In January 2014, Adidas announced a designer collaboration with Ora for their brand, Adidas Originals. The two singles from her upcoming second studio album, "Your Song" and "Anywhere", both reached the UK top-ten in 2017.
Ora was born in Pristina, SFR Yugoslavia (present-day Kosovo), to Albanian parents. Her mother, Vera (née Bajraktari), is a psychiatrist, and her father, Besnik Sahatçiu, is an economist and a pub owner. Ora has an older sister, Elena (who is a part of her management team), and a younger brother, Don. She was born as Rita Sahatçiu (pronounced ; surname derived from the Turkish word, saatçi, which means "watchmaker"), but her parents later added Ora (which means "time" in Albanian) to the family surname so it could be easily pronounced.
Her family left Kosovo for political reasons, because of the persecution of Albanians initiated with the disintegration of Yugoslavia. They relocated to London, England in 1991, when she was a year old. She grew up in Notting Hill, in West London, and attended St Cuthbert with St Matthias Primary School in Earls Court, following which she graduated from a performing arts school, Sylvia Young Theatre School. She began singing at an early age.
Ora began performing at open mic sessions around London and, occasionally, in her father's pub. In 2007, Ora had her first music release when she appeared on Craig David's track titled "Awkward", and then again in 2008 on "Where's Your Love", featuring Tinchy Stryder. On both tracks she was not officially credited. She featured on two songs of James Morrison's album, Songs for You, Truths for Me, as backing vocalist.
In 2008, she auditioned for Eurovision: Your Country Needs You on BBC One to be the British contestant for the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 and qualified, but later withdrew from the competition after a few episodes as she "did not feel ready" and thought "that challenge wasn't for her." Her manager, Sarah Stennett (who also worked with Ellie Goulding, Jessie J and Conor Maynard), later told HitQuarters that Ora had entered the competition because at the time she felt it was her only chance at finding success. Stennett reassured her that performing in Eurovision would hinder rather than help her chances to make it as a solo artist.