Rita Ora made a triumphant return to Hong Kong on January 18th as part of the weeklong series, Billboard Radio China Live in Hong Kong 2018. The 27-year-old British singer has performed in the city once before, at a private event in Central, the city’s downtown business district, but it was two and a half years later that fans in the city finally got a chance to see Ora perform a live public show. With Taiwan-based rapper/singer J. Sheon opening, fans were blown away by a performance that combined classic hits along with some of the latest offerings from Rita. It was a night of accolade as well as the singer walked away with the Billboard Radio China award Top International Artist 2017. Prior to the show, Billboard Radio China sat down with Rita Ora to discuss everything from her live show to her eagerly anticipated sophomore album.
It’s been a long time since the release of Rita Ora’s 2012 debut album, Ora. While the singer has kept herself in the public eye through roles on The X Factor, The Voice UK, America’s Next Top Model, and the 50 Shades of Grey series, it’s only been in the last six months that fans have started getting new singles. Following a legal battle with former label Roc Nation, Rita is finally putting out a new album and spoke a little about what fans can expect from that work. “I had a bit of an issue, publicly, with putting out music which got me really, really, kind of devastated and I was really down and then I was really angry and then I was really frustrated and then I was really happy that it was happening. It was all these emotions, so my album is definitely a rollercoaster of emotions. … I’m still crazy, like I still love to go out and party. Everyone who knows me knows that I love to have a good time, but I wanted this album to also be [something] you could put on and vibe with your friends. There’s a lot of ups and downs, but I’m very, very proud of it.”
Talking about some of her latest releases and where they fall into the musical landscape, Rita said, “Your Song, for me, was an introduction … to how good it can feel to make any moment your own. So, I don’t want to hear sad songs any more, I don’t want to be in the past, I want to only hear love songs, let’s keep this train moving. Anywhere is more of a heartwrencher, but I love an EDM drop and I think you can see that with my music, it definitely has taken it to this kind of electronic music naturally. Moving forward to Lonely Together, which is the song I released with Avicii, I wanted to put out a song that I loved that was in the EDM world. I was always, always wanting to put out loads of music and For You, which is another song I’ve just released for the 50 Shades Freed soundtrack with Liam Payne, I just said to myself ‘2018, I’m just going to put out as much music as I can’.”
With the first month of January coming to a close, there’s a lot planned for Rita Ora over the course of this year. “2018 is very fun, because we’ve got the film coming out in February, Valentines Day, 50 Shades freed. We’ve got the song available now which we’ll be performing everywhere. I’ve got my album coming out, probably after March. That’s my aim because enough is enough now, it’s time for new music. My tour starts in May so I’ll be going all around Europe. I have a surprise tour announcement that comes out in the summertime, which I’m very excited to do. Basically, it’s just Rita music everywhere and everything else. It’s just like, I’m back, bitches.” Talking about coming back through Asia again, Rita said, “I’d love to come and do some popup shows, all over Asia. Every time I come here I get the most love and the most respect and everyone sings the songs and I just love it out here.”
With a jaw-dropping outfit and an amazing physically demanding song and dance routine, Rita Ora blew the roof off of the circus tent that held together Billboard Radio Live this year. With just 4 backing dancers, the audience witnessed a spectacle of music and showmanship unprecedented in that space. You can check out the full interview and find out more about Rita’s performance at Billboard Radio China.
Photo by Vincent Chen