Friday, June 30, 2017
Singer Nikka Costa is well known for combining music with elements of funk, soul, and blues. The vocal powerhouse and force of nature took a stylistic detour with her first full album in nearly a decade that was entirely crowd-funded and recorded one day, Nikka & Strings, Underneath and In Beneath. The release, which includes covers that hold a very personal meaning and some new material, was inspired by her residency at Largo in L.A., where she sang with a small rhythm section.
Though the LP features some nice and listenable moments, the performances come off too stilted and restrained. They stood in a sharp, dramatic contrast to Costa’s unforgettable live show at The Teragram Ballroom.Nikka, who can literally sing anything and definitely puts her own original stamp on it, immediately grabs the audience from the very first towering note that goes beyond anything one would consider conventional. Nikka has a multi-octave range that is staggering. She emotes in a way that is comparable to volcanic emotional eruption and doesn’t let go.
Clearly thrilled to be onstage and be among her many fans that shouted requests throughout the show, Nikka was feisty, sassy and exuded sex appeal wearing a sheer black cover-up with sequins on it and black leotard underneath with metallic open-toe stilettos. Very talkative between songs, the wild raven-haired singer always quick with a great story to tell about making the new album, balancing a career and motherhood and sharing anecdotes about her father, the famous producer and arranger Don Costa. She also thanked the audience for successfully crowd funding her release and jokingly hinted about seeking their support once again when she embarks on her tour.
Backed by a wonderful, versatile band, her creative and skillful interpretation of “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Stormy Weather” and Jeff Buckley’s “Lover, You’ve Should Have Come Over” were among the set’s standout numbers. New original song, “Arms Around You,” put Nikka in a reflective mood sharing her feelings about letting those you love and care for know now and not wait until they are gone.
With screams of Nikka for president and deafening cheers to come back to the stage, Nikka encored her show with Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Prince and Nikka shared a friendship and worked together. It’s a testament to her talent and brilliance he recognized a kindred musical spirit. That was also something her audience also had the pleasure experiencing at The Teragram Ballroom: something really special.
Find Nikka online