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  Ultra Nate
 

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Click below for an Ultra Nate sample:

Desire

 
The pride of Baltimore, Ultra Nate has a firm grasp on the title of dance diva.  In a genre where flavor of the month status often trumps longevity, she has been able to survive more than 10 years with her brand of well-written, finely produced music.  

Nate was studying for a medical career when she was discovered by the Basement Boys production team after a night of clubbing.  The single they cooked up together, "Is it Love/Scandal," became a favorite on the local circuit and started climbing dance charts.

Warner Brothers signed her and rush-released Blue Notes in the Basement. An unusually focused album for a debut dance artist, it earned much love for songs like "Rejoicing" and "Sands of Time," which hinted at her knack for injecting some melancholy into the normally upbeat world of dance.

Great as the LP was, Nate felt that it was too controlled by the Basement Boys' vision and opted for additional producers for One Woman's Insanity. Here, her full range of talent was brought to the forefront: radio-friendly soul ("How Long"); moody downtempo ("I Specialize In Loneliness"); and her trademark club fillers ("Joy" and "Incredibly You"). All in all, an impressive feat that everyone thought would take Nate firmly into the mainstream.

Unfortunately, it was not the hit that it should have been, and people began asking questions. Did the label fail to promote the disc?  Had Ultra Nate failed to match her audience's expectations? Did all the producers prevent the album from sustaining consistency? In the end, all the finger pointing resulted in Nate leaving Warners. 

Her major label dreams dashed, Nate regrouped by cutting the theme to the movie Party Girl and signing with Strictly Rhythm, the strongest independent house label.  Along the way, she developed a relationship with rising stars Mood II Swing.  They had a new approach for Nate and the end result was her breakthrough single "Free."  An anthem to end all anthems, it connected with gays, club kids, and the independently minded.  The song hit #1 in many European countries.   The next single, "Found A Cure," was not a cover of the Ashford & Simpson classic but a guitar-led slice of dance pop that took her to the next level, being played constantly during that year's Winter Music Conference. Situation: Critical became her biggest LP yet.

She returned to her adoring public in 2001 with Stranger Than Fiction, which found her confidently basking in her status as a pop-dance artist. 

Ultra Nate's Deepest Grooves

Blue Notes in the Basement (Warner Brothers, 1991)
The album her hardcore fans still consider to be her best. "Is It Love" and "Scandal" are two of the most acclaimed songs of the time, noted for their intelligent lyrics and emotion, while "Love Hungover" is simply fierce.

One Woman's Insanity (Warner Brothers, 1993)

Situation: Critical (Strictly Rhythm, 1998)

Stranger Than Fiction (Strictly Rhythm, 2001)
Ultra continues her quest to be this generation's Donna Summer.   Writing and production credits are evenly split between Americans (N'Dea Davenport, Nona Hendryx, Mood II Swing) and Europeans (4 Hero, D-Influence, Arnthor & Bloodshy), although the high-profile cuts seem to be the ones with a Euro tinge.  Sound encompasses everything from 2-step to ballads.  Not likely to be a favorite with people yearning for the old Ultra sound, they'll have to get the 12" singles for deep house versions of this material.  

Copyright 2001 B.Graff.  All rights reserved.

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