Worshipping at the Altar of Ultra Naté
With her 20-some years as a recording artist, song writer and producer Ultra Naté has done her share to shape the sound on the club house scene. Her 1997 anthem "Free" solidified her place as an international phenomenon when the track took over the top of the charts - it became a crossover success, charting all over the world including the UK, France, Spain and Italy before entering in the Top 40 on Dance/Radio.
With her latest album "Hero Worship," her first full-length work in 6 years, Ultra Naté is yet again crafting the club sound set to inspire a new generation of night-crawler. All those preparing to lay hands on the high priestess of the EDM/house club sound...ye have been warned. Only the faithful are welcomed to worship on the beats of Ultra Naté and this time around she is bringing with her an unparalleled message of empowerment.
"Most of the time we define ’hero worship’ as idolizing someone else," Ultra Naté explained, "for me, it’s about finding your own power - all the ups and downs that we experience as a society that keep pushing and pulling - defining that inner strength."
With her command of bass lines and flawless fusion of synth effects and rhythms, Ultra Naté has formulated a repertoire of densely defiant tracks that are unrivaled among her piers. On this album, she has demonstrated that she can effortlessly tackle dubstep - check out "Hey DJ" featuring DJ Class and the latest single "Everybody Loves the Night" - while remaining relevant and true to her electro-house roots. "Unconditional" and "Turn It Up" both happily evoke the warmth of Ultra Naté’s vocal veracity; the songs have the joy that her fans have come to expect on the club floor.
We Need a Hero...
"Hero Worship" also benefits from the artist’s career-spanning connections and has her collaborating with dance and EDMs most notorious producers and remixers. Tracks from longtime friends including Todd Terry delivering his signature bass-bumps and percussions on "Right Now," David Morales takes "Planet Called Love" to new heights, and Tony Moran brings it all home with the WAWA re-imagining of his hit "Destination." There’s no question that what Ultra Naté worships is the beat, especially as presented by these hit makers. Perhaps they are the heroes eluded to in the album’s title.
"We need heroes now more than ever before," said Ultra Naté in the press release for "Hero Worship." "We need healers and preachers. People to teach the world that the only way to achieve personal fulfillment is by giving back." In the short film "Worshiping the Hero Within" available as a bonus feature on the Deluxe Edition of the downloadable album, Ultra Naté is seen sweating it out in the gym, hitting the boxing ring as hard as she does the studio. Her efforts are meant to prove that with hard work anything is possible.
This album is her latest collection of new dance music in 6 years. Working with her longtime music producer and label manager Bill Coleman, Ultra Naté was seeking a symphonic blend for this project that was distinct, and still organic to her. "Sometimes things don’t start exactly where I want it," she said. "For me I either really love my work, or absolutely hate it. I have to let things fully realize before they get shelved." Ultra Naté depended on Coleman to push her, especially outside of the walls of her own comfort level. "You have to have people around you whose opinions you trust and have your best interests at heart - at the end of the day you have to follow your gut."
It Was Destiny...
Certainly her faith in herself paid off as the stars aligned to bring to life one of the album’s greatest treats, a collaboration with former Destiny’s Child Michelle Williams. "It was a lot of fun. It was actually one of those moments when the synergy worked out - somethings in the music industry don’t usually happen like that." The song "Waiting On You" was presented to Williams’ reps, who agreed that the tracks retro-disco feel would be a good fit for the two soulful powerhouses. The result is impressively uplifting. "I knew it had a really good feeling about it. It came together so painlessly."
The duet between the two vocalists adds its own texture and color to the canvas of "Hero Worship" which totes the line of dance with its eclectic blend. "I like everything from straight-up R&B, to something that is slightly off center, to the gayest dance album that everyone is currently listening to," Ultra Naté insists. "The dance music genre has given me a lot of levity. The best thing about my career is that I can have fun experimenting."
At the center of it all Ultra Naté is dedicated to creating music that resonates. "It has to make me feel good. It has to get me with its sentiment and cut through to me with its chorus." She also understands how the commercialization of EDM and dance music especially has lead to the mass-appeal and replication of popular producers like David Guetta. "For me it’s not about having the best voice or the same sound, it’s about the emotion that is conveyed - that’s what makes an artist distinctive. It’s being an individual. That’s something you don’t want to lose."
Ultra Naté is also dependent on the chemistry she develops with the people she works with to deliver the right types of songs for her, and suit her dynamic. This album features many and among them are works with male vocalist Chris Willis who provides two of the album’s hits, and who is featured on the trip-hoppy "Journey." "The creative process is such a give and take," she said. "You have to be open to what each of you is going to bring to the table."
While she continued to work on wrapping "Hero Worship" and her continuing international DJ gigs (she has a standing Summer residency in Club Space in Ibiza, Spain), Ultra Naté had the opportunity to appear on heartthrob Colton Ford’s new album on the track "Get To You." Adding her impressive muscle to the muscle man’s own dance party.
"I’ve been on stage for over 20 years now," she added. "It’s the best job in the world performing these thoughts and ideas that came to you, and are now these tangible pieces of music that will live forever. To be able to express yourself - you can’t put that into words." And she doesn’t have to, Ultra Naté is free to do what she wants to do, and we will continue worshipping her sound.
Ultra Naté’s new album "Hero Worship" is now available as a "Standard Edition" and "Deluxe Version" featuring additional remixes and videos on iTunes. Curious about her upcoming live performances and DJ sets? Go to www.ultranate.com and stay connected.