November 26, 1990
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The Sylvia Young Theatre School has proved a successful training ground for a number of actors and musicians in the U.K., including teen actress turned pop superstar Rita Ora. Before becoming more famous as a singer, as a teenager she earned acting credits including the TV drama series "The Brief" (ITV, 2004-05) and the crime thriller "Spivs" (2004). However, music was her first love and she started performing at open mic nights across London while supplying guest vocals on dance tracks including Craig David's "Awkward" and Tinchy Strider's "Where's Your Love." During this period, she auditioned for "Your Country Needs You" (BBC, 2009) in a bid to become the UK's entry in the upcoming Eurovision song contest, but withdrew from the series as she didn't think it was the right fit for her urban style. Ora's powerful vocals brought her to the attention of Jay-Z's Roc Nation label, to which she signed in 2009, making cameos in videos for both Jay-Z and Drake. However it would be another few years before her real breakthrough working with various British drum & bass and dubstep artists. First, Ora provided lead vocals on DJ Fresh's "Hot Right Now," which topped the U.K. charts in 2012, swiftly followed by her debut single "RIP," produced by the hitmaking team of Chase & Status, and "How We Do (Party)," both of which also hit the number one spot on the U.K. chart. On release her debut album Ora similarly went straight to the top of the charts. Rapidly becoming a household name in the U.K., she continued to make inroads in the States including a slot at Jay-Z's Made in America festival in 2012 and a cameo in the thriller "Fast & Furious 6" (2013). Ora started working with Scottish producer and DJ Calvin Harris; they became a couple, before splitting in June 2014 which contributed to a delay for her much anticipated second album. Ora further raised her global profile with a guest spot on Iggy Azalea's 2014 hit single "Black Widow" and a mentoring role on reality singing competition "The Voice UK" (BBC, 2012-). She returned to acting with a role in the film adaptation of best-seller "50 Shades of Grey" (2015).