Ursula Rucker

Spoken Word Artist

Karmalux Creative Inc. 715 S. 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Author's Bio

As a poet and performance artist, Ursula Rucker has enchanted critics and fans across
the globe with her diverse repertoire, captivating vocals, and accessible poetic verse.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, she began documenting her observations of the world
when she was just a girl. After graduating from Temple Universityʼs journalism program
and a stint at The Painted Bride Art Center, Ursula made her debut in 1994 at
Philadelphiaʼs famed jazz venue, Zanzibar Blue.
Producer King Britt invited her to create her first recording, the 1994 single,
“Supernatural” (Ovum/Slip N Slide UK). Critics have compared Ursula to Sonia Sanchez
and Nikki Giovanni. Coincidentally, when Shange was unable to provide The Roots with
a spoken word contribution for their debut album Do You Want More?!!?!! (Geffen,
1994), they called on her to fit the bill. “The Unlocking”, which closed the album,
introduced Ursula to the world of progressive hip-hop and led to subsequent invitations
to close The Roots follow-up albums Iladelph Halflife (Geffen, 1996) and Things Fall
Apart (MCA, 1999).
To date, Ursula has performed her work at an array of venues, universities, and festivals
including Montreaux Jazz Festival, Winter Music Conference, Theater of the Living Arts,
Painted Bride Art Center, World Café Live, and Drexel University. Ursula has toured with
Jamaaladeen Tacuma, SYLK130, and 4HERO in the United States and Europe. In 2001,
her !K7 debut Supa Sista introduced Ursula as a solo artist with a strong lyrical voice.
Her 2003 release, Silver and Lead further extended her exploration of self, race and
femininity. With maat mama (!K7, 2006) Ursula once again showed a new level of
maturity in her writing.
Ursulaʼs most recent release, Ruckus Soundsysdom, executive produced by King Britt
for his FiveSixMedia imprint, takes listeners on a journey into her various sonic
influences. Producers include King, Dego (4Hero), Rich Medina, Fish Eye, RucylTim Motzer, and others. A proud mother of four, Ursula currently lives in northwest Philadelphia.

Publications & Prizes

Northampton Community College - Bethlehem, PA (2009)
Penn State Harrisburg - Pennsylvania (2009)
Sweeney Gallery , University of California Riverside - California (2009)
Bohemian Caverns - Washington, DC (2008)
Kelly-Strayhorn Theater - Pittsburgh, PA (2008)
Philadelphia Folk Festival - Schwenksville, PA (2008)
World Cafe Live - Philadelphia, PA (2008)
Prizes won: 

She recently
received a grant from the Leeway Foundation to complete an epic poem for a
collaboration with Pullitzer-prize winning photographer Clarence Williams. Rucker is also
a 2008 recipient of the Leeway Transformation Award, which is given to artists in the
Philadelphia region who have been engaged in art for social change for give years or

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
African American, Italian American
Prefers to work with: 
Fluent in: 
Born in: 
Raised in: 
Philadelphia, PA
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last update: May 13, 2009