SHE is better known these days for sultry selfies and showing off her body in bikinis than releasing catchy songs.
But behind Rita Ora’s bubbly party-girl image lies a businesswoman who has become one of Britain’s wealthiest female stars.
The Sun on Sunday can today reveal the secrets of her success and how, despite only releasing a single album, she has amassed a £16million personal fortune, pulling in an income of almost £4million in the past year alone.
We have found that the 27-year-old is making so much money she has been forced to remove her relatives from their positions as directors at her main company, Ora Multi Services Limited.
Industry expert Mark Mulligan says Rita has raked it in after realising selling records makes peanuts
Mark said: “Rita and the people around her have proven to be very canny operators in the modern era.
“Brand is everything now and she got to grips with that much faster than most other female performers on this side of the Atlantic. Today, only 15 to 20 per cent of an artist’s income comes from the actual music.
“The rest comes from live shows and from endorsements from big brands — and Rita has a lot of them.
“She’s had big-money deals with Adidas, Calvin Klein and Coca-Cola to name a few.
‘If someone gives me money I won’t say no’
“Rita has also made a huge amount of money from touring the world and from promoting herself as an influencer on social media.
“It’s no surprise she is one of the wealthiest female stars in the industry today.”
Seeing Rita sunbathing with her musician boyfriend Andrew Watt on an Italian break last week, you could be forgiven for thinking she has it easy.
But her glamorous Instagram snaps and playful tweets do not tell the full story.
Last year she performed 42 gigs, three times as many as Adele on 14 and almost double the amount of rival pop star Ellie Goulding with 24.
Already this year she has completed close to 40 concerts.
After touring the US, she is due to perform hits including the controversial single Girls, about bisexual love, at the Isle of Wight Festival on Friday.
Two days later she goes to the Summer In The City festival in Dublin.
She has performed a huge number of private gigs, where wealthy fans are believed to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds for her to sing at parties.
Rita advertises on the Classique International Events And Entertainment company website and has been spotted heading to intimate shows in Cannes, France, and Dubai.
Her army of 13.5million Instagram followers turn up at her gigs in droves and are an important part of her empire.
Rita has also modelled lingerie for Tezenis, promoted phones for Samsung, been the face of Calvin Klein and M&S and fronted a £10million advertising campaign for Coca-Cola.
She has even been paid to promote products in videos.
DKNY boss Donna Karan, who signed her to be the face of her My NY fragrance, once said: “If Rita can’t sell it, I don’t know who can.”
Rita herself has said: “If someone gives me money, I’m not going to say no.”
She was a judge on ITV’s The X Factor in 2015, netting her £1.5million, as well as appearing on The Voice and America’s Next Top Model.
She has also appeared in movies including Fifty Shades Freed, which earned her a cool £750,000.
Last month she entered the Sunday Times Rich List for the first time as the 11th richest artist under 30 in Britain.
Rita has clocked up 12 Top Ten singles in Britain, more than any other British female artist.
But beyond Hot Right Now, she has few iconic tracks and her much anticipated second album has yet to be released.
A big reason for this is a bitter falling out with the Roc Nation record label, a dispute that ended up in court.
Rita signed to Roc in 2008 but demanded to be released from her contract seven years later, when she became convinced “sexist” producers were stopping her from putting out her music.
At the same time there were rumours she had come between Roc Nation boss Jay Z and his wife Beyonce.
There were claims she was “Becky with the good hair” in Beyonce’s song about infidelity, Sorry.
Rita won her freedom in 2016 despite the label filing a £1.5million counter-lawsuit for breach of contract.
In 2015, when her lawsuit was filed, more than £1million was wiped from the net assets of her main company.
They had shrunk to £265,457, down from £1.3million the previous year.
But in 2016 she posted net assets of £1.6million and last year the figure was even higher.
The £2.8million her main company received in 2017 was boosted further by the £860,195 her second firm, Ora Live Limited, raked in.
The turnaround is seen as another feather in the cap for Rita’s formidable manager, Sarah Stennett.
The mother-of-three and her “alpha female” team of executives at First Access Entertainment in West London have worked with the star since she was a fresh-faced 17-year-old about to enter the Eurovision Song Contest.
Sarah warned Rita against that move, saying it would ruin her reputation, and the star has never looked back
Rita has previously said of her manager: “She’s got balls, and she’s from Liverpool.
“She speaks her mind and is not afraid of any powerful person in the male-dominated music industry.”
The singer’s decision to drop her relatives from Ora Multi Services Limited in 2016, which has not been previously reported, might be seen as a slap in the face for the tight-knit family that has supported her from the start.
Her dad Besnik, 57, allowed her to perform at his pub in Kilburn, North West London, when she was a teenager.
Mum Vera, 54, is often at her side, while sister Elena, 30, is part of her management team and her brother Don, 21, has been a constant rock.
The family lived in a council flat in Ladbroke Grove, West London, after fleeing persecution in Kosovo when Rita was just a year old.
Each of them was given a ten per cent share in her company in 2009.
But analysts say Rita has had to remove her family as directors, because she is making too much money to keep them on board.
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Tax expert Jim Lee told The Sun on Sunday: “With the amount she is earning now it would look strange if they continued earning 40 per cent of more than £3million — and HMRC might take an interest in what she was doing if she kept them on. You can see her relatives still seem to have a presence in her company but they are no longer directors.
“It just would not be right as she is amassing such a huge fortune.”
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