MANBEK AND RITA ORA RELEASE JOINT EP ‘BANG’
Critically acclaimed GRAMMY nominated Kazakh DJ and record producer Imanbek and global superstar Rita Ora release their joint EP Bang. The four track EP is accompanied by a short film which premiered on YouTube and MTV. The new EP represents a dramatic new chapter in Rita’s remarkably accomplished career that sees her return to her roots. It’s a recipe for club glory with its gritty dance influence and the kind of free-roaming rubbery bass lines that will have you dancing relentlessly.
This project is not only a global collaboration between five incredible artists but also a celebration of Rita’s Eastern European heritage.
Directed by Jasmine Loignon, the short film shot in Bulgaria, incorporates three songs from Bang into a fantasy wonderland. The film embraces both historical landmarks, such as the Buzludzha monument, and the natural scenic beauty of the country to tell the story. The landscape pays tribute to the Eastern European roots of both Rita and Imanbek, and also features Rita wearing a traditional Albanian outfit which was designed and hand made in Kosovo by designer Valdrin Sahiti.
“Every detail of the film was meticulously planned to create something that feels so true to my cultural background,” says Rita. “Shooting the film in Bulgaria gave me a chance to showcase the incredible architecture, epic scenery and historic landmarks – I’m so excited to be able to share the beauty of this part of the world and just pay homage to my history.”
Director Jasmine Loignon states, “Working with Rita was amazing on every front. There was a real will to push into a different territory she hadn’t explored before, and it was a chance I wasn’t going to pass up. With this film, we wanted to create a cinematic pop journey that felt different at every beat, rich in layers, heart and with depth. A film that paid homage to Rita’s roots through dance and fashion, and heart. An homage to freedom, and power.”Bang was Rita’s opportunity to evolve and leave her own comfort zone, a chance to explore and connect with other musicians in new ways. “It’s imperative that artists grow and create new pathways that are true to their artistic vision,” she says. “One of the best ways to do that is to work with others who challenge you and bring a different perspective, genre even or language to the table. Collaborations like this EP are just the beginning, the future is global.”
Rita reached out to people whose work she was excited by, starting with a teenage producer in Kazakhstan named Imanbek, who came to prominence with his 2019 remix of Saint Jhn’s “Roses.”
He emailed some rough demos and beats; she built up from those, and as they went back and forth, he emerged as the primary creative partner for Bang. “Everything I did, I ran through Imanbek,” she says. “What I really found special about this process was that I grew up with albums that were bodies of work, made with one producer and one artist where it felt like they were living and breathing together—Aaliyah and Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell. I’ve always loved that, because it feels very genuine and committed and focused, and I think that shows in the music.”
The opening track, “Big” cast the widest net. First Rita called her friend, superstar DJ David Guetta, to see how he might mix up the sound. “He came in and added a bit of bass, made it pick up a bit more,” she says. Then she hit up Atlanta rapper Gunna and asked him to “put his swag on it,” resulting in a true all-star affair.
Photo courtesy of The Karpel Group