In a time when everything is marketed as something better than the original — ultra soft, ultra absorbent, ultra sheer — can one of house music’s most innovative trailblazers successfully package herself as a cut above?
You might recognize Ultra Naté’s voice before you can put her name to it. Since its release in the 1990s, her crossover dance track “Free”‘ has become one of the most popular house anthems in history.
Now 20 years and seven number-one US singles into her career, Naté confesses that her career trajectory is similar to the life trajectory of her many gay fans.
“I never wanted to conform,” she explains. “Music is a place where everyone can try everything. Stay true to your own style.”
Fresh off a string of club dates in Europe and a Best Female DJ nomination for the FG DJ Awards in Monaco, Naté will perform at Celebrities Nightclub on Nov 20 in her first Vancouver show in more than two years.
“I remember my last show in Vancouver,” she says. “The crowd was so warm and so much fun. I always have fun in Canada. The clubs there are open to anything.”
Her newest single pairs Naté with popular DJ/producer Tony Moran. “Destination” is the first track off her next album, Hero Worship, which is due in early 2011.
What should fans expect on Nov 20? “A mixture of everything,” Naté says. “I have seven albums under my belt and I like performing a lot of fan favourites, tracks like ‘Show Me’ and ‘Automatic’ along with newer tracks like ‘Give It All You Got.'”
Between recording Hero Worship and a second “black-punk collaboration” album called Black Stereo Face, Naté has stepped away from production and singing to spread her wings as a solo DJ and contribute to the rejuvenation of underground house music.
“It’s where I got my beginning,” she explains. “I want to give something back to the scene and give that opportunity to another kid who might feel an emotional attachment to this culture and this music.”
She stresses, “Everyone is united through music. Everyone.”
Now for the question on every gay guy’s mind: Ultra Thin or Ultra Ribbed?
Her laugh could easily double as vocal for one of her tracks.
“Ultra Thin. Do you even need to ask?”