In this final chapter of the Diva Series, we are honoring a true pioneer in house music. In the early 90s, Ultra Naté (or as I like to say Ultra Naugh-tay) started out at a major label (WB) where she had nominal success on the dance charts and little if any on the pop charts. Her two albums Blue Notes in the Basement and One Woman’s Insanity were critically acclaimed but did little to match her contemporaries at the time like Crystal Waters and Robin S, who were having mainstream success. It wasn’t until she left Warner Brothers and moved to the powerhouse dance label Strictly Rhythm that she found her footing.
With the release of the first single Free, her third album Situation Critical blew up. In fact, Free received a gold certification in the UK and became a massive worldwide hit while securing its place in the gay community as one of the biggest anthems of all-time. By the time the second single came out (Found a Cure), she had secured not only the affections of us queer folk but was elevated to diva status that had everyone waiting for her next move.
In late 1998, she teamed with superstar DJ Hex Hector and promising new artists Amber and Jocelyn Enriquez to sing on the Gordon Lightfoot classic If You Could Read My Mind (a remake of the disco version popularized by Viola Wills in the early 80’s) for the movie 54. Talk about sealing the deal! I remember going to see the movie and falling in love with Ryan Phillippe. I went out and bought the soundtrack as well as the maxi-single, which I played ad nausea.
This was followed in 2000 with the release of Stranger Than Fiction and it’s two mammoth singles Desire and Get It Up (The Feeling). At this point, the dance industry was rapidly changing from the classic house sounds of the 90s to the bigger productions by superstar producers such as Thunderpuss, Hex Hector, Peter Rauhofer and Victor Calderone. Not willing to be left behind, Ultra Naté quickly found her way in this new era.
After taking some time off and working on some side projects like the single Freak On with Stonebridge, she finally came out with a new album (Grime, Silk & Thunder), a new look coupled with a new-found attitude and energy. That album delivered two number one hits (Automatic, Give It All You Got) and two top-three hits (Love’s the Only Drug, Twisted). However, it was the video for Automatic that had all the boys sweating. Capturing the burgeoning digital era and instant gratification, the video was a staple in clubs across the globe.
We are already well into 2010 and Ultra Naté hasn’t slowed down. Strictly Rhythm has released newly minted remixes for Free and she has collaborated with Nicola Fasano on the single No Wasted Hearts and a soon to be released single Give It 2 U from the forthcoming album Sacrifice by the ultra-sexy and master of his domain Quentin Harris. Ultra is not sitting on her laurels nor dwelling on the past. While we don’t get new albums as often as we’d like, her continued evolution as an artist and involvement in the dance community is much appreciated and lauded for her enormous contributions.
Even if she never releases another song or album, she would be forever remembered for her voice, her tenacity and the tremendous body of work that has kept our bodies moving and shaking over the years. It is for this reason and with great pleasure that Party Favorz is honoring Miss Ultra Naté by inducting her into the Diva Hall of Fame. Be sure to check out the fabulous video Automatic after the jump.
Album : The Diva Series
Artist : Ultra Naté
Genre : Classic House, Mainstream Club
Total Time : 1:51:28:00
Track : 1
Title : Show Me (Original Extended Version)
Track : 2
Title : Joy (Never Ending Joy Mix)
Track : 3
Title : Pressure (Original Mix)
Track : 4
Title : Desire (Kerri Chandler Underground Mix)
Track : 5
Title : Love’s The Only Drug (Funky Junction & Antony Reale Subliminal Strings Mix)
Track : 6
Title : Get It Up (The Feeling) (Full Intention Club Mix)
Track : 7
Title : I Don’t Understand It (Dave Warrin Vocal Mix)
Track : 8
Title : Freak On (Stonebridge Club Mix)
Track : 9
Title : Free (Mood II Swing Extended Vocal Mix)
Track : 10
Title : Stars on 54 [Ultra Naté, Amber & Jocelyn Enriquez] – If You Could Read My Mind (Hex Hector Club Mix)
Track : 11
Title : Give It All You Got (Bimbo Jones Extended Mix)
Track : 12
Title : Twisted (Craig C’s Master Vocal Mix)
Track : 13
Title : Rejoicing (Backslide Remix)
Track : 14
Title : Deeper Love (Missing You) (The Leftfield Vocal Mix)
Track : 15
Title : Party Girl (Turn Me Loose) [Satoshi Tomiie Interruption]
Track : 16
Title : Found A Cure (Full Intention Club Mix)
Track : 17
Title : Automatic 2008 (Riff & Rays Mix)
Track : 18
Title : How Long (Fire Island Remix)
Track : 19
Title : New Kind Of Medicine (Original Extended Vocal Mix)
Track : 20
Title : Brass In Pocket (C-Dock Style Mix)