In her two decades of making music, Ultra Naté has remained a musical chameleon, embracing a variety of sounds, from R&B/hip-hop, soul and disco to house, rock and electro-pop. Twenty years after sashaying onto international dance floors with the 1989 club anthem, “It’s Over Now,” Naté stands tall and proud, proving that artist longevity, though not common for singers of dance music, is alive and well. Ultra Naté’s 20 + year anniversary in the business comes at a time of non-stop work and recording sessions. In addition to prepping her eighth studio album, Hero Worship which features Robbie Rivera, Aussie wonder twins Nervo, chart-topping EDM troubadour Chris Willis, Italy’s hit maker Nicola Fasano, Hometown Baltimore’s DJ Class, Michelle Williams (of Destiny’s Child) and house music innovators Todd Terry and David Morales, Naté has also found time to initiate a new rock/funk project called Black Stereo Faith with the inimitable Quentin Harris.
Working hard for the money also means wearing numerous hats. Sure, Naté is the singer of the song, but she is also a songwriter, producer, DJ (currently holding a mixshow residency on influential French Radio Station FG alongside some of the world’s top jocks), label owner (BluFire and 410 Paradox Underground), club promoter (the monthly Deep Sugar) and live performer. For the B-more-residing Naté, such diversity is a natural extension—or evolution—from one creative aspect of the music scene to another. “I’ve been in this scene for a long time, so it’s easy for me to transition from one area to another rather seamlessly,” she explains. “Sure, I’m still learning some particular dynamics, but that’s the fun part of the process. When you stop learning you’re doomed.”
Naté’s schooling in all things music began in the late-’80s with her acclaimed Warner Brothers 1990 debut album, “Blue Notes in the Basement,” which spawned such club hits as “Scandal,” “Deeper Love” and “Rejoicing (I’ll Never Forget).” In 1993, Naté delivered her sophomore album, “One Woman’s Insanity” with its R&B undertow, clearly evident on singles like “Joy,” “How Long,” and “Show Me,” which was the her first #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart. 1997 found Ultra switching labels to Strictly Rhythm, where she had one of the biggest successes of her career with the worldwide platinum – selling smash single, “Free.” The anthemic track topped Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play and Maxi-Singles Sales charts before crossing over to Top-40/dance radio and Top 10 internationally. The radio and clubs couldn’t get enough so Ultra along with duet partners Amber and Jocelyn Enriquez stormed the charts with a disco-laced (from the ’54′ soundtrack) rendition of the folk/ pop staple “If You Could Read My Mind.” Ultra release her fourth studio album, “Stranger Than Fiction” in 2001 which found her spreading her musical wings and working with such producers as D-Influence, Arnthor & Bloodshy and Attica Blues as well as collaborating with such luminaries as Nona Hendryx, Lenny Kravitz and N’dea Davenport. Two songs from the album, “Desire” and “Get It Up (The Feeling),” reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart, while the 4- Hero-produced sleeper hit “Twisted (Got Me Goin’ Round),” is a dj/fan favorite that continues to have a life all its own. In 2007, Nate’s fifth studio album, “Grime, Silk & Thunder,” arrived via Tommy Boy Records, spawning two #1 club hits: “Give It All You Got” (featuring Chris Willis), a cover of the Pointer Sisters’ “Automatic,” and included Naté’s 2005 collaboration with StoneBridge (“Freak On”). Since day one, Girl has always remained steps ahead of the game, following the beat of her own drum. New interpretations of her early hits “It’s Over Now” and “Scandal”, a Kenny Dope reworking and Morgan Page’s delicious mix of the Grace Jones-esque “Love’s the Only Drug” were included on Naté’s follow up 2008 collection, “Alchemy: G.S.T. Reloaded.” The two-disc set spotlights remixes of tracks from “Grime, Silk &; Thunder”—as well as debuts Naté’s first official DJ mix. In 2010 on her own imprint BluFire, Ultra teased fans with an e.p. and represented homestyle with a grimy B-more Club collaboration alongside Unruly Records. The beat laden “Things Happen At Night” featured hometown heroes DJ Class and Scottie B and preeminent diva Jocelyn Brown.
At the end of the day, and 20 years on, Naté’s maverick style has not changed. It remains intact. She says her creative process, over the years, has not changed either. “I still work in many different ways,” she explains. “I’m very open to trying things differently.”
Ultra Naté continues to move forward having shared the stage with the likes of Nile Rodgers and CHIC, Johnny Marr (of The Smiths), Martha Wash, Mark Ronson and Dimitri of Paris all the while releasing several currently smoldering releases. These include the infectious club gem “Planet Called Love” with David Morales (one of three exclusive collaborations from his acclaimed “Changes” album), a #1 collaboration with Marlon D and The Underground Collective called “God’s Message”.
In 2013 Ultra released her eighth studio album “Hero Worship” featuring collaborations with a list of who’s who in dance music.
During her summer-long residency in Ibiza at Space for Café Olé, Ultra brought her classics and new tunes to Amsterdam’s Milkshake Festival, Paris, London, Germany, Amsterdam, Valencia, Budapest, St. Tropez, and New York’s massive SUMMERSTAGE Festival in Central Park! She is now back on the road and just hit the stages in Moscow, Dubai, Naples, and throughout the states.
Ultra’s own event and residency in Baltimore, Deep Sugar, which is 13 years and counting, has hosted the likes of Timmy Regisford, Little Louie Vega, Duane Harden, Thomas Dolby, Quentin Harris and now Dimitri from Paris, and the late, great Frankie Knuckles. Needless to say, Ultra keeps good company.
Ultra Naté is bringing the party back to you! “I want to continue to be in your face,” says Naté.