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Artist of the Week: Nikka Costa. From Frank Sinatra to Frank Wilson and back.

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Nikka is an artist of two distinct times. She started out very very young. Her first single was at age 5! The daughter of producer Don Costa, Nikka was around music all her life. Her father produced and arranged some of Frank Sinatra's most famous works including "Sinatra and Strings" as well as Frank's cover of the Paul Anka song "My Way." It was no surprise that Nikka was able to sing along side Frank on the white house lawn at age 9 and together on a single used for Nancy Reagan's foster grandparents program.

Here first solo hit came at around the same time, 1981 with the single "Out Here (On my Own)."

Traveling between europe and her home of America she became quite large among the european and spanish audiences. Her first album is ceritified platinum for Spain and her second childhood album "Fairy Tales" was a spanish album only released in europe and south america. Sadly, after the release of Fairy Tales in 1983, her father passed away. Nikka was only 11 at the time he had his heart attack.

After graduating high school, Nikka took her music in a different direction, shifting from her classic pop roots to a more funk, soul and motown style. Around this time she married producer Justin Stanley and moved to Australia. Her husband, Justin, is a producer who has worked with many artists including two legends we lost last year, Leonard Cohen and Prince. Justin also produced all of Nikka's adult albums, starting with her first album, 1996's "Butterfly Rocket" released only in Australia.

In 2000 she released the single "Everybody Got Their Something", a song featured in a ton of media including the pilot episode of Arrested Development.

That song's success led to her creating an album of the same name. The album's first single "Like A Feather" was used in a Tommy Hilfiger commercial campaign and helped expose her to the US audience.

Here is a little anecdote for you. Out of nowhere, my boss at Target gave me a copy of this album in ~2008ish as a gift. I guess it's cause I kept getting caught listening to music while working when we weren't supposed to have headphones on at all in the stock room (not even one ear!) so we ended up talking music several times. We clashed heads a lot, and no love lost between me and him, but it was nice he thought of me and I still appreciate it.

Always ones interested in digging into music crates to find stuff before it becomes big or after it's been overlooked, the Beastie Boys helped write one of the songs on this album. Listen closely and you can also clearly hear a sample of the Paul Boutique track "Car Thief" running through the entire song. Another well known crate digger, Questlove, plays drums on at least some of the album.

Push & Pull was covered by Prince on one of his live concert films, "Live at the Aladdin Las Vegas"

Her follow up, 2005's "can'tneverdidnothin'" also featured Questlove as well as Lenny Kravitz and Kravitz's regular collaborator Craig Ross.

In 2008 she released her currently most recent LP, Pebble to a Pearl. The album was released on her and her husband's independant label and features a cover of a song by the painfully overlooked Johnny "Guitar" Watson.

2011 she released an EP "Pro*Whoa!" which features so many cut songs and instrumentals it might as well have been an LP.

They nailed that 80s vibe in this video:

She is working on a new album through pledgemusic.com. In a probable nod to her father and Frank the album is called "Nikka and Strings." She says it will have a more orchestral sound like what she grew up around, including a string quartet.

Well, I guess That's All.

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About Khalid Eternal Nighone of us since 12:52 AM on 06.15.2015

Every time I think I know what I'm doing with my life, I forget.