Artist of The Week

ULTRA NATÉ TEAMS UP WITH GRAMMY WINNER TRACY YOUNG FOR INTENSELY PERSONAL ANTHEM ‘SURVIVOR’

Closing out what has been a truly landmark year for legendary American singer, songwriter, DJ, producer and promoter Ultra Naté, the iconic artist drops SURVIVOR, her scorching collaboration with GRAMMY-winner Tracy Young. Lifted from Ultra’s #1 self-titled full length ULTRA, the lyrically empowering, piano-driven, soulful housestormer harkens back to Ultra’s house music roots and the classic days of Larry Levan or Frankie Knuckles. In its newly Extended and old-school Club Edit versions, the reverent, bass-driven tone of SURVIVOR feels both familiar, fresh and hopeful. This one is for the heads.

The framework of what the ULTRA album would be, had really come together by the time I wrote SURVIVOR with long time sister-friend, Tracy Young,” Ultra said. “As with all the songs on the album, I was alone and just grinding, Tracy and I linked up and she sent the backing track of what would become SURVIVOR. I loved it from the first chord. It felt big, emotional, and bittersweet, but triumphant – my specialty!

Writing SURVIVOR was an intensely personal and cathartic process for Ultra, one born of a dark period, as she explains: “I believe it was actually the very last song I wrote forthe ULTRA album, in a really difficult moment on New Year’s Eve going into 2021. The full weight of 2020 sat squarely in my lap that day. It had been so deep, and NYE was no different. In that moment, I felt so dejected – relationship drama had brought that last straw to the table. It was a really hard night but I had this amazing music and this song was coming to me like water, just flowing.

“I was torn between being creatively on an extreme high, observing it manifest itself through me while at the same time living the emotional wreckage that was breathing life into it. SURVIVORwas healing my wounds as I was writing and singing through these lyrics and laying ideas down – while at the same time continually ripping the bandages off. Further and further, the process was empowering me, with every stage of the song’s development.

Laced with sumptuous piano chords and tied together by a warm, insistent, chugging bass, SURVIVOR is Ultra at her finest, her honeyed vocal flooding through the production. Swirling string sections bubble up from the bridge, rising to meet Ultra’s inspired song writing, the entire piece infused with luxurious and soulful Miami House heat courtesy of Young.

Long revered as one of America’s most influential house producers, with over 60 #1 Billboard Dance hits to her name, 2021 saw Tracy Young became the first ever female producer to win the coveted Best Remixed Recording GRAMMY for her remix of Madonna’s ‘I Rise (Tracy Young Pride Intro Radio Remix). Head of Ferosh Records, Young has worked with or remixed music’s most A-list celebrities, including Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Shakira, Stevie Nicks, Christina Aguilera, Cyndi Lauper, Chaka Khan, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion, Idina Menzel, Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Rihanna, Lionel Richie, Olivia Newton-John, Kelly Clarkson, and of course, long-standing collaborator, Madonna.

Ultra Naté is a connoisseur of the dance music genre in its entirety,” Young said. “I became familiar with Ultra and her music when I lived in the Washington, DC area.  Her music was always incorporated in every set I played, whether on the radio or in a club. It just worked!  Naturally, when I became a producer and started making music I knew that we’d come up with something legendary.  The song SURVIVOR is a life story of what we all experience through certain relationships, emotions, disappointments, achievements and the evolution of that process.” 

ABOUT ULTRA NATÉ:

Named one of Billboard Magazine’s Greatest Dance Artists Of All Time, and with a career spanning three decades and spawning massive crowd stompers such as Twisted, Automatic, Party Girl, New Kind Of Medicine, Found A Cure, How Long (Ultra Flava), If You Could Read My Mind, and the seminal, evergreen anthem Free, US singer, songwriter, DJ and producer Ultra Naté continues to be an integral force within the life blood of global House Music. 

One of the first house music artists to sign a major label deal with she inked paper with Warner Music UK, Ultra Naté’s sound has continually embraced a variety of genres including House, Soul, Disco, Electro-Pop, R&B, HipHop and Rock. Her catalogue is one steeped in timeless classics, impressive accolades and creative highlights with everyone from The Basement Boys, Nellee Hooper, D-Influence, Mood II Swing, Nona Hendryx, Lenny Kravitz and Frankie Knuckles, to N’Dea Davenport, NERVO, Todd Terry, Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child), 4 Hero, Deee-lite, Masters At Work, Roger Sanchez and more.

Ultra’s biggest single ‘Free’ shows no sign of letting up, 25 years after its original release. Ultra a widely noted ally of the international LBGTQIA+ community, Free was universally named one of the Top Pride anthems of all time during 2019’s unprecedented global World Pride celebrations. In 2020 Tomorrowland’s influential One World Radio included the track in the Top 10 of its ‘Best Ibiza Anthems of All Time’. In 2021, Ultra was invited by dance maestro Pete Tong to close out his Ibiza Classics tour with Jules Buckley and the Heritage Orchestra, performing Free in front of crowds of up to 90,000. June 2022 saw Swedish Pop duo Icona Pop collaborate with Ultra for a revised version of Free, titled You’re Free and aptly released on Ultra Records. In July 2022 Ultra gave a historic performance of Free at a sold out Wembley Stadium for the Women’s Euro 2022 final, alongside Becky Hill and Stefflon Don. In October 2022, at the invitation of Pete Tong, Ultra returned to the UK to record a sensational new Orchestral version of Free (Do What U Want) with LP Giobbi and Jules Buckley that incorporates Rozalla’s classic, Everybody’s Free, exclusively for Amazon Music on Ministry of Sound.

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