Jay-Z’s latest find steams up the city in summer’s sexiest swimwear
- Last Updated: 7:23 AM, July 8, 2012
- Posted: 9:12 PM, July 7, 2012
Three years ago, London-reared singer Rita Ora was whisked to New York to meet her new “family,” as she now refers to them.
The then 18-year-old was introduced by a music exec to big wigs from the Roc Nation record label. They arranged for her to fly in and meet the patriarch, otherwise known as Jay-Z.
Ora landed in the Big Apple wearing a Run-DMC T-shirt, and hours later strolled, casually dressed, into the meeting of a lifetime.
“The first time I met Jay, I was just so excited,” says Ora as she curls up on a couch in the Dream Downtown Hotel clad in pink Miu Miu printed pants and a gaggle of gold bangles that create a metallic symphony on her twiggy arm.
“I don’t think it gets any better than that, in my eyes. When you’re starting out and you meet someone like that,” she says.
“I just thought that everything was going to happen, and I was so excited he gave me a chance.”
Ora landed a cameo in her boss’ “Young Forever” video and starred in a commercial for the label’s collaboration with Skullcandy headphones.
In February, she released her first single, “How We Do (Party),” which made a splash with its catchy refrain, “Party and Bulls - - t,” taken from a Biggie Smalls song.
The Brit played Europe’s biggest stadium when she toured with Coldplay in May and June, and she is releasing her debut album, “O.R.A.,” later this summer.
All the excitement has led the platinum blonde with her edgy street-meets-high-fashion style to be compared to Hova’s other protégée— Rihanna.
It’s something the songstress seems to take in stride, as she notes the similarities are merely skin deep.
“Yeah, I do get compared to her. It’s funny because she’s very beautiful, so I’m happy about that,” Ora says. “My music is very different. We have completely different personalities, and we’re different people. I think when my album comes out and people get more familiar with my sound, that all will die down.”
And while the hard-partying Rihanna grew up pure island style in Barbados, Ora was born in war-torn Kosovo. Her parents fled to London within a year of her birth.
Though she credits her psychiatrist mother as “living in her dreams” with her, it was her pub-owner father who unwittingly became her first musical benefactor.
Ora spent her childhood listening to his music collection of everything from Celine Dion to BB King. And at 13, she convinced him to let her sing in one of his watering holes.
She began performing around London while working in a sneaker shop on the weekends.
In 2007, she gained small notoriety after collaborating with British R&B singer Craig David on “Awkward.”
But it wasn’t until her fateful meeting that she was given a golden ticket into the world of Jay-Z — including access to some of her musical heroes.
“The good thing is that Roc Nation is a family, so, of course, I’ve met [Beyoncé] a lot. She was one of my idols growing up,” says Ora.
“[Beyoncé] said, ‘Just remember what you’re doing this for. Keep proud and own it.’ ”
It isn’t just the world of music that opened up for the rabid sneakerhead, whose collection runs 150 deep.
She scored a pair of the coveted Kanye West-designed Nike Yeezy 2s without having to camp out for days when they were released in early June.
“I used to wait in line for Jordans. That’s how much of a freak I was,” says Ora. “I wore [the Nikes] yesterday with a Chanel dress, and everyone was like, ‘Wow, that actually works.’ ”
When asked what Coco Chanel would think of the pairing, Ora chuckles and her voice goes raspy. “I don’t even want to know. I just put the trainers on and left the house. I’m very spontaneous. I go with my gut.”
And her gut as of late has been leading her to the world of high fashion.
“I’ve loved music. It was my first everything, but fashion and clothes is just the next step,” Ora says.
And as for her dream venue to play?
“Definitely Madison Square Garden,” says Ora, who has clearly learned to play to her audience.