Although her first single, the upbeat “How We Do (Party),” may not be the best showcase for her voice, Rita Ora can definitely sing. And unlike many other pop stars today, she needs no electronic enhancement.
That amazing voice was put on perfect display when she made a stop at 102 JAMZ for a short acoustic session recently. One audience member exuberantly praised her rich and raspy vocals and wanted to know what vocalists she looked to for inspiration. Somewhat surprisingly, the first vocal diva that came to her mind was Canadian songstress Celine Dion.
“See, I love music so much before I even made music, I just loved it,” Ora gushed. “I kind of went all over the globe and there’s artists that people wouldn’t even think I would listen to. Like, for example, Celine Dion is one of my vocal inspirations. Her vocally is incredible.”
While the obvious contemporary divas such as Beyonce and fellow Brits Adele and Amy Winehouse made the list, there were plenty of old school musical legends she also found influential.
“And then there would be like the divas, like Aretha Franklin,” Ora continued. “And I love Janis Joplin’s kind of grit. She would literally like smoke a cigarette while singing notes that I’d never even heard of on stage. And Prince, even though I would never be able to sing like Prince.”
While her influences are numerous, Ora explains that what she has taken away most from her favorite artists is their authenticity. “It’s just to do about the honesty of the track and the music and how real it is to you,” she explained. “For example, Gwen Stefani, right? We all know that she’s not trying to be a Whitney Houston. She’s not trying to be like a Luther Vandross or something like that but she’s literally just kind of doing her thing and it really works. It’s more about people just doing their thing that really kind of inspired me the most.”
Listen as Rita Ora runs down her complete list of musical influences.