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2007 -Mika: still pining for Lebanon - Interview on Outlook BBC - 20 April 2007


babspanky
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From BBC Worldwide.

Just because it's quiet in here.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/programmes/outlook/news/story/2007/04/070420_mika_uk.shtml

 

Mika: still pining for Lebanon

 

 

Mika said that he'd love to go back to perform live in Lebanon

He's been described as 'the breakout superstar of the next few years' but Mika took time out to talk to Outlook about his continuing attachment to the land of his birth: Lebanon.

"My mother is Lebanese," he told presenter Fred Dove, "Anyone who is partly Lebanese will know that even if it's only a half - or even a quarter - that quarter will most certainly take up the entire cultural background of your family life."

 

 

Listen to Mika on Outlook

 

 

Picture caption entries

 

Mika was born in Lebanon in 1983 but, with the Civil War becoming increasingly violent, was evacuated by the US Navy to Cyprus in 1984.

 

From there he went with his family to Paris where he was to spend 8 years - but his family life was again disrupted when his father found himself in Kuwait when Saddam Hussein invaded the country in 1991.

 

 

I like the prospect of going back to Lebanon to play live - maybe at one of those amazing places like Balbec

 

 

 

"He had four hours to get out," recalled Mika, "Some friends actually tried to get some Bedouin to sneak him out through the desert but it was too risky - so he ended up seeking refuge at the American embassy."

 

His father ended up being stuck at the embassy for about seven months.

 

When he was eventually released, Mika remembers being shocked that his father had lost a lot of weight and had grown "a hideous beard".

 

"He was so skinny," he said, "I think he was living off fruit juice and tuna fish."

 

Once reunited, the family set off for London and Mika was sent to London's French Lycee where he remembers that he had difficulty settling in: difficulties that were compounded by his dyslexia.

 

"I started to have particular problems with one teacher that got completely out of control," he said, "I stopped talking for a while and was asked to leave the school.

 

"I left and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I started doing music."

 

 

Mika with a couple of happy melodies

 

In fact, however, Mika had been "doing music" for sometime before that. He'd been making cassette tapes for his own enjoyment.

 

"The tapes were not categorised by the type of music or by who did it," he said, "They were categorised by melody: happy melodies, angry melodies, different types of melody.

 

"It sounds banal but when you actually sit down to write your own, you realise it's a lot more complicated than you think."

 

Mika's hit Grace Kelly went to number one in the UK singles charts in January of this year. He appeared on Outlook to promote his new album Life in Cartoon Motion.

 

He said that he would love to return to Lebanon to sing.

 

"I want to spend more time there," he said, "I like the prospect of going back there to play live - maybe at one of those amazing places like Balbec."

 

At the end of the interview Fred Dove announced that there was a CD of Life in Cartoon Motion to give away - to the person who comes up with the best suggestion as to what Mika and he might be saying to each other in the following photograph. The funniest or cleverest caption gets the CD.

 

 

 

 

There's a pic or two in the link for those desparate people. :wink2:

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Thanks, Bab -- I don't think I ever saw that one! How is that

possible? :shocked::wink2:

 

dcdeb

 

Well I don't keep as up to date now as I used to, but I don't recall seeing it. Christine reckons Mana has though, so I thought you were going to close me down. :naughty:

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From BBC Worldwide.

Just because it's quiet in here.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/programmes/outlook/news/story/2007/04/070420_mika_uk.shtml

 

Mika: still pining for Lebanon

 

 

Mika said that he'd love to go back to perform live in Lebanon

He's been described as 'the breakout superstar of the next few years' but Mika took time out to talk to Outlook about his continuing attachment to the land of his birth: Lebanon.

"My mother is Lebanese," he told presenter Fred Dove, "Anyone who is partly Lebanese will know that even if it's only a half - or even a quarter - that quarter will most certainly take up the entire cultural background of your family life."

 

 

Listen to Mika on Outlook

 

 

Picture caption entries

 

Mika was born in Lebanon in 1983 but, with the Civil War becoming increasingly violent, was evacuated by the US Navy to Cyprus in 1984.

 

From there he went with his family to Paris where he was to spend 8 years - but his family life was again disrupted when his father found himself in Kuwait when Saddam Hussein invaded the country in 1991.

 

 

I like the prospect of going back to Lebanon to play live - maybe at one of those amazing places like Balbec

 

 

 

"He had four hours to get out," recalled Mika, "Some friends actually tried to get some Bedouin to sneak him out through the desert but it was too risky - so he ended up seeking refuge at the American embassy."

 

His father ended up being stuck at the embassy for about seven months.

 

When he was eventually released, Mika remembers being shocked that his father had lost a lot of weight and had grown "a hideous beard".

 

"He was so skinny," he said, "I think he was living off fruit juice and tuna fish."

 

Once reunited, the family set off for London and Mika was sent to London's French Lycee where he remembers that he had difficulty settling in: difficulties that were compounded by his dyslexia.

 

"I started to have particular problems with one teacher that got completely out of control," he said, "I stopped talking for a while and was asked to leave the school.

 

"I left and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I started doing music."

 

 

Mika with a couple of happy melodies

 

In fact, however, Mika had been "doing music" for sometime before that. He'd been making cassette tapes for his own enjoyment.

 

"The tapes were not categorised by the type of music or by who did it," he said, "They were categorised by melody: happy melodies, angry melodies, different types of melody.

 

"It sounds banal but when you actually sit down to write your own, you realise it's a lot more complicated than you think."

 

Mika's hit Grace Kelly went to number one in the UK singles charts in January of this year. He appeared on Outlook to promote his new album Life in Cartoon Motion.

 

He said that he would love to return to Lebanon to sing.

 

"I want to spend more time there," he said, "I like the prospect of going back there to play live - maybe at one of those amazing places like Balbec."

 

At the end of the interview Fred Dove announced that there was a CD of Life in Cartoon Motion to give away - to the person who comes up with the best suggestion as to what Mika and he might be saying to each other in the following photograph. The funniest or cleverest caption gets the CD.

 

 

 

 

There's a pic or two in the link for those desparate people. :wink2:

 

thats a really nice article! thanks for posting babs:thumb_yello:

 

 

i love how he talks about playing in beirut and wanting to spend more time there:wub2:

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  • 3 weeks later...

here is another old one i came across... i don't know if i had seen it before or not... pretty much the same thing, but a tad different :wink2:

 

http://www.ukmusic.com/features/interviews/mikas-journey-from-beirut-to-london.html

 

 

Mikas Journey From Beirut to London

Friday, 08 September 2006

 

 

Married man lives an ordinary life with his missus, but then leaves all this when he falls in love with another man. Not another episode of Eastenders, but the B side to Lebanon born singer songwriter Mika’s latest single. The song in question is Billy Brown which will appear alongside Relax (Take it easy).

 

“I had a suspicion about someone I knew. It’s weird because as soon as started playing it to people, you’d be surprised how many were like ‘oh my god, you won’t believe it that happened to someone I know’ or ‘oh my god that happened to my friend’s parents,” laughs Mika. “I thought it was completely taboo, I thought it was just a funny little story, but it seems to have a lot of resonance for a lot of people I know, so maybe it’s fine”.

 

Mika’s flamboyant and theatrical style on tracks such as Grace Kelly has earned him comparisons to Freddie Mercury and naturally the 22 year old is very flattered if a little wary.

 

“I don’t compare myself to him because he’s such an amazing musician and singer that it would probably be suicide,” he says. “But we did get a nice letter from Brian May commenting on Grace Kelly and he was like ‘wow what a fantastic bit of work, what a lovely voice, worth making a fuss about’, so thank you Brian. That was pretty amazing”.

 

For such a new artist on the block it seems that Mika has already managed to accumulate the media interest that would have made the Arctic Monkey’s publicist cry. And it’s little wonder considering that he has an incredible background story to tell.

 

Born in Lebanon, Mika was a year old when the family left the war torn country for Paris when it became simply too dangerous to hang around. But as Mika explains, his family have found memories, especially of Beirut where they’re from.

 

“The Lebanese part of my family is very, very prevalent. If walk into my parents’ household you definitely get the hint of Lebanon everywhere,” he says. “As far as Beirut was concerned it was an exceptional city like nowhere else in the world that really managed to combine a lot of Europe and a lot of the Middle East and people really lived together. So many different cultures in it and it really created this unique mixed breed and it was reflected in everything from the food to the architecture to the attitude of the people. I always wished I could have seen some of that”.

 

The next few years spent in Paris was, as he puts it, ‘pretty funny’. “We lived in a conservative, very Parisian neighbourhood and we were we see brogue, loud, English speaking, and we had a lot of problems with our neighbours.”

 

When his father was subsequently taken hostage and held at the American embassy in Kuwait they eventually settled in London. The nine old Mika attended a French state school, and once again struggled to adjust to his new surroundings. He had to be taken out of school and relearn to read and write, missing school for over six months. So why did he find it so hard to fit in?

 

“I was very uncompromising about my character. I wouldn’t compromise or tone myself down for anybody,” he explains. “Kind of like I don’t now, especially in my music, and that’s the kind of attitude that really doesn’t go down well at school. I think a lot of kids have that same problem, it’s a lot harder to stay yourself when everyone is telling you that that’s the wrong way to be.”

 

He attended The Royal College Of Music where it seems his days were something of a juggling act, balancing his studies of classical music with his passion for pop music.

 

“They thought I was going to do classic music, but I had every intention of doing pop music. I spent my days studying German classical music and Italian opera and in the evenings I’d be writing and recording pop music, which was where my heart was,” he reveals. “It gave me something to do while I didn’t have anything to do. I needed a reason to wake up at nine o’clock in the morning and make myself busy.”

 

As for the future, his debut album Life In Cartoon Motion is ready to be unleashed to the world soon, but Mika’s taking it all in his stride.

 

“Having a major label deal obviously means that you have to sell a lot of records, but as far as I’m concerned that most important thing to me is having a career,” he says. “I always said that with the first album the one thing I wanted to get out of that is a career, and I think I’m setting myself up pretty well for that”.

 

 

Relax (Take It Easy)/ Billy Brown is out on 18th September 2006

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No Guy, I don't remember it anyway! Gives an ever so slightly different slant on things and as it's a really early one, it's had fewer places to be copied from.

Interesting.

Also interesting is that when people said he was precocious, when I was reading this kind of stuff at the beginning of last year, I didn't think so. But now having read so much more and knowing so much more, I can so see it.

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No Guy, I don't remember it anyway! Gives an ever so slightly different slant on things and as it's a really early one, it's had fewer places to be copied from.

Interesting.

Also interesting is that when people said he was precocious, when I was reading this kind of stuff at the beginning of last year, I didn't think so. But now having read so much more and knowing so much more, I can so see it.

 

*runs out of the room to check and see if precocious means the same thing as in french *

 

1 : exceptionally early in development or occurrence

2 : exhibiting mature qualities at an unusually early

 

*comes back... yup it does *

 

i think the way he presented himself from early on was very calculated & thought throughly. he already knew exactly what to say. not back for such a young man... :bleh:

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*runs out of the room to check and see if precocious means the same thing as in french *

 

1 : exceptionally early in development or occurrence

2 : exhibiting mature qualities at an unusually early

 

*comes back... yup it does *

 

i think the way he presented himself from early on was very calculated & thought throughly. he already knew exactly what to say. not back for such a young man... :bleh:

 

But it's more often used in a slightly derogatory sense, I think. :wink2:

 

What are you doing up at this time????

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