#CMchat Exclusive Interview: Terra Bella’s “Before You”

Ranchers. Musicians. Married. Joseph and Martina Costa are a husband-and-wife duo from California’s San Joaquin Valley known as Terra Bella. Both Joseph and Martina’s roots are deeply planted in Central California, where they immersed themselves in agriculture. For years Terra Bella toured up and down the West Coast playing clubs and rodeos as well as opening for national acts such as Lee Brice, Gary Allan, Montgomery Gentry, Thomas Rhett and more.

In August of 2013, the pair decided to move 2,200 miles across the nation to “Music City, USA” or Nashville. The pair immediately committed to their purpose and was soon a regular member of the songwriting community. Terra Bella was introduced to esteemed producer/guitarist, Johnny Garcia, who began to coach and produce Terra Bella’s material in between tour legs with Garth Brooks. In 2016, the debut EP Road To Forever came to fruition and scored the duo’s first Billboard Indicator (#51) and Music Row (#42) charting song with the single “You’ve Got That Somethin’.”

Since the release of Road To Forever, Terra Bella has been endlessly writing new material for a much-anticipated album. They’ve reinvented their brand and sound to more accurately represent who Terra Bella is; communicative story-telling with a Bakersfield edge, beautiful harmonies, and a test of time. 

Their first single, “Before You,” is now available from their upcoming 12-track album, CMChatLive caught up with the duo as they embark on their fall/winter tour.

When did you each start singing?

J: I’ve been a musician since junior high but didn’t start singing seriously until I was about 18.

M: There is a cassette tape of 6-year-old Martina singing Reba and The Little Mermaid, but I started taking it more serious once I turned 21.

Are your families musical?

YES! Joe’s dad sings and plays guitar, his aunt is a band director at the Junior High he went to, and he has many ancestors going back to Portugal that played in Portuguese bands. Martina’s dad plays harmonica and can sing, she also has a Latin Grammy-winning cousin.

Which famous musicians do you admire? 

J: I admire musicians that do things their way and stand out from the crowd. Folks like Merle Haggard, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty (There’s not enough room to mention them all.)

M: Waylon, The Judds, Garth, Patty Loveless, Patsy..the list goes on. I admire timeless voices that move people.

For our readers who have never heard your music, explain your sound in 5 words: 

Real, Organic, Edgy, Authentic, Strong, COUNTRY

What is the story behind your new single, “Before You?”

J: I wrote, “Before You” with my good friend Rob Williford. If I remember correctly the idea started with a line he heard in a movie ‘I’d be reeling in the slack just as fast as they could cut it.’ We threw around different ideas and ended up writing about how a special person can actually inspire YOU to be a better person. I think it’s a pretty awesome universal theme and people can relate to the song in different ways. For some it might be a significant other, some God, a friend…the way to connect to it is endless. When it came down to actually recording the song I knew I wanted Martina to sing it because I knew the emotion she would put behind the lyric. Hearing her sing it for the first time almost brought me to tears.

What can fans expect on your upcoming album?

We recently decided to break the album up into singles and release a song every month or two. This sounds so cliche but this project is the most Terra Bella thing we’ve put out. Unfiltered, honest, and real are some words that come to mind. This next chapter of songs we release gets back to who we are and where we come from. We feel that fans both old and new will really embrace the sound of the true us.

What are the challenges of being an indie artist? The rewards?

Neither one of us are afraid to get our hands dirty and work, so the extra workload has never knocked us down. However, the lack of an industry team around us means fewer connections, so achieving a meeting or booking a show is a little tougher. On the other hand, the rewards are pretty cool. Think about it, we have creative freedom on what songs we record, who produces it, what we post on social media etc. It allows us to get real, truly real, with our fans. 

If you could record with any country music star, who would it be? 

Garth Brooks.

If you could go open up for any artist on tour right now who would it be? 

Kenny Chesney! The energy he brings to his fans is incredible. But what’s even better than that? The FANS giving it right back!

Where would you most like to perform? 

J: I’m such a country music historian that I HAVE to go with The Ryman Auditorium.

M: I completely agree!!! Also on the list, sell out Madison Square Garden. 

 Ten years from now you will be…

Traveling down the road, still sharing our music and love with the world. Telling our story, one chapter at a time. Of course, on a much bigger scale with a few more buses and semi trucks.

What five artists/songs would I see on your recently played lists? 

J: Haggard always. Tom Petty, Luke Combs, and the new Travis Meadows new record.

M: Wynonna and Terri Clark. Oh, and I probably play Ashley McBryde 2x a day.

What are your favorite songs to belt out at the bar/in the car/for karaoke? 

J: Favorite karaoke song, ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love‘ by The Darkness

M: My musical journey began on the karaoke stage! ‘Gunpowder and Lead‘ for the win.

If you were driving cross-country and could only bring one CD, what would it be? 

J: Merle HaggardBack To The Barrooms.”

M: Garth BrooksRopin’ the Wind

When you are not touring, what do you like to do for fun? 

J: I’m such a music guy that when I’m not on the road I’m writing, producing, mixing or playing guitar.

M: Anything that involves horses. I truly believe they are good for the soul. 

If you weren’t singing, what would you be doing? 

J: I’d probably be working on the family farm.

M: I feel like I would be teaching kids with either riding horses or swim lessons. 

A movie of your life is being filmed – who are the leads?

Adam Sandler & Kristin Wiig

What are the five things you each can’t live without? 

J: Family, music, Mexican food, good friends and our dogs.

M: Add horses to that and I’m right there with Joe!

What are your mottos or the advice you live by? 

J: Be true to you!

M: Love yourself and dare to Move Mountains.

If you were granted one wish, what would you ask for?

J: That Martina and I can continue on this musical journey the rest of our lives.

M: Agreed! 

What is the best way for fans to follow you?

Website, FacebookInstagram, Twitter, Snapchat: @terrabellamusic, and Spotify.

Author: Donna Block

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