Why Rita Ora has perfected the run up to sophomore album Phoenix

Earlier today CelebMix brought you the news of Rita Ora smashing another British chart record. It’s the latest achievement in a year and a half of relentless work that has, to some extent, flown much under the radar. 

By no means is Rita Ora just ‘one to watch’ or and underdog in pop music. Her records, ability to sell out arenas and catalogue of hits all speak for themselves. The popstar’s sophomore album, Phoenix, is out on November 23rd and the anticipation is high. However, in a month where Cardi B’s antics, Lady Gaga’s return to the spotlight and the start of Little Mix’s new era is making the headlines, pop fans should also take time to recognise how cleverly Rita Ora has played her album run up.

It’s been over six years since the ‘Anywhere’ singer released her debut album, Ora. That riotous record had unprecedented success for the star, featuring hit singles such as ‘R.I.P.’ and ‘How We Do’, but a fall-out with record label Roc Nation stopped Ora being able to put out a follow-up album. During that period she became the face of The X Factor and America’s Next Top Model, keeping herself busy whilst waiting for her contract to end before being able to move on. It was a distancing from music that may have brought in the bucks, but led to many forgetting that Ora is a Grammy-nominated artist with a number one album and number one singles. You’d therefore forgive her for wanting to rush out music as soon as she had signed with Atlantic Records in 2016…

…That couldn’t be further from the case. In a time where the drawn-out album release is becoming more and more frowned upon, Ora has breathed new life into that method. Her first single of the new era came in the form of ‘Your Song’ in May 2017, reaching the UK Top 10, before ‘Anywhere’ last October, which hit number two. ‘For You’, from Fifty Shades Freed, the feature-heavy ‘Girls’ and recent smash ‘Let You Love Me’ followed suit with chart success. Ora has taken her time to cement the fact that above all, she is a singer.

And even with all these singles, there remains eight unreleased tracks to come when Phoenix hits streaming services in late November. The 27-year-old has struck the fine balance between releasing the tracks and keeping an air of mystery. Just how those eight tracks will sound is anyone’s guess and leaves a bubbling excitement amongst her Ritabots.

Whilst ‘Girls’ and ‘Anywhere’ are fun-filled pop tracks, the likes of ‘Let You Love Me’ and ‘For You’ do come more from the heart. Ora has also previewed ‘Summerlove’, a Rudimental-feature that has her next number 1 written all over it, and ‘Soul Survivor’, by far her most personal track to date following her fight with Roc Nation, during her live shows. This magazine cover-ready, pop girly is certainly a lot more than just that. She has stories to tell.

Those live shows have also been executed perfectly. Rita Ora’s ‘The Girls Tour’ featured over 20 arena dates, as well as over 20 festivals across Europe. It allowed Ora to remind countless music fans that she is back, and she is singing. The sets were polished, easily filling 90 minutes with pretty much her singles alone. After five years off the road since the Radioactive tour, the popstar had no intention of her second album’s follow-up tour to be starting cold. When the 2019 European tour dates are eventually announced, Ora’s live set is already firing on all cylinders.

It’s a run-up to Phoenix that has been calculated to perfection. This isn’t an artist trying to sponge off fans, it’s an artist aligning everything so that the album comes out with a bang. The scariest thing? Amongst all the singles, shows and promo… the album isn’t even out yet. Come November 23rd, Rita Ora is set to take the pop industry by storm.

Are you excited? Let us know @CelebMix on Twitter.

 

Written by Toby Bryant

Student journalist: music, sport, culture and just about anything in-between… Have worked for The Courier, NME, Daily Mirror, FourFourTwo & British Rowing, amongst others.
@toby_bryant_ on Instagram and Twitter.