Nikka Costa releases new album ‘Nikka & Strings, Underneath and In Between’
Released on June 2nd 2017 by Metropolis Recordings
Includes the single “Nothing Compares 2 U”
Pre-order the new album from Amazon.co.uk & iTunes
Available on Standard CD Digipack with 8 page booklet
Digital album release (stream / download)
Standard 12″ black heavyweight vinyl design
Deluxe double 12″ vinyl gatefold with special edition slip case
plus live to vinyl and live performance on USB
“This album really started as a tiny seed that took on a life of its own after so many people were so generous with their time, faith and talent. What started out as just an excuse to do a couple of gigs, while I tried to figure out what my next record was going to be about, ended up snowballing into this amazing project and I couldn’t be more grateful and thrilled!”
“Most albums require an enormous amount of mountain moving and this one was no different. From its inception through the making of this record I lost 2 dear friends and supporters and my angel of a dog, not to mention the emotional charge of singing over one of my late father’s arrangements. This album has given me the chance to grieve as well as celebrate and I hope you hear and feel it all when you’re listening. It’s been a gift for me and I’m excited to give it to you!”
Nikka Costa – Los Angeles, March 2017
Nikka Costa who is best known for 2001 album Everybody Got Their Something which featured the hit single Like A Feather, is back with her first new full album since 2011’s ProWoah EP. Entitled “Nikka & Strings, Underneath and In Between” – the new album sees the celebrated soul, funk and blues singer dipping her toes in a refreshing collection of songs backed by a luscious string quartet. Nikka is back in full swing with a collection of heartfelt songs that gives the listener more intimate and personal insight into her unique musical style than ever before.
One of the fascinating inspirations behind the new album was her father’s (Don Costa) original arrangement of Come Rain Or Come Shine, one of Frank Sinatra’s classics. One day, Nikka was cleaning out her office and discovered an arrangement that her father wrote for Sinatra which was originally written for a 50 piece orchestra. Nikka wanted to record her own version of her father’s original arrangement, but decided to record it with a string quartet. It was this idea that set the tone of the new album Nikka & Strings, Underneath and In Between.
Another highlight on the new album is Nikka’s homage to Prince on her rendition of the classic Nothing Compares 2 U. Six months before Prince’ untimely death, Nikka and her band had been performing the song at her live shows. She says, “It was always a favourite song of ours. It’s such an amazing song with such a clear and concise message. With strings it really hit home again for a lot of people.”
Now, whenever Nikka performs her version of Nothing Compares 2 U in front of a live audience, it’s an overwhelming and emotional experience. “We all had our own special relationship with Prince,” says Nikka. “Whether you were a fan or a friend of his. Whenever I sang it and to this day it puts a really emotional charge in the room.”
Recorded in just one day, the new album is produced by Justin Stanley (Eric Clapton, Prince, Beck, Jamie Lidell) and Bob Clearmountain (Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Rolling Stones) at Henson Studios in Los Angeles. Nikka & Strings was also mixed and engineered by Clearmountain. The new album sees a deeply emotional and poignant collection of heartfelt songs performed with vulnerability, passion and honesty. The songs are a testament of Nikka’s special way of combining soul, blues, and funk into her own signature style.
Growing up as legendary producer and music arranger, Don Costa’s (Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra) daughter, Nikka broke on to the music scene with an intuitive sensibility for the soulful sound from 2001’s Everybody Got Their Something album that has since kept her place as a forerunner among the new breed of soul singers. During this time, she toured with Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Coldplay and Beck, recorded with Mark Ronson, was nominated for an MTV Music Award and had hit singles in Europe. Known for her dynamic and energetic live performances Nikka’s voice and stage presence has often been compared with Janis Joplin, Chaka Khan and Sly Stone.
The new album also features a new song co-written with Justin Parker (Lana Del Rey). When they co-wrote the song, Nikka and Justin talked about their feelings surrounding the times when you lose someone dear to you. They wanted to create a song that talked about how people always have so much to say to someone once they are gone. “It’s important to say it when they are alive,” reflects Nikka. Entitled Arms Around You, it’s one of the most personal, emotionally charged and deeply moving icing-on-the-cake highlights from the new album.
Produced by Justin Stanley & Bob Clearmountain
Engineered & Mixed by: Bob Clearmountain
String arrangements by Jeff Babko
Engineering: Justin Stanley
Assistant Engineer: Sergio Ruelas Jr.
2nd Assistant: Kyle Stevens
Recorded at Henson Studios
Additional recording at the Apogee Studio & Clear Lake Studios
Mixed at Mix This!
Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering
Management by Andre Recke
String Arrangements & Piano by Jeff Babko except “Come Rain Come Shine” arranged by Don Costa, rearranged by Jeff Babko
Shawn Davis- Bass except tracks 4 &11
Sean Hurley- Acoustic Bass on tracks 4 & 11
Aaron Redfield – Drums
Songa Lee – First Violin
Marisa Kuney – Second Violin
Caroline Buckman – Viola except tracks 5, 8 & 10
Tim Loo – Cello
Tom Lea- Viola on tracks 5, 7, 8 & 10
Elizabeth Lea on tracks 3 & 11
Kevin Ball – Triangle
Thanks to all our friends who came in and sang their hearts out:
Jamie Lidell – track 5
Shonka Dukureh – track 5
Gerald Jenkins – track 5
Holly Palmer – track 1
Lucy Woodward – track 1
Jenny Karr – track 1
Danielle Vaughn- track 1
Arnold Mcculler – tracks 1, 5 & 8
Fred White – tracks 1, 5 & 8
Lamont Van Hook – tracks 1, 5 & 8
ALBUM TRACK BY TRACK BY NIKKA COSTA
- 1. NOTHING COMPARES 2 U
We had been playing this song live for a few months. It was always a favorite of ours since it’s such an amazing song with such a clear and concise message and with strings it really seemed to hit home again for a lot of people. Just to hear it in a new way after so many years, I think people really related to it. I was excited to record it and send it over to Prince but unfortunately he passed away before we recorded. The first time I sang it after his death to an audience was really difficult and emotional. We all had our own special relationship to him, whether you were a fan or a friend of his, so whenever I sang it and still to this day it puts a really emotional charge in the room.
2. AIN’T THAT PECULIAR
When I was choosing songs for this live show with strings, I was very free with just letting myself pick songs that moved me or that were just really fun to sing. This is one of those songs. It’s got a great swing and the flipped version makes it almost unrecognisable which I love. It’s also a nice bridge from my older stuff to this record stylistically.
- 3. LOVE TO LOVE YOU LESS
This is one of my all-time favorite songs I’ve written. Originally it was on my Pebble To APearl record and since it’s so fun to play live I had to include it on this string record. It’s like a saucy Ray Charles kinda blues tune but if you listen to the lyrics it’s not your classic love lost tune. It is very tongue and cheek. I think pretty much sums up my Gemini personality, ha!
4. COME RAIN OR COME SHINE
This is the most special song on this record to me hands down. We were a day away from our first show, I was cleaning out my office and came across an arrangement my dad, Don Costa, did for Frank Sinatra. I don’t have many things of my Dads so this truly was a rare find and I had NO IDEA I had it…I immediately called Jeff (Babko) and said you gotta come check this out! Is this what I think this is?! He came over and we discovered it is the arrangement he did for Sinatra for their recording of Come Rain for Reprise Records. I asked Jeff if he could squash it down from a 50 piece orchestra to a string quartet and he said he’d do his best…I think he did an AMAZING job and it was no easy feat. He captured all the essence of it and I don’t really miss anything from the original. It’s a true joy to play it live and to have it recorded. It’s like being able to be with my dad in some way every time…it’s really special.
5. CRY TO ME
This song is just a great song to sing and I think people can relate to the lyric. It’s always a good one to do for a bit of fun woven throughout the other more emotional songs on the record.
6. ARMS AROUND YOU
Justin Parker and I had just met for this writing session and we sat at Henson Studios and just went through all our emotions surrounding having lost friends and loved ones over the past year. I wanted to write about how we always have so much to say to someone once they are gone but it’s so important to say it when they are here… A month later we were recording the album in that very studio. It was a beautiful full circle moment. I really love this song.
This tune was one of my favorite off my ProWhoa EP. That was probably the most electronic record I’ve done and it was super fun to hear this song reimagined with strings. It’s sexy and haunting and still has the funk I love. I think Jeff’s arrangement is beautiful and swirling and trippy and I just love it.
8. LOVER YOU SHOULD’VE COME OVER
I’ve wanted to play this song for a really long time. It’s such an epic song melodically, lyrically and of course Jeff Buckley was such a genius but it never seemed to fit on any other album I did. It needed to be the right moment in time for me I guess. It never felt right until now with this band and at this time in my life.
Much like Nothing Compares, we had put it in the show, played it a few times and then a dear friend of mine passed away suddenly. He was instrumental in my career, signed me to my first record deal in the US and was responsible for helping me come into my own as an artist, writer and performer. He meant so much to me and I was gutted to lose him. I went to record this song with a heavy heart fresh from his memorial and it was one of the hardest things to do. But it was cathartic as music has a way of being and I’m so grateful this song is on this album so it may be cathartic for someone else. Sounds cliché but it’s true…
9. SILVER TONGUE
Many years ago Prince had emailed asking for a poem. I sent him these lyrics. What he sent back to me was an amazing jazz song with just him singing with piano. I was so blown away. I really wanted to record it but it never fit on any of my records. His version is the B side for his single Call Your Name and it’s one of my proudest moments to have written a song with him that he wanted to record. When we were getting ready to record this album we listened through so much of my old stuff and stumbled across it again and thought it actually fit perfectly on this record. We had to do it!
10. DON’T LET THE SUN CATCH YOU CRYING
I chose to do this song because I love the sass and empowerment aspect of the lyric and the changes in the bridge make it not your average blues tune.
11. STORMY WEATHER
This song has been a favorite of mine for so many years. I always sing it in the shower ha! Judy Garland does such an amazing version on her Live at Carnegie Hall it makes you cry. Her vulnerability and rawness has always really spoken to me. I wanted to see if I could do it justice and put my take on it out into the world…kind of like some scary personal challenge. I will never be the beast that Judy Garland was but it was an awesome mountain to try and climb and I’m so glad it’s on this record.
NIKKA COSTA – BIOGRAPHY
- Released 1st record in 1980 at the age of 8 years.
- Sold over one million copies in South America, Israel and Europe, including France.
- Toured extensively throughout Europe & South America including opening for The Police in 1982 in Chile to 300,000 people.
- Released 2nd record in 1982 and also toured extensively in Europe & South America.
- Recorded with Frank Sinatra and performed with him at the White House.
- Released 3rd record in 1987 in Europe & toured to promote.
- Released 4th record in 1995 in Australia & New Zealand.
- Nominated for ARIA “Best New Artist” award.
- Toured extensively throughout both Australia and New Zealand.
- Released “Everybody Got Their Something” in 2001 through Virgin Records.
- Performed on the last Chris Rock Show at his request.
- First single, “Like a Feather” became the theme song for Tommy Hilfiger’s national ad campaign.
- Featured in Gap commercial.
- Toured Europe and the U.S. extensively with various acts including Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, Coldplay, AC/DC & Beck, as well as headlining her own tours.
- Nominated for “Best New Artist” at the MTV Awards in 2001.
- Sang the opening title song “Call Me” in the movie Zoolander in 2001.
- Performed at Yamaha’s “Elton John Tribute Concert” with various artists such as Elton John, Norah Jones, Ray Charles, and John Mayer among others, and received a standing ovation for her rendition of “Levon”.
- Performed her song “Push & Pull” with Prince on his “Live At the Aladdin Las Vegas” DVD in 2002.
- Wrote “Silver Tongue” with Prince, which became the B-side to Prince’s single “Call Your Name”.
- Released “Can’t Never Did Nothin’” on Virgin Records in 2005
- Toured Europe and America with Lenny Kravitz as well as a sold out headlining tour of her own.
- Guest vocalist on the new Van Hunt record “Mean Sleep”.
- Licensed a number of songs to film and TV including “Push & Pull” end title song in the movie Blow.
- Special guest at the Prince show in the UK at the O2 during August and September 2007.
- Tracks from her albums have been used for various licenses including Nissan, Pantene, Sears, Grey’s Anatomy, Ugly Betty, Bones, The Practice, The Bernie Mac show, Entourage, Nip/Tuck, the Banger Sisters, Billy Elliot, About a Boy, Blue Crush, Underbelly and the list goes on and on.
- Nikka’s likeness and music was part of Levi’s “unbutton” print and online campaign in 2008.
- The “Pebble To A Pearl” album was released 2008 on her label “Gofunkyourself Records” on Stax Records.
- Featured vocalist on “Kick” & “Devil Inside” (with Ben Harper) on INXS Original Sin in 2010.
- “ProWhoa” EP was released June 21, 2011.
- Nikka toured US and Europe in 2011.
- Opened for Prince on the 21 Nights at the Forum Tour in Los Angeles in April 2011.
- Nikka co-wrote 2 songs on Eric Clapton’s “Old Sock” album in 2013.
Nikka Costa Online