A few years ago, there was a pretty popular Tommy tv commercial that I'd see CONSTANTLY. I can't remember if it was advertising clothes or perfume, but it was definitely on like every 5 minutes on every
single channel. The actual look of the commercial wasn't all that impressive or anything. The music playing in the background was the thing that stuck out. Whoever was singing could really blow and the song had such a good beat, that I was always thrilled when I saw the commercial 'cause it meant I could sing along to that awesome song again. I pictured the person who was singing as a middle aged black lady, who probably sang in her church as a kid and grew up idolizing Aretha Franklin. But I was certain I'd never find out who this lady was, although I figured she was probably just a session vocalist or something anyway.
Imagine my surprise when I turned on some music channel one day to catch the video for the song. I found out that it was called Like A Feather
. But there wasn't a middle aged black woman on my television screen. Instead there was a petite, white girl with big red hair, moving the way most white girls just didn't move. Immediately I thought, "No way! That voice is coming out of her
?" I couldn't believe it. But from that day on, I was a fan of Nikka Costa
Nikka's music is amazing. She sounds like she grew up with Stevie Wonder as a father, Janis Joplin as a mother, and Chaka Khan as her favorite Auntie. In reality though, her father Don Costa, was a producer for such legendary artists as Paul Anka, Dinah Washington, and Tony Bennett. And as if that wasn't rad enough, Nikka's godfather is none other than Old Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. She opened for Don Ho when she was five years old, and performed in front of 300,000 Police fans in Chile at the age of seven. She hung out with Sly Stone, Quincy Jones, and Sammy Davis Jr. in her dad's recording studio. Clearly, this girl was gonna grow up to be a singer. And boy, can she sing.
Throughout her earlier years, Nikka released quite a few albums in Europe, South America, and Israel, most going platinum. But she wasn't seeing that kind of success in America, which is often the case for many American born musicians who get their start in Europe. Nikka moved to Australia in her 20s and released the record Butterfly Rocket
in 1996. It was so good that Nikka received a "Best New Artist" nomination at the Australia Recording Industry Awards.
Nikka was a pro at this music thing when she released her 2001 record Everybody Got Their Something
. I felt fortunate to know about this record before it came out, and I pre-ordered it online. When it arrived, it was all that I wanted to listen to for weeks and weeks on end. Like A Feather
is a great song, but I was so amazed by how great the other tracks were. The whole record is amazing from start to finish. Nikka writes a lot about love: the good, the bad and the very ugly. Hope if Felt Good
is a FANTASTIC kiss off song where Nikka Sings "What if I was the one to leave your sorry ass behind/ What if all these tears that were fallin' were yours instead of mine/ What if I was proof a fool grows wiser by the minute/ What if I knew you were making your bed and just who was lying in it."
A slower and not as caustic track that I fell in love with is Push and Pull
. This song was featured on the soundtrack for the Johnny Depp movie Blow
. It's really slow, very soulful, and Nikka sings the hell out of it. So Have I For You
, which was written by the Beastie Boys is a really grooved out, chill song and Everybody Got Their Something
(which also seems to get played in a few commercials) is an upbeat track that expresses the notion that everyone is special in their own way.
Nikka has been compared to people like Joss Stone and Anastacia, but I think she's better than her peers, and massively underrated. She should be on MTV and VH1 at the same time, and she should be selling out huge ass venues, and she should be on the cover of Rolling Stone. So basically, everyone needs to buy her cds immediately.
A few months ago, VH1 aired Ego Trip's Race-O-Rama "Dude Where's My Ghetto Pass?"
. There are a few white people who get a ghetto pass, like Eminem, Michael Rappaport, and of course Nikka. I'm starting to think that in that tiny little body of hers there's a middle aged black lady lurking around somewhere. As far as I'm concerned, she's got a ghetto pass for life.
Nikka's newest cd, Can'tneverdidnothin'
, was released earlier this year and like her previous record, its funky and soulful, just like Nikka herself. It was really hard to pick a couple of tracks to post 'cause I love them all. But if you like what you hear below, please please please go out and get her cds. You won't be disappointed.
(from Everybody Got Their Something
Like A Feather So Have I For You Hope It Felt Good Push and Pull
'Til I Get to You Can'tNeverDidNothin' Swing it Around