And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #278: Iggy Azalea (and possibly Miley Cyrus) v Rita Ora, kind of Charli XCX (and possibly Miley Cyrus)

By | Published on Friday 16 October 2015

Rita Ora

It was a late summer evening, the cold gently grasping for something to cling onto but not quite finding what it needed. A teenage Rita Ora sat alone on a park bench, quietly lost in her own thoughts. She looked up as a leaf brushed past her, carried on the breeze. As her focus shifted beyond the fluttering leaf, her gaze met with that of a nun, who was passing through the park on her way to a coffee morning to raise much needed funds for the repair of a church roof.

“Hey sister”, she thought to herself, half mouthing the words. The nun frowned as she attempted to work out what Ora was saying, if indeed she had said anything at all. Choosing not to respond, the holy lady quickened her pace.

Sensing the slightly awkward atmosphere she had created, Ora watched the nun pass, thinking to herself, “Go sister”.

Then, within an instant, the nun melted from view and Ora was lost in her own mind once more. Why did the events that had just occurred resonate so strongly? This was bigger than a single interaction between two women in a park. What was it?

“Hey sister”, she said again, letting the words confidently fall from her lips. “Go sister”.

“Hey sister”, she repeated. “Go sister”.

“Hey sister, go sister, soul sister, flow sister”.

Suddenly memories of years past came flooding back, of how she had sat transfixed by a music video – one particular music video – which she watched over and over again on MTV, back in those dim and distant days when MTV showed music videos. How long ago those times seemed now. And yet, such vivid memories. The deep reds and the dark blacks. The outfits. The feather boas. Christina Aguilera. Lil Kim. Pink. Missy Elliott. And, of course, Mya. Of course Mya. Of course.

She stood.

“Hey sister”.

“Go sister”.

“Soul sister”.

“Flow sister”.

At once Ora could see her past and future all at the same time. She knew what she must do. She knew her purpose in life.

“I must record a new version of ‘Lady Marmalade’ with a selection of the top pop singers of the day”, she screamed at the sky. “This is my destiny!”

But how? How could she make this new life goal a reality? From that simple park bench, a film studio half-heartedly dressed up to look like the Moulin Rouge suddenly seemed so far away.

“No”, she stopped herself. “I must not be disheartened. I must not let myself give up. I can do this. I will do this. Nothing can stop me if only I believe in myself”.

And so she began putting herself through a rigorous routine of singing lessons and auditions. Honing her craft, evolving her art, building her network, until she finally found herself working with many of the popular singers of the day.

But she was still only a backing singer. That simply wouldn’t do. “How will I ever realise my dream of recording a new version of ‘Lady Marmalade’ with the top pop singers of the day, if I’m forever just a backing vocalist?” she sobbed to herself each night. In desperation, she entered a competition to represent the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the most magnificent Eurovision Song Contest. Except, just then, in a rare moment of clarity, she thought “no”, this is a trap, this is not the route to go in achieving my dream. So she withdrew, took a step back and paused for thought.

That competition was eventually won by a Miss Jade Ewen, who then came fifth in the big song competition and went on to join the Sugababes. Confirming, surely, that Ora’s snap decision had been a sound one. Though it probably didn’t seem that way at the time. Or for some time to come. Because a whole three years went by before Ora scored the all important breakthrough in realising her ‘Lady Marmalade’ ambitions: a gig providing lead vocals on DJ Fresh’s ‘Hot Right Now’.

Then, at that most marvellous of moments, things began to click. Though she knew not to rush; the dream might now be in sight, but you need patience, dear Rita, you’ve come too high to now fall. So what if you’ve signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation pop powerhouse, don’t rush, and don’t reveal your true intentions too soon. Play the game and remember the golden rule: pop stardom first, dream fulfilment later.

And so for years Rita worked hard while maintained the secret of her actual intent. She made music, she became a fixture in the tabloid gossip columns, she judged on ‘The X-Factor’, and even sullied herself a little by working on ‘The Voice’, just to be sure that her name and face would be known to each and everyone; so that there was a little bit in Rita in every human’s consciousness, because then, and only then, could that ‘Lady Marmalade’ dream become a fully fledged reality.

Then that glorious day finally came. The sun rose. And The Sun called. “It’s always been my goal to create another ‘Lady Marmalade'”, she told an attentive tabloid hack, her voice quivering ever so slightly at the thought of the power these words now held. “I’m trying to round up the troops. I think it would be me, Miley [Cyrus], Charli XCX – she’d be fun – and Iggy [Azalea]”.

And so it came to pass. The word was out. The game was on. The cogs were turning. The journey was ending. The crucial components were falling into place. “Ummm I’m down” tweeted Charli XCX.

Yes, Charli XCX was down. That’s half the line-up already in place. Could this really be happening? What had previously been a mere dream – held silently within Rita Ora’s heart for ten long years – suddenly seemed so real. She paused and thought of that park bench for a moment, and of the nun who had inspired her awakening. “I wonder what that nun’s doing now?” she pondered. And then she thought of Christina Aguilera. And Lil Kim. And Pink. And Missy Elliott. And, of course, Mya. Of course Mya. Of course.

Then a new whisper carried on the wind, like the leaf that had blown past her face all those many years ago. Was it the nun returning, speaking words of wisdom from beyond the grave? Because the nun’s dead now. Did I mention that? Dead, dead, dead. Just like Rita’s dream.

“Please leave me out of the whole ‘Lady Marmalade’ conversation”, tweeted Iggy Azalea. “I have nothing to do with Rita’s ideas and agree it should be left alone. Thanks”.

Rita stared at that single tweet glaring out of her tightly held phone, and kept staring until the phone’s battery died. She must have read those tweeted words a thousand times, desperately hoping that she’d made a mistake, that there was some other way to interpret that message, or that perhaps the words might magically change. Because her idea had seemed so magical for all those years. Yet that dream-shattering, life-destroying, purpose-removing tweet remained.

Then Charli XCX deleted her tweet.

And Miley Cyrus never even said a word.

The dream was dead.

Hey sister.

Go sister.

Soul sister.

No sister.