Ultra Naté Wyche (born in Havre de Grace, Maryland, USA) is a popular American house music, Dance-pop and sometimes R&B musician who has achieved a respectable amount of success on the pop charts with songs such as "Free" and "If You Could Read My Mind" as part of Stars on 54.
Virtually all of her singles have reached the Top 10 of the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart. Such singles include "Show Me", "Free", "Desire", "Get it Up (the Feeling)", "Love's the Only Drug", and her most recent back-to-back number-one hits "Automatic" and "Give it All You Got" featuring Chris Willis.
She is best known in her home country for her classic 1990s dance crossover track, "Free". She is also remembered in America for her team-up with Amber and Jocelyn Enriquez as Stars on 54 on a 1998 cover of "If You Could Read My Mind", which was also a mainstream American hit. It reached #52 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #3 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. Though she has had club success in America, she has found the majority of her singles and, especially, album sales success in Europe.
Ultra Naté is noted for taking the opposite path to that which most musicians take. She began her recording career on a major label, Warner Bros. Records. Through them, the artist released her first two albums. Her debut album, the house classic Blue Notes in the Basement (1991) was created along with the Basement Boys and it featured the singles "It's Over Now," "Deeper Love (Missing You)," "Is It Love," and the gospel-tinged "Rejoicing."
In 1993, the alternative dance/house One Woman's Insanity was released to much critical praise and recognition by the dance community. Although it still featured the Basement Boys' production on several tracks, this time Ultra found herlself working with the likes of Nellee Hooper, and D-Influence. At a time when soulful House music performers like Robin S and Crystal Waters were scoring cross-over Top Ten Pop singles, it was believed that Ultra Naté would score a similar level of commercial success. Mainstream sales however were not achieved even though "Show Me" received moderate mainstream pop radio airplay. Still, the performer's diva status was cemented by dance-floor classics like "How Long," "Show Me" (her first song to reach the top position on the U.S. Dance charts) and "Joy."
In 1995, Ultra Naté contributed the song "Party Girl (Turn Me Loose)" to the soundtrack to the similarly titled independent film starring Parker Posey. The single was commercially released by the King Street Sounds label and has become a hard to find collectors' item.
When Warner Bros. tried to push her in a more R&B, less house, direction, Ultra Naté left the major label and fled to the independent dance label, Strictly Rhythm. It was here that "Free", her biggest mainstream hit in America, was released in 1997. The song, produced by Mood II Swing, enjoyed heavy airplay throughout the rest of the millennium, not only in clubs, but on rhythmic and mainstream radio stations across the country. "Free" peaked at number 75 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. It became a substantial hit in the UK, where it peaked at number four, helping its parent album 'Situation: Critical' reach number seventeen on the album charts. It was also successful in Canada where it reached number 10 at the Canadian Singles Charts.
It was with this album that Ultra Naté's greatest commercial success was achieved, particularly in Europe, where singles such as "Found a Cure" (#6 in the UK), and "New Kind of Medicine" (#14 UK) became immediate dance classics.
In 1998, a new single "Pressure" was released internationally. Taken from the soundtrack to the film The 24 Hour Woman, it contained three club mixes. The original, funkier version of the track was found on 'Situation: Critical" but listed as "Release the Pressure."
Her follow-up album Stranger Than Fiction, which was released in 2001, featured the production work of respected artists such as Attica Blues, 4 Hero, and Mood II Swing. Four singles were released: "Desire," "Get It Up (The Feeling)," "Twisted," and "I Don't Understand It." By this point, Ultra Naté's level of mainstream chart success had diminished, with only "Desire" making it to the Top 40 of the UK Singles Chart.
More recently, Naté contributed the song "Wonderful Place" to the AIDS benefit compilation Keep Hope Alive: A Lifebeat Benefit Compilation. Additionally, in 2004, she released the singles "Feel Love," "Brass in Pocket," "Time of Our Lives" (released as "Ultra Devoted featuring Ultra Naté and Gerry DeVeaux"), and a new version of "Free" that features twelve new mixes. In 2005, she collaborated with Gaudino and released the single "Bitter Sweet Melody". Later in the same year she found herself again on the charts, when her featured vocals on the Stonebridge single "Freak On" became a successful dance hit. She also performed on the British show Hit Me Baby One More Time.
Having become a mother for the first time in the fall of 2005, Naté is continued to put the finishing touches on her forthcoming album Grime, Silk, & Thunder her debut album on the major label, Tommy Boy Records. The album was warmly received by the majority critics and fans alike. The first single released was "Love's the Only Drug," which became available through the U.S. iTunes Store August 8, 2006 and reached number two on the American Hot Dance Club Play and made the Top 30 on the Hot Dance Airplay chart. The second single "Automatic" (a cover version of the Pointer Sisters hit) reached number one on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart (the week ending April 28, 2007). It also received airplay in the Rhythmic/Dance format radio where it reached the Top 30 of most playlists in this radio format. Following Automatic, Ultra released "Give It All You Got" which features Chris Willis as a digital download since Dec. 05, 2007. The song hit #1 on the Billboard Dance Music/Club Play charts the week ending February 23, 2008.
According to a blog Ultra wrote on her MySpace page, she's releasing a double CD August 5, 2008 entitled 'Alchemy: GST Reloaded'. The CDs will be made up solely of remixes of tracks from her 2007 studio album 'Grime, Silk, & Thunder' with the exception of two remixes of her 'Stranger than Fiction' track 'Twisted". Within the same blog, Ultra mentions that there will be a video for Twisted directed by Karl Giant.
|Year||Album||U.S. Pop Albums||U.S. Electronic Albums||U.K. Pop Albums||European Pop Albums|
|1991||Blue Notes in the Basement||-||-||-||-|
|1994||One Woman's Insanity||-||-||-||-|
|1998||The Best Remixes, Vol. 1||-||-||-||-|
|1999||Best Remixes, Vol. 2||-||-||-||-|
|2001||Stranger Than Fiction||-||-||-||-|
|2007||Grime, Silk, & Thunder||-||-||-||-|
|Year||Song||U.S. Pop||U.S. Club/Dance||U.S. Hot Dance Airplay||Hot Dance Singles Sales||UK Pop||Canadian Singles Chart|
|1989||"It's Over Now"||-||-||-||-||62||-|
|1991||"Is It Love?"||-||45||-||-||71||-|
|1992||"Rejoicing (I'll Never Forget)"||-||7||-||-||-||-|
|1992||"Altitude" (777 featuring Ultra Naté)||-||44||-||-||-||-|
|1995||"Party Girl (Turn Me Loose)"||-||6||-||-||-||-|
|1995||"10.000 Screaming Faggots" (The Moonwalkers feat. Ultra Naté)||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1997||"Partay Feeling" (B-Crew featuring Barbara Tucker, Dajae, Ultra Naté and Moné)||-||22||-||-||45||-|
|1998||"Free (The Mixes)"||-||-||-||-||33||-|
|1998||"Found a Cure"||-||1||-||2||6||-|
|1998||"If You Could Read My Mind" (Stars on 54: Ultra Naté, Amber, Jocelyn Enriquez)||52||3||-||3||23||7|
|1998||"New Kind of Medicine"||-||28||-||-||14||-|
|2001||"Get It Up (The Feeling)"||-||1||-||45||51||-|
|2002||"I Don't Understand It"||-||25||-||-||-||-|
|2003||"Brass in Pocket"||-||8||-||-||-||-|
|2004||"Time of our Lives" (Ultra Devoted)||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|2005||"Bittersweet Melody" (Gaudino feat. Ultra Naté)||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|2005||"Freak On" (with Stonebridge)||-||-||-||-||37||-|
|2005||"Wonderful Place" (U.D.A.U.F.L.)||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|2006||"Love's the Only Drug"||-||2||-||-||-||-|
|2007||"Give It All You Got" (with Chris Willis)||-||1||-||-||-||-|