Ora is close in looks and singing style to the Barbadian hitmaker. It’s not unheard of for record labels to mothball an artist to limit competition.
While he was president of Def Jam Recordings, Jay Z personally signed Rihanna after an audition. She has long been considered his protege.
Her debut album, Music of the Sun in 2005 and sophomore effort A Girl Like Me the following year both reached the top ten on the US album charts.
They were the beginning of an unprecedented string of seven albums in seven years, making her one of Jay Z’s most productive and lucrative artists.
In October 2010, Rihanna left Def Jam and joined Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Management.
Ora released her debut studio album, Ora, in 2012. It hit No. 1 on the UK album charts. Rihanna released her last studio album Unapologetic the same year before going on an extended hiatus.
Ora has been bottled up ever since.
Now the Barbadian singer is set to release her eighth album, Anti, according to Billboard.
In May a year ago, Ora released “I Will Never Let You Down,” billed then as the lead single off her second studio album. It hit No. 1 in the UK. This past June, she released “Poison” and claimed it would be the first single from the album.
But her album has yet to materialize.
Although it’s impossible to know for sure, her album could have been delayed to clear the field for Rihanna’s.
In her lawsuit, filed yesterday (Dec. 17) in Los Angeles Superior Court, she’s attempting to use a California law known as the “seven-year rule” to break her contract.
‘Rita’s relationship with Roc Nation is irrevocably damaged,” according to court papers examined by the BBC.
“Fortunately for Rita, the California legislature had the foresight to protect its artists from the sorts of vicissitudes she’s experienced with Roc Nation,” they state.
Ora claims the record label has suffered from a “revolving door of executives” and a diversification of its interests into other endeavors, such as Jay Z’s streaming service Tidal.
“Rita’s remaining supporters at the label left or moved on to other activities, to the point where she no longer had a relationship with anyone at the company,” the suit states.
Using the so-called “seven-year rule” to break a contract was first established in 1944 by actress Olivia De Havilland. She successfully sued to break her contract with movie studio Warner Bros.
Roc Nation was described in court papers as a “diminished” record label with “only a handful of admittedly worthy heritage superstar artists.”
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