Dubai-bound Rita Ora speaks about 'big 2012'.
It's the time of year when many of us are looking back on what we've achieved over the last 12 months. For British/Yugoslavian star Rita Ora, 2012 has been a whirlwind year.
Her debut album, 'Ora', went straight to number one in the UK after it was released in August. She also became the first artist of the year to have three consecutive number one hits in the UK Singles Chart.
Rita Ora has had a record-breaking year, and will be playing the New Year's Eve gig at Sandance this year - plus a list of all the top acts to be found in Dubai for New Year's Eve
Now after working with an array of big names, from will.i.am and Kanye West to Drake, she will be rounding off 2012 with clubbers in the UAE as she headlines Sandance at Nasimi Beach.
The 22-year-old star explained to 7DAYS how she's been hitting the high notes for years - her parents first witnessed their daughter's talent when they saw her on stage as a child.
"When I was Cinderella in my school play at seven, the teacher said to my parents, 'You should take her to stage school!'" Rita says. "My parents were very encouraging all along the way - they told me I could do whatever I wanted. They are very proud now and they know this isn't even the tip of the iceberg of my potential."
She may only have turned 22 last month but the Yugoslavia-born star has been involved in the industry for five years. After working with British star Craig David when she was just 17, Rita was signed to Jay Z's record label Roc Nation when she was 19 after
she caught his attention with a cameo appearance on his 'Young Forever' video.
But working with some of the biggest stars in the music world has never phased the young star. She explains: "I was a fan of both of them (Craig David and Jay Z). They are both amazing so of course when I saw them I was a bit shocked but flattered they gave me these chances.
"I was so blessed on my first album to work with some amazing people. I'd love to work with Pink and Gwen Stefani as well." Rita says she is keen for people get to know her voice and realise who she is when they hear a new song. However, with her bright blond hair and red lips, it's clear that image is also important to her.
She explains: "I think red lipstick and blond hair has worked for so many years - it's classic and striking. I also love wearing amazing clothes, they can make a woman feel invincible. I think my style is quite masculine - London rock and roll cool.
"Gwen Stefani, Bianca Jagger and Daphne Guinness are all big inspirations to me. My mother and grandmother are also really glamorous." Remaining tight-lipped when it comes to her performance on Nasimi Beach in a few days, Rita says fans can expect to have a good time. She adds: "They can expect an amazing show. I don't want to reveal too much but I will have a lot of energy.
I have a lot of friends in town also so you never
know who's going to jump up!" Sounds fun!
ALSO PLAYING AT SANDANCE...
>> Ellie Goulding's soft melodies may have impressed Britain's Prince William enough for him to invite her to sing at his wedding, but you can expect a harder, dance-based sound from the Brit star in Dubai.
>> Described as one of the first true 'Superstar DJs', Grammy award winner and former 'World Number One' DJ Paul Van Dyk will be dropping trance and electronic beats.
>> A Sandance veteran, BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe's sets always go down a storm in the sand. Expect an eclectic mix from the New Zealand music man.
>> Be sure to get your dancing shoes at the ready for American house DJ Roger Sanchez's set. The Grammy award winner played Sandance last New Year's Eve as well.
NEW YEAR ROUND-UP
>> If you like your music with a harder edge, hip hop legend Snoop Dogg plays the Atelier festival at Meydan.
Also performing on the night will be Faithless (below), Gorillaz Sound System, Armand Van Helden, Inna and September. Tickets are available from all the usual outlets. See www.the atelierworld.com
>> Urban music lovers in the capital can check out DJ Scottie B when he plays Etoiles on New Year's Eve. The British star has DJ'd for Jay Z, Tinie Tempah and Chris Brown in the past. There will also be aerial performers, fire breathers and sword swallowers also performing on the night. For tickets or more information, call 02 690 8960.
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