After a successful summer tour in 2011, Nikka Costa is back at it again. The soulful powerhouse will be making a stop in Los Angeles and, from what we hear, is preparing to put on one hell of a show. Collaborating with some of the industry's most talented musicians (Mark Ronson, Eric Clapton and Adam Lambert to name a few), the Motown-inspired artist has an impressive musical repertoire, to say the least.
With a career spanning 30 years, Costa not only knows what it takes to put on a great performance, but she also knows what it takes to make incredible music. Over the weekend we were lucky enough to catch up with Costa to chat about her latest EP, PRO★WHOA, and her show at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex this Saturday.
What were some of the factors that influenced your newest EP PRO★WHOA?
I didn't really feel like making a funk record this time around and wanted to play more with sounds and with electronic beats. I kind of just wanted to experiment and open my envelope a little bit.
Was there anything different about the song writing process of PRO★WHOA in comparison to past albums?
The song writing process is kind of always the same. There will be a track or something that inspires a melody and then we'll build up the track. Then I'll take it, work on melodies and add lyrics to it. But the recording process is very different because I used two different producers and we were really never in the same room until mixing. So I would literally take the hard drive from one producer and bring it to the other guy and he'd add stuff to it. We'd just go back and forth, which is actually pretty cool!
What emotions do you feel when performing songs off PRO★WHOA? Are they different than the emotions you feel when performing songs off of previous albums?
There are definitely some different kinds of flavors on PRO★WHOA. I was kind of experimenting with rapping, which is kind of funny but also really fun. It was really based on rhythms and stuff, which was kind of the heart of the inspiration for the whole EP. A lot of people say that PRO★WHOA is a little bit more aggressive than my past albums.
Last summer, a blog dedicated to female musicians titled The Sirens of Song dubbed you the "hardest working woman in show business." What goes into the preparation process before touring and performing?
We rehearse a lot! My band laughs and teases me because, of all the people they play with, I'm always the one trying to schedule a million rehearsals. But I do it because I feel like the live show needs to be its own thing. I don't just want to learn the songs and then play them because I feel like as an audience member, if you're going to pay for a ticket you deserve to see an amplified version of what you've been hearing in you car, CD player or iPod. So, it takes a lot of time, thought and rehearsal. We really try to mix it up and do different versions of songs or do big call and response things during certain songs because I like the show to be interactive. I feel like people have a lot more fun that way.
Is there anything different about this tour in comparison to the last tour?
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I always try to throw in some songs we haven't done in a while, especially when playing in L.A. because there a lot of people who come often and revisit my shows. I like to keep it slightly fresh and new for those who keep coming back. So, there are going to be some differences, but it's difficult to put my finger on just one thing. I know my outfit will be different! [Laughs]
What would you like first time listeners or new Nikka Costa fans to know about your up coming tour or show?
Don't expect the music to sound exactly like it does on the record and make sure to wear comfortable shoes! It's about a party and I will hassle you to get up out of your seat for sure! [Laughs]
Nikka Costa performs at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex this Saturday.