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Recording and releasing four albums in a single calendar year seems like a daunting feat to most musicians. For Leslie Costa, it’s simply a new challenge and the most productive way for her to artistically spring-clean her older songs.
Costa reclined against the couch in her Ridgefield home, as she clarified that two of the four albums she’s releasing this year consist of some of her older songs that she never got around to recording. “Electric Blue,” which was released in March, and “Rainmaker” coming out in August will feature tracks with her singing partner Mary O’Hare, who she has performed with for nearly 30 years. Some of the songs will also be known to fans of her band Leslie Costa & the Usual Suspects, whom she’s been performing with since the 90s.
Costa’s other two albums “Storm Chaser,” which dropped at the end of June and “Long Distance Runner,” to be released in October feature a solo Costa performing fresh tunes that she has written in the past year and a half.
“I have a huge amount of material and I want to be current. I want to feel like I’m done catching up,” she said.
How is she catching up? By physically recording and making the albums herself on her computer Costa doesn’t have to worry about paying for studio time or finding a producer to mix her songs. At this point she’s a self-recording veteran, having released two albums in 2018. Costa can’t help but create. In addition to writing, performing and recording Costa, who is also a graphic designer, makes the artwork for her albums.
Turning to her cat, Maddie, who was bathing in the afternoon sun, Costa laughed and admitted that she featured her cat on one of the songs on “Long Distance Runner.” She said she was recording her song, “Bridges” and didn’t realize Maddie was jingling her tags until she listened to the playback later and heard what she thought was a tambourine. “I decided kitty needs to be represented, so she’s in there with me. She will be making her album debut with the mama,” she joked.
She describes herself as a “middle of the road, soft rock” musician and admits her songs are on the moodier side. She grew up listening to Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles and Cat Stevens and credits them as her musical roots. Now Costa said she spends more time listening to indie folk musicians like Gregory Alan Isakov and Peter Bradley Adams. “I’m listening a lot to these newer artists and I feel inspired by them, their sounds, their points of view but my other influences are where my roots are.”
Costa has been creating music since she was 12 when she got her first guitar. It shouldn’t be too surprising considering her family’s musical background; her grandfather played guitar, her father played ukulele, and her mother played the piano and sang.