FREE is more than merely the name of Ultra Naté’s debut single on Strictly Rhythm Records. It’s also a personal declaration launching and empowering a new phase in the enduring diva’s career.
Before the Baltimore native was 25 years old, she had already enjoyed a sterling string of international club hits starting with the 1989 breakthrough jam IT’S OVER NOW. That single gave way to BLUE NOTES IN THE BASEMENT, a critically acclaimed Warner Bros. album produced by the Basement Boys who were longtime mentors of the singer. In a field filled with one hit wonders, the set spawned not one but four dancefloor staples IS IT LOVE?, SCANDAL, DEEPER LOVE and REJOYCING. Ultra’s kinetic blend of street sass and warm spirituality elevated her miles above the pack of generic belters. “That album is among the proudest moments of my life,” she says.
Ultra successfully showed more creative texture and range on her 1993 sophomore release ONE WOMAN’S INSANITY, an adventurous collection on which she collaborated with such luminaries as Nellee Hooper, Soul Shock & Karlin, D-Influence, Ten City and of course the Basement Boys. The club hits kept rolling with the roof-raising JOY and the finger-snapping SHOW ME, with radio climbing aboard for the shuffling funk-flavoured HOW LONG. (The Farley & Heller dub of HOW LONG was released independently on Junior Boys Own with the reverent title ULTRA FLAVA and became an international dance floor staple). The album further expanded Ultra’s image as an artist having toured throughout much of the world with acts like Dee-Lite and PM Dawn.
It was shortly after touring behind ONE WOMAN’S INSANITY that Ultra parted ways with both the Basement Boys and Warner Bros., triggering an odyssey into self-examination and musical experimentation. “I finally had the time to pause and reflect on my life and my music,” she says. Along the way Ultra has wooed loyalists with appearances at the renowned annual dragfest, Wigstock, with nuggets of tasty new music. In 1995 she issued the controversial underground hit 10,000 SCREAMING FAGGOTS; an ode to her gay following and contributed the title theme to the critically lauded independent feature film PARTY GIRL.
A fine testament to Ultra’s burgeoning career can also be viewed by the variety of fellow artists who are admitted fans of her work. They include John Waters, Steve “Silk” Hurley, Thierry Mugler, Matthew Rolston, Frankie Knuckles, Ru-Paul, DJ Premier, Lady Kierr, Me’shell N’Degecocello, Little Louis Vega, DJ Clark Kent and the Lady Bunny.
The album “Situation Critical” is currently in the top 40, sold over 60,000 copies on release. The first single from the album “Found a Cure” reached number 6 in the UK.
1998-1999 Ultra Nate recorded the classic “If You Could Read My Mind” with Amber & Jocelyn Enriquez under the name “Stars On 54” for the movie “54”. This track was a massive hit throughout Europe.
TONY DENTON PROMOTIONS
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