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May 11, 2018 12:05 AM

Rita Ora has returned with a sexy summer jam!

Friday at midnight, the British chanteuse dropped her catchy new single “Girls,” which features a star-studded roster of feature guests: Cardi B, Bebe Rexha and Charli XCX.

“Sometimes I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls / Red wine, I just wanna kiss girls, girls girls,” Ora, 27, and the ladies sing on the chorus of the song, which sounds like an empowering bi-curious anthem.

And in her opening verse, Ora appears to hint at her own sexuality, when she sings: “I am excited, I’m open-minded / I’m 50/50, and I’m never gonna hide it / You should know.”

Rita Ora
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

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Hours before the release of “Girls,” Ora opened up to PEOPLE about the song, her own sexuality — and how she was inspired by Katy Perry!

Says Ora: “It’s time for the girl-power, baby!”

“Girls” such an all-star collaboration. How did it start out, and how did you get everyone onboard?

I wrote this song, like, two years ago in London with my team, and I actually didn’t think that much of it. I knew it was a vibe when I first got it, but I never thought it was going to become a song that all my peers and my fellow musicians — the girls on the record — really wanted to jump on. So I kind of left it for a bit.

Then it got into Cardi’s hands, and she loved it, and she was actually the first person to put a verse on it. I was like, “Wow, okay, this is really cool; I think this is going somewhere.” Obviously I’m really good friends with Charli, and I played it for her and was like, “You know, I’d love if you just jumped on this song.” And she was like, “Oh my god, Rita, this is such a f—ing smash, and it’s so much fun.” Charli’s always really optimistic and outspoken, so I said, “All right, cool, do you wanna jump on it?” So she jumped on it.

Then Bebe was the last person to jump on it because I really wanted to work with her. We’re from the same country [Editor’s note: Both Ora and Rexha have Albanian roots], and we’ve always tried to get in together to write a record because she’s such a great songwriter. She actually came in and just killed her version, and I kept her on it.

It really ended up naturally being four hot chicks and a real natural thing. But I definitely had the vision — I did have this vision of wanting to bring these powerful women together; they’re powerful in their own way, and none of them are similar, and I really liked that.

You wanted to bring these powerful women together. What was it like working with them behind the scenes?

It was crazy. None of us were ever in the actual studio together because everybody was all over the place. Everybody was definitely super eager to finish their versions.

I got the mixes going and the music video — everybody shot them separately and the only time we had to shoot Cardi was literally the day after the Met Gala, so I just got a green screen in my hotel room and was like, “Cardi, let’s do this.” She came in, and we did it in half an hour. Literally. It was super fun. But one day we’ll all be in the same room at the same time, for sure.

What message do you hope people take away from the song?

I think, obviously, the song is very impactful in its own way. It definitely has a point. For me, I always looked at this song as a real gender-fluid freedom record. I never looked at it as, “Only females can listen to it” or “Only males can listen to it”: It’s for everybody.

It really represents freedom and the chance to be what you want to be — and there being no judgment and just living your life as you want to live it. That’s what this song represents to me every time I hear it.

 

It was really inspired by one of my favorite songs: “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry. That was the first song anyone heard of Katy Perry’s, and it was just such a statement; it was so fun. I wanted to do something that was in that lane.

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One of the lyrics that really stuck out to me was in your opening verse: “I’m open-minded / I’m 50/50, and I’m never gonna hide it.”

[Laughs]

For you, personally, were you trying to share something with your fans about your own sexuality?

I knew people were going to look into it like that. I definitely said it because I can — and it was one of those things where, if I was 50/50…I’m not saying I’m “70/30.” … “I’m 50/50, and I’m not gonna hide it.” I’m not hiding what I am, who I am, if I wanna do this, if I wanna do that. That’s just how it’s gonna be.

For me and my career, this is definitely the most open-booked I’ve ever been, if that’s a word. I’m definitely an open book with this record, and I’m really proud of the support I’ve got with my fellow collaborators.

Would you consider yourself bisexual or fluid?

I think the way…If people look at it like that, it’s very narrow-minded, and I don’t think that’s what this record is. I don’t think that that even matters. Yeah.

Are you hopeful this song becomes a bisexual anthem?

Definitely. I definitely want it to feel like it’s an anthem to somebody. I want there to be a sense of freedom for anyone who listens to it. So I’ll take it!

Looking forward to your next album, how does “Girls” fit into that when it comes to the sound and the writing?

I think you start seeing a little pattern between “Your Song” and “Anywhere” and “Girls.” I love pop music; it’s a pop album. It’s full of different ups and downs. It’s just gonna be a really great pop record, and I hope you guys enjoy it and have fun listening to it.

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