FREDDIESDOUBLE Posted August 4, 2007 Share Posted August 4, 2007 Sorry its taken so long to type up , but its a great article : Mika was hard to avoid at Glastonbury last week....Possibly it was because the 6ft 4in singer was the only man who thought it was a good idea to wear white to the West Country mudfest. Or maybe it was the lurid orange umbrella he was twirling over his shoulder,Gene Kelly style.Or then again,perhaps it was the giant inflatable women,whose nether regions he seemed to be serenading during his gig. Whatever the reason,once he started singing,Mika quickly dispelled any doubts about his right at music's top table. Surrounded by scantily clad female dancers and friends in animal costumes (not to mention those blow up dolls),the charismatic singer was a ray of sunshine amid the downpours,raising the spirits of the rain-trodden masses with his euphoric,dance-flecked pop. 'Putting on a show is important,'says the singer,who is looking forward to playing four more big open-air concerts in Britain this Summer.'Even when you when you are standing in 12 inches of mud,it's good to look the part!.I did'nt want to compromise on that score just because of the conditions'. 'That said,you have to be careful.I believe in putting on a performance,but I also think it should be done without spending too much money.I don't go crazy on Las Vegas special effects.I like making magic out of simple ingredients. The same could be said of Mika's playful,catchy,colourful songs.Capitalising on the market for kitsh but clever pop created by the Scissor Sisters,The Feeling and Rufus Wainwright,he topped the charts on January with his first single,Grace Kelly. Since then,the 23-year-old with the four-octave vocal range has secured another Top Ten hit too,his debut album Life In Cartoon Motion,reached double platinum status with sales of more than 600,000 copies in the UK. But while his outlandish stage costumes,stunning vocals and by the cartoons created for his album sleeve (by his Sister,Yasmine) are all part of the Mika package,the singer emphasises that the arresting visuals are there only to complement his songs. 'I dont like the idea of escapism',he says,seriously.'Escapism is all those materialistic hip-hop videos,where you see good looking girls jumping out of Maserati sports cars wearing knee-high boots and $100,000 worth of diamonds and it leaves you with a hangover because it dos'nt mean anything'. 'I enjoy creating possibilities out of more mudane things.I don't see myself as being particulary flamboyant.I don't think I'm camp.I just do what makes me feel happy.One thing I suppose I do have is a fearlessness that stems from not knowing the rules.When you are constantly rejected,as I was at school you don't get a chance to play by the rules.If I had been accpeted earlier on,maybe I would be more of a comforist now.' His nomadic upbringing might also go some way to explaining Mika's unorthodox,free-spirited outlook.Born in Beruit to a Lebanese Mother and an American father who worked in International banking,the singer (real name Michael Penniman),moved to Paris at the height of the Lebanese civil war in the early Eighties.When the family relocated to London in 1992,Mika continued his education at the Lycee Francais,a French academy in Kensington,and West Minster School. A dyslexic child who found it hard to settle,his problems were compounded even then by his unusual dress sense - 'I was probably asking for it by wearing pink Bermuda shorts' - and his mix-and-match accent.'My childhood is sometimes painted as being completely horrible,'he says.'But that isn't totally the case.I was one of five kids and we were a very close-knit family.We had our ups and downs,but we always supported each other'.'Financially we went from having everything to having nothing.When we lived in France,we had two housekeepers.But then we lost our apartment and watched in horror as the bailiffs took away out TV set because we couldn't pay the bills'. The bullying that Mika faced in London proved to be a major turning point.By the age of 11,the victimisation had become so bad that his parents pulled him out of school for 6 months.'It had become like Lord Of The Flies' ,he says,'I was picked on because I was different and that,in turn,changed me as a person.I forgot how to read and write,and I even stopped talking for a while.It took me a few years to get back the person I was before'. Salvation arrived in the shape of a Russian singing teacher.A strict disciplinarian who coached the youngster twice a week,she gave Mika's confidence such a boost that within 12 months he was recording jingles for British Airways and appearing in the chorus line of Richard Strauss's The Women Without A Shadow at the Royal Opera House.For all his classical training(he also studied at the Royal College Of Music),Mika's first love was always pop,raised on is parent's Bob Dylan,Elton John and Harry Nilsson records,he began writing songs in his early teens. But,despite securing an audition with Simon Cowell at 16,he again faced rejection once he started sending his material to record labels.'People have implied that Grace Kelly was written about Simon Cowell,but it wasn't says Mika.'He told me my voice was distinctive.In truth,Grace Kelly was directed at the whole music industry.Record labels encourage you to find your voice by copying other people,but that's the worst thin you can do'. Even now,with another single,Big Girl (You are beautiful),out Mika is still pop's equivalent to Marmite .. You either love him or hate him. On the question of his personal life,and speculation over his sexuality,the singer is more tight lipped.Underneath the showmanship,he is a private man who wants to keep it that way. 'Im very protective of my personal life.I'm not a celebrity.I'm a songwriter and musician.That's why I keep myself out of celebrity circles.You will never see me jumping out of nightclubs.' We will continue to see Mika in the charts,though.With plenty of mileage left in Life In Cartoon Motion,he is also planning to release a six-song EP that will keep his fans happy while he concentrates on his second album. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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