Ora Happen
.” Another involves users on Twitter responding “Who?” every time Ora’s name pops up in the press. The masses can be cruel to pop stars, and they are decidedly flippant when it comes to Ora. Her latest singles, “Poison” and “Body on Me
” (the latter featuring Chris Brown) reached No. 3 and 22 on the U.K. charts, respectively. But they didn’t chart in the States. She is known everywhere, seen everywhere, but not yet appreciated everywhere as an artist.
If the new album changes that, it will have been a long time coming. In 2009, Ora, then just 17, auditioned for Eurovision: Your Country Needs You
, but soon pulled out because she didn’t want to earn her fame via a reality show. She continued to sing in her father’s pub and hang around London studios, recording guest verses on songs by U.K. artists Craig David and Tinchy Stryder. She made a few demos, sent them around, and started posting them to the web.