Go Funk Yourself


By Japhy Grant

Nikka Costa has wandered in and out of the mainstream for years, with songs such as 'Like a Feather' and 'Everybody's Got Their Something.' After a stormy relationship with Virgin Records dissolved in 2004, Costa went off on her own. This fall, after a four-year hiatus, she released a new studio album, Pebble to a Pearl, under her own Go Funk Yourself label.

Costa's blend of funk, soul, blues and rock will grace tonight's Out 100 party. We asked the refreshingly honest singer about what it's like to come in from the cold, whether she and Amy Winehouse are soul sisters, and what she thinks of California's Proposition 8.

Out: You've been gone for four years. Where have you been?
Nikka Costa: I'd gotten off my major label and wanted to get back to the music I loved as a teenager -- Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Etta James. I wanted to get back to the joy of making music. I've had four different presidents in the time I was at my old label. It was frustrating and soul destroying. It was like being on a sinking ship. We know the industry's really changing, and I'm happy to be on my own now. What else? I had a baby. I played some gigs in L.A -- just trying to clear my head, you know?

It seems like every interview I've read with you has someone asking, 'Why are you not a bigger star?' It's a sort of backhanded compliment.
I don't even know how to respond to the 'Why aren't you bigger?' question. Whatever. I want to sell records, obviously, but I think my career is the thing that it is. There are enough musicians and producers out there making that kind of music and it doesn't interest me. All those songs are interchangeable. I'm not into music to be famous. I'm into capturing an experience and sharing it. It's a longer road, maybe, but it's the one I'm on.