We were lucky enough to interview Nikka Costa a couple weeks back and hang with her after the show in L.A. last Friday night. Nikka is one of the ultimate performers onstage, like a tiger with strike quick precision. Off stage, a total sweetheart who is hella-kind and patient and funny.
In part 1 of the Nikka Costa interview, we will discuss the new CD Pebble To A Pearl as well as the recording process.
Drfunkenberry.com: Your new CD, Pebble To A Pearl comes out October 14th, the first since the birth of your child and the first on an indie label. Was the recording process different with not having a label or deadlines this time?
Nikka Costa: Yea...well there were a few deadlines. We hadn't signed with anybody and we were doing it on our own. So actually we were on deadlines because we did not have a lot of time to record because we were paying for it ourselves and we knew we had 5 days in the studio to get it all done. It was really liberating though with not having any label breathing down our neck or anything. You know not anyone telling me what I should be doing or whatever. It was just very very liberating and it flowed really well because of everything.
DocFB: With the way the industry is now in this digital age, would you say these are trying times or exciting times as an artist?
Nikka: i think it's exciting. I think the old system is failing anyway and it's great there is so many different avenues now for artists to be heard and get their music out there and if you do a lot of the footwork and take the time to be kind of renegade about it, I think there is a lot of ways to reach people now.
Before, we were kind of paralyzed that we could only depend on a label to help us be heard and now it's kind of in our own hands which is a lot of work, but it is also great because I can take care of it myself.
DocFB: You said before that you are a fan of Jack White & The Black Stripes. What other artists do you like to listen to or see live?
Nikka: I like TV On The Radio. Mia. I mean I always go back to the older stuff like Chaka Khan.
DocFB: A lot of people especially your fans, feel that you have not recieved the recognition you deserve. Do you feel that way?
Nikka: I only feel that way when other people bring it up to me. Which happens often. (laughs) But I don't walk around feeling like that at all. It doesn't burn within me to that I haven't. I have just been doing my thing. Eventually, people will hear it and they will go back to my back catalog and I will have albums that I have made that I am proud of and they will be able to discover. It's better late than never. (laughs)
DocFB: You don't blame lack of promotion or anything else in the past at all?
Nikka: Well there was definitly issues with the lack of the record company where I felt that they did not hold up the end of the bargin. That's why I am not with them anymore. I am so happy to be out of there. I don't live in the past, staying in a negative mindset of they messed up or they should have done this or they should have done that. I just keep it moving and I am so happy that I had the chance to get out of there and then make another record and that their is fans that want to hear what I am doing and it makes it possible to where I feel lucky. You know, the cream always rises to the top. (laughs)
DocFB: Your completely right. The cream always rises to the top.
Nikka: I'm dorky ya know. I have had a life's worth of work.
DocFB: What's a normal day in the life of Nikka Costa?
Nikka: Hmm. Well, now I wake up with my kid and I play and we have tea parties (laughs) and then I do office things like interviews or whatever and then putting my band together for the tour and making outfits for it and just getting ready.
DocFB: You are now on tour and I must say that you are one of the best live acts out there. Your band is tight. You are very playful with the audience. Do you enjoy it as much as they do?
Nikka: Thank you. Oh yea! Totally. A, I love the sound and kind of throw away their inhibitions and just participate and I really believe a great show entails putting something into it, you and the crowd. Like we can put so much into it and if the audience isn't willing to put anything into it, you will have half as good as a show. So there is that challenge performing everytime like, will they clap, will they sing, and when they do it's just leads to having such a great time and it makes it's loose and so much fun. We really do have a great time.
DocFB: For those who have not seen you live yet, what can they expect when they come see a Nikka Costa show?
Nikka: Hmm. I hope they will be taken out of their daily problems for that hour and half and they will see something that is a little bit old school when it comes to a performance. Like crowd participation. They used to do that back in the day and now not so much. It's very raw. I don't have fans blowing on me. My make-up runs. I make ugly faces. We get down and dirty.
I hope there will be like this feeling that they were just at a cool party that they feel good at being at. Hopefully, they will be emotional as well, you know, like not just a party, like they feel the emotion of the song and run with it as well.
Coming up On Part 2 with our interview we will talk about if she sees herself pursuing acting, hanging with Prince & her thoughts on Sarah Palin.-Dr.FB