A few weeks ago I found myself sitting at a crowded bar, arms resting on the well worn bar, drink in hand getting lost in the music (as usual).Â I’m one of those guys that taps along to the beat or nods his head to whatever is playing–whether I know the song or not. Â I’d had a rough day at work and needed to escape my reality for a bit with music. Â As the songs cross-faded I’d heard something I’d often only heard play in my headphones from my iPod–but never out loud at a bar before. Â Immediately my face turned from a somber, “I just had the longest day of work ever” to a “Am I really hearing this?” face.Â I can’t keep the smile down as I find myself nodding along and mouthing the words to Nikka Costa’s “Everybody Got Their Something” from the album of the same name. Â After listening to her sing for a bit I found myself singing along with Nikka on the chorus and look around to see if it’s quite possible that anyone else is feeling it like I am–and one person is:Â the DJ.Â
My love for Nikka Costa dates back to when “Like A Feather” appeared in a Tommy Hilfiger commercial.Â I couldn’t escape the commercial and I desperately searched to find out who was singing and where I could get this song–I had to have it…and I wanted more.Â I should give her some credit for my interest in soul (that has truly expanded since Costa’s 2001 debut). For me, there was nothing wrong with her debut–“Everybody Got Their Something”. Â I wouldn’t say perfect, but a damn good introduction to this girl who was such a fusion of funk, soul, blues, rock…and so much more. Â It was all over the place–funky jams and slow jams–but it made you think, “Who is this girl and where’d she come from?”
Four years later after some delay, “can’tneverdidnothin'” landed in stores. Â I was happy to know she hadn’t disappeared into oblivion, though it’s hard to live up to a great debut–although here in the U.S. she had never really receieved the love and praise she’d deserved. Â Album opener “Til I Get To You” was a nice romp through the alphabet, though I was more partial to the ballads “Fooled Ya Baby” and “I Gotta Know”. Â Overall, the album was ok and satisfied my need for some more Nikka Costa. Â The following year she popped up on “Mean Sleep” a duet with R&B singer Van Hunt. Â
Finally this year after a three year absence she re-emerged this year signed to classic soul record label, Stax. Â Maybe she picked the right time to put this album out–as the “old soul” sound has become insanely popular in the last few years. Â This album “feels” old to me–definitely worthy of the Stax imprint on the record. Â “Stuck To You” the album opener had been floating around a bit online for quite a while and gave me the impression that the album would have that classic sound. Â Maybe I’m just a sappy guy, but for me the most impressive tracks are the slow jams, “Without Love” and “Loving You”–which is not a Minnie Ripperton cover. Â I find myself in a smoky jazz club when listening to “Loving You”. Â Crowd snapping, nodding along, shouthing, “Uh-huh” and “Yeah” to agree with Costa while she sings.
Will she ever recieve the priase she deserves? Â In my opinion, probably not–though it happens. She’ll always kind of be a “best kept secret” I share with friends on mixes and playlists. Â She’ll always be out of this world–but in a good way.
As “Everybody Got Their Something” began to crossfade into the next song I got up from my seat and finished my drink. Â I walked over to the DJ, put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Thanks…that was just what I needed…some soul to take me back and end this day on a good note.”