Rita Ora Talks Chris Brown, New Album, & Ed Sheeran Collaboration

In between rehearsals for her U.S. tour, Rita Ora stopped by Rap-Up HQ. It’s been three years since our last interview and a lot has happened. The British bombshell has gone from rising star to global pop sensation with her own adidas clothing line, endorsement deals with DKNY and Madonna’s Material Girl, and a budding acting career (She’s appeared in Fifty Shades of Grey and Southpaw).

But right now, her main focus is on her U.S. debut album, due later this year. Last week, she premiered the intimate video for her first single, “Body on Me,” featuring Chris Brown.

The two make out in the steamy scenes, but they kept things strictly professional. “It’s definitely the most intimate video I’ve done so far,” she told Rap-Up TV. “Chris is so fun to work with and being friends with someone and working with them, it kinda takes the pressure off, so it made it much easier actually and we were doing our job, we were doing a role, and we just created this concept and we acted out our roles.”

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While she released her album Ora in 2012, she is treating this as her first proper release. “I’m approaching it like it’s my first record ’cause I haven’t necessarily released a worldwide record before,” she said. “It really presents the music I love as a fan of music, from my love of punk to hip-hop to R&B to soul.”

“I made sure this album wasn’t a one-way street,” she added. “It’s about expressing my sexuality, expressing my independence as a female, being really honest with my past and working with only a hand selected group of people.”

One of those people is Ed Sheeran, who penned one of her favorite songs, “Us.” “For me, it’s one of the sweetest, heartwarming, incredible love songs/reality that I’ve ever heard, and it kinda makes me think, ‘Thank God that someone wrote that in a song.'”

In anticipation of the album, Ora will embark on a U.S. tour, starting Aug. 25 in San Francisco. The nine-date trek will make stops in L.A., Las Vegas, Atlanta, Boston, New York, and D.C., wrapping Sept. 17 in Chicago. Tickets are on sale now.