Ursula Rucker is an American spoken word recording artist. Rucker is known for a diverse repertoire, and for using techniques that catch her listeners’ attention.
Ursula Rucker is one of the premiere spoken word recording artists in the music industry today. As a poet and performance artist, Ursula has enchanted critics and fans across the globe with her diverse repertoire, captivating vocals and accessible poetic verse.
Since 1994, Ursula has shared her songwriting talent and mesmerizing voice with an array of recording artists and producers including King Britt, 4 Hero, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Josh Wink and The Roots. Each was drawn to the soft spoken eloquence and undeterred honesty which have become Ursula’s signature.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Ursula began documenting her observations of the world when she was just a girl. A graduate of Temple University’s journalism program, she kept her creative writing as a prized, personal possession until she was prepared to share her gift with the world. In 1994, Ursula introduced an open-mic night audience at Philadelphia’s Zanzibar Blue to the beauty and urgency of her poetry.
Word quickly spread throughout the city of Ursula’s poetry and stage performance, which has been described as “strong, vulnerable, wounded and raging.” Producer King Britt was quick to recognize Ursula’s talent and invited her to create her first spoken word recording, the 1994 club classic, Supernatural.
Dance music fans and spin doctors were quickly enamored with Ursula’s mystical vocals. According to Britt, while the original and remixes of Supernatural were celebrated in clubs all over the globe, the most popular version remains the acapella.
Critics were quick to compare Ursula to celebrated writers like Sonia Sanchez and Nikki Giovanni. Coincidentally, when Ntozake Shange was unable to provide The Roots with a spoken word contribution for their debut album Do You Want More?!!?!!, they called on Ursula to fit the bill. The Unlocking, which closed Do You Want More?!!?!!, introduced Ursula to the world of progressive hip-hop and led to subsequent invitations to close The Roots follow-up albums Iladelph Halflife and the certified gold record Things Fall Apart.
The alluring poetic tales Ursula created for The Roots contain subject matter that was motivated by genuine concern and heightened consciousness. Whether exploring sexual exploitation as in The Unlocking or introducing the lifestyle of a crack-dealing single mother in “The Adventures in Wonderland”, Ursula provided listeners with an intimate glimpse of urban reality.
Ursula has been described as part of a growing movement that is slowly adapting its aural sensibilities to women, particularly in the hip-hop and urban music divisions. Counteracting male artists who casually linger on tales of black whoredom, Ursula plays an essential role in the rise of a new crop of female recording artists who deliver strong, intelligent, and visionary feminine flavor.
In countless reviews, many critics cite the value of Ursula’s work with The Roots, 4 HERO and others. The onslaught of press inquiries resulted in nods, features and demands for more of her work, in URB, VIBE, XXL, Panache, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Straight No Chaser.
To date, Ursula has performed her work at an array of venues, universities and festivals including the Montreux Jazz Festival, the 1999 Winter Music Conference, the Theater of the Living Arts, the Painted Bride Arts Center, and Drexel University. Ursula has toured with Jamaaladeen Tacuma, SYLK130, and 4 HERO in the United States and Europe.
Ursula is pleasantly surprised by the reception her spoken word recordings and live performances have received. With inquiries for live performances throughout the United States and Europe, Ursula is looking forward to presenting her work, with original accompaniment by DJ/Producer Robert Yancey III, during the summer of 1999.
Ursula’s upcoming releases include the mermaid-fantasy driven Circe for Guidance Recordings’ spoken word compilation Urban Renewal and the haunting single Soon for Unbound, a benefit album for Mumia Abu-Jamal. Additionally, the highly anticipated re-release of Supernatural will be dropped in the UK on Slip N’ Slide in the near future. In September, Ursula will settle into recording sessions for her first solo album on Ovum Recordings.
- A graduate of Temple's journalism school, Rucker made her poetic debut in 1994 at Philly's celebrated Zanzibar Blue.
- Rucker is known for a diverse repertoire, for unique poetry techniques and stage presence that catch her listeners' attention, both of which have brought her critical acclaim and widespread praise from fans. She combines social awareness with womanhood, black culture, and love for something musically alluring.)
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