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Nikka Costa

Marzo 2009
All’inizio degli anni ‘80 ebbe un successo strepitoso perchè aveva otto anni e cantava da grande. La sua canzone più famosa, “On My Own,” diventò un tormentone in tutta Europa. Anche se nessuno ne parla più, Nikka Costa fa ancora buona musica. Nonostante abbia un pessimo rapporto con le case discografiche.

di Mark Worden

File audio:

Nikka Costa (Corbis)
Nikka Costa (Corbis)

Speaker: Chuck Rolando (Standard American accent)

Italian-American Nikka Costa was a child pop star during the early 1980s. She seemed to disappear soon after that, but in actual fact that she has continued with her professional singing career.
Nikka Costa’s real name is Domenica Costa and she was born in Tokyo on June 4th, 1972. She came from a musical family: her father, Don Costa, was a composer and arranger, and her mother, Terry Ray Costa, was a singer. Her parents were friends with Tony Renis, the Italian singer and producer who co-wrote the international mega hit, “Quando Quando Quando.” Renis recognised the Costa daughter’s talent and helped launch her career.


Nikka’s most famous hit came in 1981, when she was just eight years old. “(Out Here) On My Own” was a big hit in Italy – which wasn’t surprising, given the Renis connection – but also in many other countries. Indeed the only country where it wasn’t a hit was in the United States, where Nikka lived. The single wasn’t released there. This was because Nikka’s parents wanted their daughter to have a normal childhood and not be ruined by success. In the USA the song was recorded by Irene Cara.
A couple of years later tragedy struck: Nikka was only 11 when her father died.  Nikka withdrew from music altogether, although she did make a return, as a teenager, at Italy’s Sanremo Festival in 1990. She sang “All For the Love,” as part of a trio with Italian stars Mietta and Amedeo Minghi. The 1990s saw only one album release, but Nikka seemed to make another comeback in 2001 with the album, Everybody’s Got Their Something. The title track was used for the TV series, Buffy, while another song, “Push & Pull,” was used for the soundtrack of the Johnny Depp movie, Blow. Her album, 2005’s Can’t Never Did Nothin’, was also well received and featured guest appearances from Prince and Lenny Kravitz. Her latest album, Pebble to a Pearl, was described by the critic David Wild as “her most direct and convincing musical statement yet.”


Like many artists today, Nikka Costa has not had a good relationship with record labels. She has said that being with a major label was like being “on the deck of the Titanic.” Today she has her own label and its name refers both to her musical style and to her attitude towards the record industry: it’s called “Go Funk Yourself Records.”

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in actual fact - in realtà.

hit - successo.

childhood - infanzia.

struck - colpì.

withdrew from music altogether - si ritirò dalla musica del tutto.

the title track - la canzone del titolo.

soundtrack - colonna sonora.

featured guest appearances - conteneva contributi di artisti ospiti.

Pebble to a Pearl - lett. Dal sasso alla perla.

her most... musical statement yet  - la sua produzione musicale più convincente fino ad ora.

record labels - case discografiche.