NIKKA COSTA (real name Domenica) was born on June 4, 1972. She is the daughter of the late Don Costa, who produced many big hit records in the 1950s, including the classic #1 hit "Diana" by Paul Anka, and many of Frank Sinatra's hits on Capitol. Don Costa had some chart hits of his own, including "Never On Sunday." Nikka was raised in Los Angeles, but she was born in Tokyo, while her family was over there during the Tokyo Music Festival.
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When Nikka was about 7 or 8, she recorded an album produced by her father called "Nikka Costa." Although Nikka is American, this album was released only overseas and not in the U.S. Shortly after, she recorded her second album, "Fairy Tales," which again was not released in the States. This little girl had an absolutely astonishing voice for someone so young, and this voice was noticed and praised around the world. Her first album went platinum in Europe, Israel, South America, and Central America. Nikka remembers opening for The Police in Chile in front of 300,000 people when she was 8 years old.
It should be noted that one of her best early songs, "So Glad I Have You," was co-written by Nikka herself and her mother Terry Ray Costa.
Nikka's single "Out Here On My Own" was a big hit in the Netherlands and other places in Europe, and it looked as if she was on the verge of a long string of hits. However, her father Don passed away in January 1983 (Quincy Jones did the eulogy at the funeral) when Nikka was 10, and that seemed to bring a halt to her singing career. Nothing more was heard from Nikka for many years, and many wondered if she would ever record again.
Then, when Nikka was a teenager, she released a "comeback" album, appropriately titled, "Here I Am, Yes It's Me." This album, recorded for a German label, was widely released all over the world--except in the U.S. where she had never had any following anyway. Whereas her first two albums were more in an adult contemporary vein, this one was more pop-rock oriented, somewhat similar in style to that of the brilliant and extraordinarily talented American teenage singer of the same era, Debbie Gibson.
Later, in 1981, Frank Sinatra had recorded a song called "To Love A Child" in Los Angeles for First Lady Nancy Reagan's To Love A Child foundation, with Don Costa producing. There was a children's chorus on this song led by none other than Nikka Costa, who had one solo verse but was credited on the record. It was also performed by Sinatra and Nikka on the East Lawn of the White House. This is the ONLY record ever released in the U.S.A. prior to 2001 with Nikka on it. Currently, the only place this song is available is on Sinatra's multi-CD box set on Reprise records.
Many years passed, and Nikka grew up, married, and moved to Australia. Fortunately, for her fans, she began to record again. In 1996 or early 1997 she put out an album in Australia called "Butterfly Rocket" and several singles from it. It was critically acclaimed Down Under, and word of it began to leak out to the world, thanks to the Internet, and Nikka fans eagerly ordered the album. Meanwhile, the album earned Nikka a nomination for Best New Artist at the Australian Recording Industry Awards. It was very different from the others she has done and a far cry from "Out Here On My Own," but she wanted everyone to know that she is all grown up and wanted everyone to see her and listen to her in that way now. But there was no mistaking her superb voice, and once again Nikka was being heard on radio, but only in Australia. On her Australian album, her vocal intensity reminds me a lot of the late, great, Janis Joplin. Neither of Nikka's first two albums that she did in her childhood have ever been re-released on CD, and I suspect Nikka would just as soon have it that way, since she is an adult now and wants fans to pay attention to her modern rock-soul style.
In 1997 Nikka played some club dates in Los Angeles. Nikka and her husband had moved to Austin, Texas, and he had joined the police force there. However, later on they were back in Australia, and her husband re-entered the music business working with Leonardo's Bride on their album Angel Blood. What's next for Nikka? Right now in early 2001 we are eagerly awaiting the "Like A Feather" single and the new album. Maybe this will finally be Nikka's year in the USA!
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