Artist Focus: Ultra Naté

Sunday, 02 April 2017
Few singers have left such an indelible mark on house music over the last 30 years as Ultra Naté.

Born and raised near Baltimore, Ultra Naté was studying pre-med in the late ‘80s before she turned to music. After being introduced to the legendary Basement Boys, the two got together and recorded “It’s Over Now” - a deep house classic released in 1989. Not long after she was snapped up by Warner Brothers in the UK, becoming one of the first ever house artists to be signed to a major label.

In 1991, Ultra Naté released her debut album, Blue Notes in the Basement, produced by the Basement Boys. The album bore the hit singles "Scandal," "Deeper Love (Missing You)," and "Is It Love?", instantly becoming a DJ staple. Less than two years later, she released her second album, One Woman's Insanity - a garage house number that features the pop-radio hit “Show Me”.


Ultra Naté then moved to the independent Strictly Rhythm for her 1997 anthem "Free", which is often regarded is one of her most successful hits to date. The story goes that as a very early recipient of a promo edition, Louie Vega broke ‘“Free” during Miami’s Winter Music Conference in 1997. Lovingly crafted by Mood II Swing with the help of a huge guitar riff and Ultra’s anthemic chorus, “Free” landed up as one of the undisputed biggest dance records of the 1990s and became her biggest hit yet, racking up a number of top ten entries in Europe.


Her third album, Situation: Critical, appeared in April 1998, with production by Mood II Swing, Al Mack, Masters at Work, and D-Influence. Stranger Than Fiction (2001) and Silk, Grime & Thunder (2007, for Tommy Boy) followed. On Grime, Silk & Thunder she covers the waterfront of pop, club and DJ culture, ranging from glittery, anthemic gems like “Give It All You Got” and the classic “Scandal”, to “Automatic”, “Falling”, “This House” and an inspired makeover of her breakthrough single “It’s Over Now”.


With more than 25 years of experience under her belt, Ultra Naté has collaborated with a wide array of artists including The Basement Boys, Nellee Hooper, D-Inflience, Mood II Swing, Nona Hendryx, Lenny Kravitz, N'Dea Davenport, DJ Class, NERVO, Tony Moran, StoneBridge, Todd Terry, David Morales, Destiny's Child's Michele Williams, Boy George, Morgan Page, Quentin Harris and many more. Her husky voice and sheer versatility has helped cement her reputation of one of the greatest soulful house singers around. Not only is she an icon of Dance and LGBT communities worldwide, but she is an icon of our generation.

This August Ultra Naté will be performing on the main stage for Groove Odyssey at 51st State Festival. For tickets and more info head over here.