Donna Ulisse, whose vocal performance was such a hit at last year’s Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremonies, is working on an album she intends to release by this fall. Rather than court a major record company to handle the project — as she initially planned — Ulisse and her support team will either create their own label or engage in a co-venture with an existing independent label.
Ulisse has not had a recording contract since leaving Atlantic Records (where she charted two singles) in 1992.
Besides writing songs for the new album, Ulisse is jointly producing it with songwriters Kerry Chater and Lynn Gillespie Chater. Kerry Chater’s songwriting credits include “You Look So Good in Love” (George Strait), “I.O.U.” (Lee Greenwood), “I Know a Heartache When I See One” (Jennifer Warnes), “What She Wants” (Michael Martin Murphey) and “Hey Mister (I Need This Job)” (Shenandoah).
Together the Chaters wrote “Trouble at the Door,” Ulisse’s last chart single, and “I Meant to Do That” (Paul Brandt).
“We’ve got four [songs] in the can,” Ulisse reports, “and we’re going to continue to cut all through May and, hopefully, get all the graphics done through the summer.”
Ulisse says her Hall of Fame “showcase” — which most of Nashville’s top songwriters witnessed — was enormously valuable to her. “I had great feedback from that,” she asserts, “and I’ve gotten great [song] writing appointments through it.”
Apart from her collaborations with the Chaters, Ulisse has also been co-writing with such other hitmakers as Richard Leigh, Carl Jackson, Tim Ryan, Wayland Patton and Curtis Wright. These alliances are paying off, she concludes, in the quality of songs she now has to work with. “Being an artist without a [record] deal,” she says, “you don’t get the ’A’ stuff. You really have to write it. To get the No. 1 records, I’m going to have to create them.”
Ray Johnson, of Hadley Music Group, is Ulisse’s manager and publisher.