Mervin Malone
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Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Mervin's 11+ Questions with Ultra Nat้!

Aria is pleased to welcome singer and perennial house music pioneer, Ultra Nat้!

Well – let's start with you…

1. What have you been doing since Stranger Than Fiction?

Forming my own label for my project...putting the album together — and my husband and I decided to expand our family and had a baby last year — 'been a busy girl!

Though you're primarily associated with dance music, your album work has always drawn from a much wider sonic palette...

This is true, which is what an album should be about — it should be a broader picture than the one presented through a single. A single is one piece of a larger puzzle.

2. Who are some of your longtime musical influences?

Marvin Gaye, Chaka Khan, Madonna, 'Rolling Stones — I'm all over the place. I'm really just into good music, no matter what the genre.

3. Do you ever regard the dance tag as confining?

I think you can only be confined if you let yourself — I choose to look at the dance genre as an opportunity to actually try more diverse things since a dance track can have vibes or influences from any genre.

House music — dance in general — is (often) unfairly stereotyped by the mainstream music press as a "happy", irrelevant medium — the musical equivalent of reckless abandon. You have shown a gift for exploring the darker side of the dancefloor. As the Pet Shop Boys have done with electro-pop, you have effectively expanded the lyrical depth of modern dance music to include the melancholy...

I love the melancholy — it's nothing contrived — it's really just my nature to write and sing in those places. It does give the music a different complexion, which has been a great compliment to my career.

4. Do you draw from personal experiences when singing and/or performing certain songs?

For the most part, but some songs just have their own life and you are the instrument.

5. Where do you most often find inspiration when conceiving musical projects?

Anywhere — anytime — just "being" presents a moment of inspiration if your creative juices are flowing...

This brings us to the new album…

Your new album is tentatively called, Grime, Silk and Thunder. We've heard "Brass In My Pocket" and the Stonebridge collaboration, "Freak On"…

6. What's next?

Next...? I've still have to get this album out! LOL. I've always got some iron in a fire somewhere but for now I'm focused on finishing and fine tuning "Grime...".

7. Are there any new remixes we should be on the look-out for?

Not till we are ready to start working the 1st single. Soon...

On Grime… — as with previous albums — you work with an absolutely outstanding roster of singers and musicians: 4hero – Headrillaz — EastWest Connection — Jill Jones — Jody Watley — Nona Hendryx...

8. Who would you like to work with on a future project that you haven't yet worked with?

Maxwell, Bono, Bahamadia — again — all over the map.

Over the years, you've shown us a great many musical personas; indeed, a listen to One Woman's Insanity, Situation: Critical or any of your previous albums reveal that you have a multitude of voices — jazz, soul, Philly soul — even rock.

9. What new aspect of Ultra Nat้ can we expect to see on Grime, Silk and Thunder?

Yeah — the "personas" element is very interesting to me — it's like I said about the song having a story and you being the instrument — I write these songs and they dictate a certain emotion which translates as a different persona. I feel it would be too presumptuous of me to classify any of the new stuff myself — I like to hear how other people perceive it without me putting any preconceived concept in their I'll be waiting to hear what you think.

Lastly, I'd like to know…

10. What are you listening to these days?

Kem, Gwen Stefani, Kanye West, Journey's "Best Of" Collection and constant soulful underground house dj mixes (including my own).

11. Is there any current artist or musician from any genre that has your attention right now?

All of the above along with Heather Headley, Vivian Green, Maroon 5, Donnie and Paris (from American Idol — only watch it for her).

You can visit Ultra at, or on MySpace at

Posted at 06:12 am by Mervin Malone

April 16, 2006   11:24 AM PDT
Thanks for this great interview! For me, Ultra has never failed to deliver. "Stranger Than Fiction" and "Situation:Critical" are albums that I go back to time and time again. One of my favourite artists working today.. Can't wait for the new album!
Mirror Ball
March 15, 2006   11:02 AM PST
Greetings Static. Many of the artists that we are featuring and plan to feature here at Aria have been recording for many years. Jody Watley and Frankie Knuckles are Grammy winners and Ultra Nat้ has been recording quality dance music for some 17 years; the U.S. commercial music industry seldom recognizes talents as diverse as these. You can find releases by all via remixographies and online. There are stores that specialize in dance music as well, though the one in my local city closed a while ago.
Static Brain
March 15, 2006   07:22 AM PST
Wow. I have never heard of many of these artists you are bringing to the table Mirror. This new idea of yours to bring out a lot of music and culture to share is great. This is an eye opener for me, for sure.
March 8, 2006   07:01 AM PST
Excellent! Love Ultra Nate. I interviewed her for DMA way back when. Her first album still gets a lot of play on my iPod. "Rejoicing" is a classic. Did you ever get to see her perform live with The Roots? Off the chain!!

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