House music legends Ultra Naté and Quentin Harris recently released their first collaborative album, Ultra Naté and Quentin Harris as Black Stereo Faith. Ten years in the making, the album presents a vibe-y, experimentally unapologetic and loose blend of R&B, house, rock and electronics. It highlights Quentin Harris’ production and arrangement skills while offering a stylistic nod to the unvarnished passion of singer-songwriter Ultra Naté’s acclaimed 1990 debut, Blue Notes in The Basement. This month the duo will release their first package of remixes from Black Stereo Faith. The collection features two tracks from the album, “I’m Too Sexy (Touch This Skin)” and “SNL,” reworked and reimagined by some of the biggest DJ/producers on the planet. The remixes of Black Stereo Faith’s “I’m Too Sexy (Touch This Skin)” and “SNL” release to iTunes, Spotify and all digital platforms on October 27, 2017 from BluFire/Epod/ Peace Bisquit.
“We held off on releasing the remixes because we wanted people to hear the originals in their intended forms first,” explains Ultra Naté from her Baltimore studio. “We needed to let the album breathe a bit; have some room so fans would listen to the songs in all aspects of their lives beyond the 2am dance floor moment.”
“Ultra and I are both known in clubland and we knew immediate remixes would be expected,” adds Harris. “We never want to do what’s expected.”
Among the remixers featured on the package are David Morales, Benji Candelario, Vjuan Allure and Craig C. “Like the album, the choice of remixers was a collaborative effort,” Harris continues. “Some of the remixers are family; artists Ultra and I have worked with previously. Others are new talent we wanted to collaborate with. They all bring their own creative vibes with remixes that are multilayered and touch on the various areas of the dance floor.”
John “J-C” Carr incorporates hard-hitting drums, in-your-face synth, and floor-shaking bass into his mix of Black Stereo Faith’s “I’m Too Sexy (Touch This Skin),” intended for mainstream consumption. Craig C. presents a deep vintage-y, house mix of the track while David Morales’ version of the this Right Said Fred classic is dark, subby, and full of attitude.
Vjuan Allure serves raw, dramatic Baltimore beats for ballroom queens into his version while Jamie deVon’s acid house inspired take delivers a captivating after-hours mix that is strictly NYC’s famed Twilo meets Berlin underground, but in a fresh, modern way.
Also included in the “I’m Too Sexy (Touch This Skin)” package are specially crafted Black Stereo Faith Bootleg mixes that combine classic hip hop and pop. Busta Rhymes’ “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” and George Michael’s “Too Funky” somehow manage to sit perfectly under Quentin and Ultra’s low slung vocal styling.
The slap bass gospel inspired house of “SNL” receives the killer remix treatment from Benji Candelario and DJ Melvin Gentry, as well as a disco homage bootleg mix from Black Stereo Faith.
DJ Melvin Gentry stays true to the original but nicely ramps up the elements to give it a club groove that keeps the party going. Benji Candelario wraps the vocals (featuring special guests Inaya Day and Darryl D’Bonneau) in a classic Frankie Knuckles-esque sound. It’s spacious, sets the song up as the track unfolds, grows in intensity, and rides the vocal changes with tension and drive. The BSF Bootleg finds the song presented in a laid back Philly disco treatment for the heads.
“We’ve been working on getting this package together all summer,” says Ultra Naté. “The end of October is the perfect time to get it out as the remixes serve all the tricks and treats.”
In her nearly three decades of making music, Ultra Naté has remained a musical chameleon, embracing a variety of sounds, from R&B/hip-hop, soul and disco to house, rock and electro-pop. Black Stereo Faith is a culmination of this experience and coincides with the 20th anniversary of the release of her all-time classic #1 hit, “Free.” “Free” was recently named by Billboard as #10 Greatest Of All Time Top Dance Club Songs while Ultra Naté was also named #12 Greatest of All Time Top Dance Artists
Black Stereo Faith is Ultra's 9th studio album. She initiated work on this ‘pet project’ whilst recording her eighth album, Hero Worship. That acclaimed full length features Robbie Rivera, Aussie wonder twins NERVO, chart-topping EDM troubadour Chris Willis, Italy’s hit maker Nicola Fasano, Hometown Baltimore’s DJ Class, Michelle Williams (of Destiny’s Child) and house music innovators Todd Terry and David Morales.
In addition to his solo productions, Quentin Harris has worked with top artists including Joi Cardwell and Mariah Carey. His many remixes include fan favorite Mariah Carey’s “Don't Forget about Us,” Justin Timberlake’s "My Love,” and Britney Spears’ “Guilty”. His debut artist album, No Politics, included collaborations with Danny Krivit, David Morales, Danny Tenaglia and Frankie Knuckles. In 2010, he released his second album, Sacrifice. Quentin’s latest club reinterpretation for Tony Award winner Billy Porter and India Arie’s duet “Carefully Taught” breathes a whole new life and potent relevance to Richard Rodgers’ “South Pacific” classic.
The complete Ultra Naté & Quentin Harris as Black Stereo Faith album is available now on iTunes, Spotify and all digital platforms.
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