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ARTICLE MIGUEL FIGUEROA

PHOTOGRAPHY TYRONE LEBON

STYLIST ANNA TREVELYAN

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Makeup Shinobu using M.A.C Cosmetics (CLM Hair & Make-up)Hair Paul Percival using Percy & Reed Hair (Phamous Artists)Manicure Rebecca Jade Wilson (Jed Root Inc.)Photo Assistants Joe Ridout and Ellie DowseStylist Assistant Tom Eerebout

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THE VIDEOS: TOMORROWWORLD LEGENDS OF PUNK K IS FOR KYLIE HEROES: DOLLY PARTON

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PHOTOGRAPHY TYRONE LEBON
FASHION ANNA TREVELYAN
TEXT MIGUEL FIGUEROA

BORN IN KOSOVO AND RAISED IN LONDON, THE NEWEST ADDITION TO THE ROC NATION FAMILY IS BRINGING BACK '90S-CHARGED, PARTY-FUELED ANTHEMS. HERE, JAY-Z PROTÉGÉ RITA ORA DISHES ON GETTING ADVICE FROM BEYONCÉ AND HER LOVE OF ICONIC BAND TLC

“The ’90s had that bounce that I miss, and I want to bring it back,” says pop star Rita Ora, sipping a Bloody Mary in a booth at New York’s Soho House. The 21-year-old, who started performing at the tender age of 14, delivers this statement without a trace of irony, though she would have been barely learning to walk, never mind dance, during hip-hop’s most expansive period. But to take one look at her—with the signature bleach blonde ringlets, laid-back attitude, and Salt-N-Pepa-inspired attire (knock-around hoops, gold jewelry, Billionaire Boys Club tee, and floral mini-shorts)—it is clear that although she’s young, she’s sampled the vibe perfectly. “I love TLC and how comfortable they looked,” she says. “And we have so many ethnicities [in London], it all jumbles up and it’s really cool and beautiful.”Ora’s rise to stardom got off to a rocky start when her family fled ethnic persecution in Kosovo, before she was two years old. They settled in London and she began singing in bars as a teenager. Eventually she was discovered by Roc Nation co-founder and president, Jay Brown, who brought her directly to Jay-Z. “I met him when I was 18,” she says of the life-altering encounter. “I was in New York and the next day I had a record deal.” For the past three years the singer has remained under Jay-Z’s wing. The resulting album drops this month and is fittingly entitled Ora, which means “time” in her native Albanian tongue.“I’m just really excited that my music is out,” she says. “There were moments when I was frustrated and wanted to put everything out. I have an amazing team that told me to be patient.” The patience has paid off: in addition to the impending release, Ora has already scored a number one hit in the U.K. with the song “R.I.P.,” toured with Coldplay as their opening act, and been blessed by Beyoncé. “[She] said, ‘Believe in what you’re singing, because the public isn’t stupid. They want the truth, and they want to see you.’”Not one to mess about, Hova enlisted a who’s who of producers to collaborate with Ora on her debut, Will.I.Am, Diplo, and Drake among them. Not surprisingly, her ongoing success is not totally devoid of controversy­—a wardrobe mishap here, a rumored romance with a Kardashian (Rob) there—but the artist takes it all in stride. “I’m a firm believer in energy, taking each day as it comes,” she says with a Zenlike calm. “I’ve got a plan.”As part of that plan Ora commands her growing audience, in an homage to the Notorious B.I.G., to “party and bullshit,” which is perfectly in tune with her fun-loving—and determined—demeanor. “Those two words sum up a great scene,” she says with a laugh about her newest hit song.Ora Is Available From Roc Nation This Fall

EXTRA CREDITS

Makeup Shinobu using M.A.C Cosmetics (CLM Hair & Make-up)Hair Paul Percival using Percy & Reed Hair (Phamous Artists)Manicure Rebecca Jade Wilson (Jed Root Inc.)Photo Assistants Joe Ridout and Ellie DowseStylist Assistant Tom Eerebout

MORE TO LOVE

THE VIDEOS: TOMORROWWORLD LEGENDS OF PUNK K IS FOR KYLIE HEROES: DOLLY PARTON
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