Ultra Naté has officially dropped her extensive album she's calling ULTRA. The simple title highlights the fact that this album is 'simply her,' there's no tricks going on or levers being pulled behind the scenes pertaining to the experience and creation of this album - all is left on the table - ideas, vulnerabilities, moods, style, and so much more.
Ultra Naté had her first wave of success in the 90's where mainstream world-renowned hits were born such as "Free." She never looked back during this period of time, always keeping her head in the music game and working on her craft. So many shows, collaborations, albums, and stressful days later, she still keeps her head up high and pushing out defining works of art.
Even decades into her career, Ultra Naté is setting records. She recently performed at the halftime show for UEFA Women's EURO Final at Wembley stadium this past July 2022. The numbers connected to the event are nothing short of incredible. While there were over 90,000 people in the sold-out stadium, it's estimated over 200,00,000 tuned in via television and streaming across the world, making it easily her biggest show played to date.
Ultra Naté has a ton of great chapters in her story and 2022 is adding right along to it.
She took the time to chat with us about her creative process, the half-time performance, the album, and more.
What do you hope is the message that people take away from your new album: ULTRA?
Ultra Naté: My hope is to always create music that empowers the listener, music that makes people feel heard and seen, while at the same time moving them to feel the amazing energy of dance, inclusion and connectivity of dance music. I always try to make music you can dance to but also reaches you on a deeper, more impactful level.
Did you get nervous when you performed at the Women’s Euro Finals at Wembley - was that the biggest show you played in terms of how many eyeballs saw you?
Ultra Naté: Yes, I think you would have to be dead to not feel any nerves the first time performing for such an epic performance! The stadium scenario is very overwhelming and although it was a sold-out event of close to 90,000 in attendance, I have performed for larger crowds at a few festivals over the years. However, the historical magnitude of the event and the TV viewership of millions around the world, definitely made it the biggest show I’ve ever played.
Are you typically creative all the time or do you have a process to get more in the creative flow?
Ultra Naté: Generally, I am creative all the time unless I am physically exhausted from the wear and tear of the road. Usually it’s pretty easy for me to get into a creative flow. I’m sort of a sponge that way, always looking at things in a deeper or more intense way whether consciously or unconsciously.
How did it feel when Billboard named you one of the 'greatest of all time’
Ultra Naté: That one is still pretty surreal! It’s a huge testament to my work, I’m extremely honored to be amongst some great artists!
Was it hard to select collaboration partners for ULTRA or did it sort of come naturally?
Ultra Naté: Many came naturally like Tedd Patterson, Lem Springsteen and Quentin Harris. These amazing producers have been like family for ages. Then there were others I knew I wanted to work with for the first time and reached out to, like Tracy Young, long-time friend but we had never collaborated, or Henrik Schwartz, who I’ve been a huge fan of for many years but had never met in person. The unexpected producers that evolved during the process were Russell Small of Freemasons, big fan for ages but never crossed paths and some new young producer talent like Blue Lab Beat, Funk Cartel and Slowz. I'm very proud of the cross section of collaborators on this project.
Do you have favorite songs from your new album ULTRA?
Ultra Naté: Not yet, I think I’m still a little too close to it. All the songs on ULTRA are all like my babies just set out for lives on their own! I’m hearing the album now in a different way, as an outsider so I need a little more time.
Are you excited about the future?
Ultra Naté: Yes always, I believe anything can happen in this industry and that keeps me excited for the next episode!
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