I am speaking to Ora via Skype, because I am in New York and she is London, lounging in her posh house. She lives in a northwestern neighborhood called Kilburn, which is not too far from where she grew up, in a bohemian enclave near Portobello Road. The neighborhood has gentrified quite a bit since Ora was a little girl and would sing in her father’s pub, The Queen’s Arms, strengthening her rich mezzo-soprano while patrons got tipsy on shandies and devoured meat pies.
Though Ora, now 25, was born in Kosovo, she moved to London at age 1, when her parents fled the persecution of Albanians. (She still speaks fluent Albanian and visits Kosovo often, returning as a kind of shiny folk hero.) She says she considers Britain, where she is very famous, to be her spiritual home. She even put a song about it on her new record. “It’s called ‘Home,’” she says. “And it’s about how I wanted to remind my hometown that I’m still here, you know? I’m always in the States and I’m always on the road, and sometimes when you’re physically not here, people don’t think you’re here, you know? But I’m here.”
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