The British singer filed a complaint against Jay Z’s Roc Nation in a California court on Wednesday, claiming the deal she signed with the entertainment company represents “an oppressive recording agreement.”
The starlet signed on with the label back in 2008 when she was 18, making official an arrangement in which she claims Roc Nation garnered “not only the bulk of income from Rita’s record sales, but a sizable portion of her income from endeavors such as live shows, endorsements, sponsorships, acting and merchandise sales.”
Although Jay Z was very “involved” when Ora first signed on, the 26-year-old alleges that the label’s support for her significantly “waned” as the company focused on other ventures like Tidal and its sports management company.
Ora argues that, pursuant to California’s labor laws, “no person can be bound to a personal services contract for more than seven years” and the terms of their agreement have hindered her recording efforts “to the point where she has only been able to record one album in seven years.” The seven-year-anniversary of when Ora signed the contract falls on Dec. 18.
The starlet claims that the lack of backing from Roc Nation has forced her to “self-fund” her promotional TV appearances, recording costs and video projects. This year Ora starred in “Fifty Shades of Grey” and is due to appear in the 2017 sequel. She was also one of the judges on the 12th season of “The X Factor” in the U.K.
Ora asserts in the filing that after Roc Nation left its distribution label partner Sony for Universal in 2013, she was legally obligated to stay with Sony, bogging her in a “political quagmire of dysfunction.” She now says her “relationship with Roc Nation is irrevocably damaged.”
Howard King, the laywer representing Ora, told TheWrap, “Rita is very excited to be moving on with her recording career and is grateful that California law gives her the right to do so. She appreciates that there are lots of great people at Roc Nation, starting with the impresario himself, Jay-Z, but the relationship with the record label has run its course. She’s already hard at work on her new music which she can’t wait to share with her fans. 2016 is going to be an amazing year for her!”