From the thirty-five second, funk-infused intro in her cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compare 2 U,” to the languorous string arrangements and unmistakable sultry vocals channeling Lena Horne in the eye of a hurricane on album closer “Stormy Weather,” Nikka Costa demonstrates on track after stunning track of her new album Nikka and Strings that, even when interpreting a song made famous by another artist, she is thrillingly and inescapably herself. Nikka and Strings is the latest milestone for an artist on a charmed and fascinating journey. As the daughter of legendary producer and arranger Don Costa, Nikka was born with music encoded in her DNA. Growing up around the likes of Frank Sinatra (her godfather), Paul Anka, and Sammy Davis Jr. (among many other musical luminaries), she was already a child star in Europe and had sung on the White House lawn with Sinatra before she was old enough to enroll in middle school. She recorded her first single, a Christmas duet with famed Hawaiian singer Don Ho, when she was just five years old. With the encouragement of her parents, she cut her eponymous debut album at eight, and her childhood in Los Angeles was punctuated by world travel and performances before enormous crowds. By just about any measure, it was an extraordinary way to come of age as both a woman and a musician.