Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



Ultra Nate: The Sound of Thunder
by Lawrence Ferber

This article shared 3455 times since Wed Jun 20, 2007
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

If you haven't seen or heard much from dance diva Ultra Naté in recent years, that's probably because she's been busy getting her 'Freak On' overseas.

No joke—the singer of modern dance-floor classics like Party Girl ( Turn Me Loose ) and Free provided vocals for an extremely addictive British chart hit, Freak On, one of several smash singles off the 2004 disc Can't Get Enough, from Swedish DJ/producer StoneBridge. Yet, while the super-tasty dance CD burned up discos all across Europe and Australia, it never received a domestic U.S. release.

Freak On finally arrives stateside on Grime, Silk and Thunder ( Blufire/Silver Label/Tommy Boy ) , Ultra's first full-length studio album since 2001's Stranger Than Fiction. It also includes a whole spate of new songs, from the Giorgio Moroder-esque Love's The Only Drug; a supremely electro-soaked re-envisioning of The Pointer Sisters' Automatic ( #1 on Billboard's Hot Club Play chart ) ; and the old-school soulful groove, Feel Love. The DJ known as StoneBridge mixed the entire album, while guests including The Brand New Heavies' N'Dea Davenport, Andres Levin and Eric Kupper lent their talents.

So what else has Ultra been up to since 2001? She's released a handful of singles, had her first child in 2005 and appeared that same year on the British TV series Hit Me Baby One More Time, in which out-of-the-spotlight pop stars performed their hit singles and covered a current chart ditty. Grime, Silk and Thunder also marks the debut of Ultra's own label, Blufire. A frequent performer at gay prides—including upcoming summer appearances at New York, Detroit and Indianapolis—I spoke with Ultra by phone and discussed her new album; her overseas freaking on; gay pride; and love being the only drug.

Lawrence Ferber: OK, let's start with the political quandry du jour: Hilary or Barack?

Ultra Naté: The jury is still out because I haven't really had a chance to look into the issues. And I'm going to sit down, focus and really get a handle on it because it's a very, very, very important moment. We really have to get rid of this Bush administration.

LF: There's a good bit of Giorgio Moroder's sound and influence on this album, particularly in the synth programming-heavy Love's the Only Drug, which is like a fierce, alternate-universe Grace Jones single. Would you love to work with Giorgio sometime?

UN: Definitely. He's been doing this thing for a long time. He has a staple sound and a very long history. I like to work with people that I feel there's something I can learn from. He's worked with people I love and respect, like Grace Jones and Donna Summers. He's an icon.

LF: Your cover of The Pointer Sisters' Automatic is doing really well on the charts. What made you decide to cover that song?

UN: It was really just kind of a spontaneous moment. I was just traveling around one day and heard it on the radio and I was like, 'Wow, I really love that song.' It really took me back to a really fun, really cool place in my teen years. I wanted to give it another shot, another moment, because I thought it was a really great song and deserved one more go around and those who heard it the first time would appreciate my take on it and those who may have missed it the first time will have a chance to get it now and really feel it.

LF: How and when did you first meet StoneBridge?

UN: Oh gosh, I don't know. I've known him for so many years. I think I met him when we were writing Desire [ for Stranger Than Fiction ] .

LF: Was the U.S. robbed by not getting the StoneBridge album?

UN: Definitely. But it's difficult in the U.S., the platforms for various types of dance music are just not in place here like they are in Europe and abroad. They probably didn't bother trying to release it here because unfortunately the people, they don't have the vehicle for it.

LF: Do they have better taste in dance music abroad?

UN: I definitely think they have a more open ear to various styles of dance music and a broader base of people who listen to and follow it. I've always had a pretty broad fan base overseas. I started out in the U.K. and was promoted abroad before the U.S., actually. So the European audience is very familiar with my music and I work pretty much all over the globe because of that.

LF: Why did you decide to start your own label, and did you feel empowered doing so?

UN: It's more of a business maneuver. It really puts you in a better position and now that the music [ business ] is changing and evolving so much it's leveled the playing field for the smaller entity to have more of an interest on the backend, like as far as being in control of the record itself and being able to make more money from it with the sales. It's really a functionality and necessity to some degree with how the music business has evolved.

LF: What were the three worst things about being on a big label?

UN: The politics. The red tape. And confusion with departmental things. You know every department has to be onboard to get things going down properly.

LF: And best things?

UN: Larger budgets for the making of the record and the marketing and promoting. And definitely the distribution opportunity.

LF: You have performed at innumerable Gay Pride events and even provided the theme song to Sydney's Mardi Gras last year. Do the drag queens ever approach you and say, 'Let's do a song together?'

UN: No, not really. Most of the drag queens are just happy performing my material. I've been told I've made certain ones a lot of money!

LF: Is there something special about a Pride audience?

UN: The energy is really, really tangible, the kids are really up for the live shows and they're looking for their divas to bring it, have fun and live those moments with them.

Grime, Silk and Thunder is out on CD. See for more information. Also, Ultra Naté is scheduled to perform at Green Dolphin Street, 2200 N. Ashland, on June 25; call 773-395-0066.

This article shared 3455 times since Wed Jun 20, 2007
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

MUSIC Elton John's 'The Lockdown Sessions' now out 2021-10-22
- Elton John's The Lockdown Sessions is now out, courtesy of Interscope Records. An album of collaborations recorded remotely over the last 18 months, The Lockdown Sessions features UK #1 single "Cold Heart (PNAU remix)," with Dua ...

Gay News

THEATER E. Faye Butler to star in 'Fannie' Oct. 25-Nov. 14 2021-10-21
- Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., will host the run of Cheryl L. West's Fannie (The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer), which will run Oct. 25-Nov. 14. E. Faye Butler stars as U.S. civil-rights ...

Gay News

Lyric Opera presenting 'Florencia en el Amazonas' Nov. 13-28 2021-10-21
- During Nov. 13-28, Lyric Opera of Chicago will run the company premiere of Florencia en el Amazonas—the first Spanish-language work to be presented as part of Lyric's mainstage opera season. There will be evening performances on ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Superman, TheWrap, Oscar Wilde, Billy Porter, Cher, 'Dragula' 2021-10-17
- The ongoing comic Superman: Son of Kal-El, by writer Tom Taylor and artist John Timms, launched in July and saw Jon Kent officially take up the mantle of the Man of Steel now that his father, ...

Gay News

CIFF, featuring LGBTQ+ films, running through Oct. 24 2021-10-15
- North America's longest-running competitive film festival, this year's event expands throughout Chicago with presentations at venues across the city, including at AMC River East 21; the Music Box Theatre; the Gene Siskel Film Center; special drive ...

Gay News

MUSICALS 'Pretty Woman' tickets go on sale Oct. 15 2021-10-15
- After a pre-Broadway run in Chicago and being on Broadway, Pretty Woman: The Musical, based on one of Hollywood's most beloved romantic stories of all time, returns to Chicago. The production will run at the CIBC ...

Gay News

'Tapping into Ca$h' : CaSera Heining lives double life as DJ Ca$h Era and radio producer 2021-10-14
- Minutes before DJ Ca$h Era hosted Lollapalooza's first drag show, the Black queer woman behind the stage name was pacing nervously behind the scenes and listening to a drag queen animatedly remind her they were "making ...

Gay News

MUSIC Janis Ian's last Chicago concert May 14 2021-10-13
- In what is being advertised as her last concert in Chicago, LGBTQ singer Janis Ian will be performing at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave. on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at 8 p.m. Tickets ($48-$50) will ...

Gay News

THEATER 'Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog' running through Nov. 6 2021-10-12
- Black Button Eyes Productions is welcoming back live audiences with the popular internet musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog—an authorized fan production to benefit the Chicago charity Season of Concern—playing through ...

Gay News

Lyric Opera running seven performances of 'The Magic Flute' Nov. 3-27 2021-10-11
- Lyric Opera of Chicago is running seven performances of The Magic Flute, Mozart's final opera, on Nov. 3-27. There will be performances at 7 p.m. on Nov. 3; matinees on Nov. 7, 11, 14 and 17, ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Drag Race' winners, Playboy, punk band, The Dinah, Daniel Craig 2021-10-10
Video below - As part of VH1's #LGBTQHerstoryMonth project, five winners from the RuPaul's Drag Race winner's circle—season one's BeBe Zahara Benet, All Stars 4 winner Monet X Change, season 11 winner Yvie Oddly, season 12 victor Jaida Essence ...

Gay News

Madonna's latest concert film, Madame X, now out 2021-10-09
- The concept film to Madonna's acclaimed Madame X Tour has debuted in the United States Latin America, Australia, the Nordics and Canada exclusively on Paramount+, the streaming service from ViacomCBS. Fans outside these markets can watch ...

Gay News

Book about musician Tori Amos' works coming out 2021-10-07
- The book Tori Amos: every album, every song—by rock journalist Lisa Torem—will be out in the United States on Friday, Oct. 29, courtesy of Sonic Bond Publishing. In 1992, Amos—an acclaimed singer, pianist and composer—achieved fame ...

Gay News

MUSIC Rachael Sage at Uncommon Ground on Oct. 14 2021-10-06
- Rachael Sage—described as an "award-winning singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and member/supporter of the LGBTQ+ community"—will perform at Uncommon Ground-Lake View, 3800 N. Clark St., on Thursday, Oct. 14, at 8 p.m. ...

Gay News

Opera singer Ketelson to give Center on Halsted performance 2021-10-05
- World renowned bass-baritone opera singer Kyle Ketelsen will perform Italian arias at the Center on Halsted to raise funds both to support his alma mater, Clinton (Iowa) High School (Vocal Department) and Care for Real Pantry ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.