Kevin "K.O." Olusola, Antoniette Costa and Tara Kamangar
Photo: Drew Altizer
Antoniette Costa, Tara Kamangar And Kevin "K.O." Olusola Visit The Recording Academy
Singer/songwriter Antoniette Costa, pianist/violinist/composer Tara Kamangar and cellist/beatboxer Kevin "K.O." Olusola recently visited The Recording Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., to participate in an exclusive GRAMMY.com interview and perform a brief acoustic set. The trio discussed their collaboration, music education, their biggest individual career moments, and the possibility of recording an album together, among other topics, and performed songs such as Costa's "Void Of A Legend" and "Stranded."
"From the first time I met [Kevin] I felt a friendship there from the start and a musical chemistry," said Costa. "We wanted to do more songs and I met Tara … and we worked on one of my songs, 'Stranded,' and that was how we came together."
"Having different talents and different ideas about how music should be done [creates] a really interesting collaboration that I think people will enjoy," added Olusola.
Costa, who began writing songs in middle school, was inspired to pursue a songwriting career by a series of poems she found written by her Aunt Lilly, who passed away in 2004. The following year Costa independently released her debut album, Breakthru, which featured 12 songs and was dedicated to her aunt. The album caught the interest of rapper Dice Raw and the Roots' manager Richard Nichols. Nichols subsequently produced Costa's single, "Ready To Make It Work," which featured GRAMMY winners James Poyser, Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson and Steve Jordan, and Kindred The Family Soul.
In 2011 Costa teamed with cellist/beatboxer Olusola to record an acoustic rendition of her song "Void Of A Legend." Inspired to combine cello with beatboxing while studying in China, Olusola also plays saxophone and was part of the winning a cappella group, Pentatonix, on "The Sing-Off" in 2011. Olusola has garnered more than 3.7 million views on YouTube with his covers of songs by Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys, Dr. Dre, and Justin Bieber, among others.
On "Stranded," Costa teamed with Olusola and Persian-born pianist/violinist Kamangar. Born to a musical family, Kamangar has been playing piano and violin since age 3. She attended London's Royal Academy of Music where she completed postgraduate studies in piano performance. Her debut solo classical album, East Of Melancholy: Piano Music From Russia To Iran, is forthcoming.
With musical backgrounds that span R&B, pop, hip-hop, and classical, the trio has created a unique sound of their own and have future plans to record an album together.
"Trying to figure out how to bring these three completely different ideas together into something that people will enjoy is difficult, but it's going to be something that people will eventually catch on to," said Olusola.