Inspiration can come from anywhere and is often found in the most unexpected places. For Rita Ora, the singer behind this summer’s party jam “How We Do (Party),” inspiration came in a sad song — even though she has personally vowed not to write or record any slow tempo tear jerkers.

So when she covered the most depressing song of the summer, Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know,” earlier this year, it was unexpected to say the least. She told CBS Local how it came about.

“In London we have this thing called Radio 1 Live Lounge, which means you can cover anything you want — usually things people don’t expect you to cover. I did “Somebody That I Used To Know” and it went down really well because I did a…one day as a guest judge on X-Factor back in London, someone came out and said, ‘I was listening to your version all the time.'”

Ora has also covered Jay-Z and Kanye West’s track “No Church In The Wild” for Radio 1 and put her spin on an acoustic adaptation of Outkast’s “Hey Ya.” But her Goyte cover really struck a chord, being so out of character musically.

“I thought I was allowed to do that because I didn’t write it, and it didn’t come from me. I thought I was just being a fan and I wanted to sing it. I think that song’s incredible…It’s nice to know that you can still inspire people by a song that isn’t yours. It was just because I was a fan, really.”

Ora was recently part of another unexpected musical collaboration when she opened for Coldplay on their European tour. Coldplay are known for inviting several opening acts to tackle different legs of their tours and they certainly don’t feel beholden to stick to any particular genre. Their openers have included the Flaming Lips, the Ting Tings, Frank Ocean and Snow Patrol among many others.

“I learned a lot about cultures as well and how people respond to each other. The one thing I can say is that if your energy is up, every human being is the same. I feel like they’re all going to enjoy it for the simple fact that the energy was up. I think I got them ready for Coldplay and it worked really, really well.”

After that experience, Ora says she quickly got used to life on the big stage.

“The funny thing is I actually am [more] scared of smaller stages than of big stages because, to tell you the truth, I’ve only done three shows [as] intimate gigs and then I went straight to the stadiums with Coldplay. I can tell you about stage shows, but I can’t tell you about intimate gigs which is really weird because it’s usually the other way around. I feel like I’m kind of lucky.”

-Courtney E. Smith, CBS Local


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