staying ‘free’ Ultra Naté brings her 80s hits and more to P-House New Year’s Eve
Like pop icons Kylie Minogue, Tears for Fears and Robyn before her, pop diva Ultra Naté is proving that she has staying power. The performer, featured at the Parliament House on New Year’s Eve, cemented her diva status in the early ‘90s with dance-floor classics like “How Long,” “Show Me,” and the gay anthem “Free.”
Thanks to a resurgence of new wave and the early ‘90s dance musical genre, more and more artists have revived lost but not forgotten hits for a whole new generation. There was Eric Prydz’s cover, “Call on Me,” originally Steve Winwood’s “Valerie;” No Doubt’s cover of Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life;” Aurora’s cover of Alison Moyet’s “Love Resurrection” and even Paris Hilton’s cover of Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy.” Most recently, Ultra released a remake of The Pointer Sister’s hit, “Automatic,” catapulting her back onto the charts.
“It was actually the last song that went on the album,” Ultra explains. “I was driving around one day and the original came on the radio. I was geeking out loving the way it sounded and felt. It reminded of how special The Pointer Sisters were and I knew I wanted to do a version of it.”
Ultra is continually in the studio and has collaborated with a number of artists, including DJ Tony Moran on her 2010 single, “Destination” and Michelle Williams, previously of Destiny’s Child, on a song called, “I’m Waiting On You,” for use on both of their next studio albums. This year also marked the release a Bob Sinclair remix of her timeless hit, “Free.”
“[The song remains timeless] because everyone wants to be emancipated from something and the song resonates that sentiment while empowering the listener at the same time,” Ultra says.
Ultra is also very aware and involved with LGBT charities such as LifeBeat, which uses the power of music to educate young people about HIV/AIDS prevention. LifeBeat volunteers teach HIV prevention to concertgoers in New York and on nationwide tours with major artists. Along with LGBT charities, countless Pride events and gay club appearances, it’s apparent Ultra has found her target audience. Of course the gays love a good diva, but she says her gay audiences “just get it.”
“I don’t know if there’s any secret or magic to it,” Ultra says. “[Gay audiences] want to be entertained. They enjoy what music and the business of entertainment is really about.” Despite a number of her singles hitting the Top 100 here in the ’90s, Ultra’s subsequent releases were better received in Europe. This trend seems to be common among dance artists like Erasure, Kylie Minogue, Cascada and Robyn.
“Europe just doesn’t live by the same rules as the U.S.,” she explains. “U.S. radio and the majors have long dictated what’s in and what’s out, what gets heard and what doesn’t. Europe is more open to diverse musical styles and aesthetics.” The first single off her next album, Hero Worship is a fun electro disco tune called “Turn It Up” coming out at the end of February 2011.
“[Expect] quality, fun music to make your booty shake and your heart soar.”
WHAT : Ultra Naté
WHERE: The Parliament
House Resort, Orlando
WHEN: Dec. 31, 2010
Originally published in Watermark