Music has long been a common denominator between husband and wife Joseph and Martina Costa, who comprise the rising musical duo Terra Bella.
For Joseph, that love of music was kindled before he got to high school.
“I got my start while in junior high,” Costa tells Sounds Like Nashville. “I was in drum line, which led me to playing drum set. I played in rock, country, and blues bands until I was about twenty-one years old. I had been tinkering on guitar, and writing songs, so I decided to pursue that part of it. I have been playing country ever since then.”
Growing up not too far from him was Martina, who decided she had found her life’s calling when she had a chance performance at one of country music’s top nightclubs.
“I was a karaoke singer, and had been doing that for fun since I turned twenty-one. I got a chance to sing with the house band at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace for my birthday one year. I knew that night watching everyone from the stage – this is what I want to do with my life. So, I went to MySpace, and started looking for guitar lessons or someone to help me out with taking my career to the next level.”
That someone turned out to be Joseph. Was the connection an instant one for the two – who would later be married? Joe answered emphatically, “For me, yes, but for her no,” to which she replied, “You never talked to me. I drove forty-five minutes to see you and you said two words…..I thought ‘Nope, bye.’ But,” she stresses, “I didn’t know he was so shy at the time.”
Those musical lessons that Joseph gave Martina wound up inspiring the two of them to combine their musical talents – with a little bit of prodding from their friends.
“I was the lead singer in a band, and when she and I started hanging out, we were at a friend’s backyard barbecue kind of party, and I had my acoustic guitar. We learned the song ‘You’re The Reason God Made Oklahoma.’” Their friends were struck by the fact that their musical chemistry matched their personal one. “It was one of the biggest responses I had received in a long time. People were saying, ‘You guys should start singing together.’ There just happened to be a lady at the party who ran a bar a couple of hours north. She hired us that night to come and play at her bar. That wound up starting us on our musical journey together.”
The musical stylings of Terra Bella include modern-day heartfelt emotions that come to the forefront of songs like the tender “Hey Mama” and their brand new single “Before You,” which was produced by Johnny Garcia, who works in the band of Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. Each brings their own influences to the table, with Joseph’s being the California country sound of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. Martina counts among her favorites many of the top female artists of the genre – past and present.
“I loved everything from Waylon Jennings and Patsy Cline from my dad’s vinyl records to every female vocalist of the 80s and 90s – K.T. Oslin, The Judds, Patty Loveless, among them,” she says. “I love the warm tones of a female country vocal. I think it’s starting to come back,” she beams, “especially with artists like Carly Peace and Ashley McBryde. They are so good. It’s so exciting,” she said.
In addition to music, another thing that ties them together is their farming background, with both of them taking part in their family farms in California. “My dad farms about a thousand acres,” said Joseph. “He grows cotton, grows corn, alfalfa, wheat. He’s just now getting into some walnut orchards. He’s one of the best at what he does.” Martina had a similar experience, growing up on a seven-hundred acre spread in Wonder Valley, working cattle, showing horses and riding the rodeo circuit.
Terra Bella is looking forward to unleashing some new music in 2018, and the couple, who now call Nashville home, are in the midst of a tour of their native California.
“Heading back to California on tour is coming home,” said Martina. “It’s where we learned our craft and we are always welcomed back with open arms.”
“Before You” is available at all digital retailers now.