Power of Soul

Nikka Costa

By Craig D. Lindsey
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Oct. 15, 2008

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"We basically made Pebble to a Pearl on our own dime, and it was great," she says. "It was a totally liberating and amazing experience. I could make whatever I wanted, could do whatever I wanted and it was, like, so freeing. And fast. We did 15 songs in five days."

Recording at Henson Studios (formerly A&M Studios) in L.A., Costa rounded up some true players for Pebble, including James Poyser on keyboards (who performed on Something) and the peerless James Gadson on drums. Little did Costa know another label, a more legendary one when it comes to soul, had its eye on her.

She recalls, "At the end, we were mixing and Stax had gotten word that I was making a record and they wanted to hear it. And then once they heard it, they were just like, you know, aggressively kinda wanting me to be on the label. So it was nice to be associated with a label that has such a historic stamp--for soul music, especially. And also, to be with a label that really wanted what I was already doing, not wanting to change me. Because, in the past, it was kinda always like, 'You're really great. But God, if you would sing more like Kelly Clarkson, we could really do something with you.'"

Considering Kelly Clarkson doesn't sound like Kelly Clarkson anymore, it appears Costa made the right move in flying the Virgin coop. She wouldn't have landed in the caring palms of an immortal soul empire if she didn't. Bottom line: Costa is just glad to be doing what she wants to do, especially for a label that appreciates her. And that's all that's worth talking about.

But I'm still cursing myself out for not bringing up Janis.

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