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2007 - Interview - Later... with Jools Holland


Cautionary Wife
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I couldn't find this interview from a few weeks ago on the board....

 

CW.

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LATER WITH JOOLS HOLAND

 

MIKA

We met up with operatically trained, pop-maestro MIKA for a quick chat about hiding out in Barry Gibbs recording studio and performing Proclaimers covers...

 

 

Welcome to Later…

How does it feel to be on the show?

Amazing, I just wanted to come and see it, and now I’ve ended up performing on it! (giggles) Which is kind of hilarious, as most things have been in the last few months!

 

 

We’ve heard some stories about how you originally got signed…gate crashing record company parties…

 

Well how I ALMOST got signed about seven or eight times, and then as soon as they got more into my music they got terrified and ran away!

Well did you literally just turn up and start playing?

 

Yeh I did! I wasn’t desperate but I just came from a weird place.

 

Well I didn’t have a crowd you know? I was rejected by the Indie crowd and I was rejected by the record companies, so I had to do my own thing, and where-ever I could get exposure I just gate-crashed.

 

But people always got scared, and I just so fed up of it to the point where I REALLY started to do my own thing (gives a cheeky grin) and I wrote Grace Kelly.

 

It was musicians who helped me out, and the record companies came to me later.

 

But it must have been nice to have the support of fellow musicians…

 

Absolutely! For instance I developed my project in Miami where no-one cared about me, because I didn’t have much money or support so I teamed up with some song-writers in Miami. What I was doing was so different to everything else over there, apart from Latino pop and like Hip-Hop and rap, which meant that all the musicians were donating their time for free.

 

Also I was at the Royal College of Music at the time so I took a student loan out, then every holiday was getting myself over to Miami recording on borrowed time, so we would hide in Barry Gibbs’ studio in South Beach, but he found out and ended up firing his engineer of eighteen years, who he ended up re-hiring!

 

Anyways…the whole thing was just ridiculous, but it was all done for free, ALTHOUGH it did take us a year to do four songs! But it was worth it in the end.

 

Is it true that Grace Kelly was written as a bit of a fingers up to those original record companies?

A screw you, yeh totally! I was working with some musicians…well it was just a company who completely didn’t understand that I had it in mind to become an artist. They were all ‘Well why can’t you just do something else, for now? It’s alright, just make a first record, we can do something that will be helpful to your career and then you can do whatever you want.’ I just thought that was ridiculous!

 

I wrote the song, typed up the lyrics, recorded it, sent it to them and never heard from them again! But a year later I got signed in my own right.

 

You had a very difficult time growing up (MIKA and family fled from Beirut in the war, then moved to Paris, then London, but his father was held captive), to the point where you stopped talking, reading and writing…you’ve said that this is when you really got into music…

 

Well I was always really into music even when I was living in Paris as a small kid, then once I moved over here and went to a French State school in London…it was just a disaster for me. I had a really hard time both with students and teachers and I had to be pulled out so I didn’t go to school for six months and I forgot how to read and write, and completely forgot how to read music, and ever since then I haven’t been able to read music. So I just didn’t have anything else to do, cause no other school would take me, so my mum just said ok, lets do music!

 

I then got this horrifically tough but amazing Russian singing teacher, and within three months of her training two hours a week and then every single morning for around two hours of practice I started getting gigs.

 

You know my first gig was at the Royal Opera House I really went straight in at the deep end!

 

So in a way it was by circumstance and it got me on my feet again, everything after that just fell into place. Music really got me on my feet again, which is good, but if I could have had a normal life you can’t say you wouldn’t have wanted it.

 

You’ve done so many different types of gigs…the Royal Opera House, Bestival, sung jingles…

 

...milk commercials…

 

…what has been the most nerve-wracking so far?

Oh I get so nervous. Phew…you know there must be something…(long pause)…

 

I think it was probably Ibiza. Yeh! I had hardly any voice, this was a couple of months ago now, and it was my first ever pop gig with a full band, it was at five fifteen in the morning and it was at Manumission with the jungle crowd after the topless women being chased by the midgets and I went on…

 

We sang the first song and I was kind of excited and I jumped up, but as I landed I jammed one of the pedals so we were stuck. There’s all these people completely out of their heads in front of me and I really didn’t know what to do, so I just started singing folk songs and Proclaimers covers! (laughs)

 

But now it’s an in-joke with my band, if ever anything goes wrong we just start singing Proclaimers songs cause we don’t know what else to do!

 

But that was pretty hilarious! As soon as we started doing it the whole crowd started singing it back and the next song they were ballroom dancing to Billy Brown which is one of my songs! It was pretty terrifying but brilliant! Thank God!

 

You always say that you want to work your own way, and want to do songs that no-one else can sing…

Yeh (laughs) the anti X-Factor musician, that’s what I want to be! Imagine if I walked onto that show and started singing Grace Kelly…they would just completely laugh in my face, and I love that! I’d be very surprised if someone was to walk onto that show and sing one of my songs in a year or so’s time, it would be impossible, they’d just laugh!

 

…but if you had to work with anybody (dead or alive) who would it be?

 

I really would love to work with somebody like Beck. I relate to him in a way…he’s like a one man band, that circus ring master thing that he does, that I kind of relate to as a solo artist, there’s not many people that I can look at and think, I relate to them.

 

If it wasn’t Beck it would be Kurt Weill, I’d just like to have tea with him, or Harry Nilsson, I’d like to have a whiskey with him, I don’t think tea was ever on the books with him!

 

 

From: bbc.co.uk

http://www.bbc.co.uk/later/interviews/mika.shtml

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  • 2 years later...

Didn't know this interview either!

Like the way Mika tells things, the words and the expressions he uses :D

 

 

"...so we would hide in Barry Gibbs’ studio in South Beach, but he found out and ended up firing his engineer of eighteen years, who he ended up re-hiring! "

Aw thats good news! I was worried about the engineer and its the first time I read he was rehired :D

 

"....I forgot how to read and write, and completely forgot how to read music, and ever since then I haven’t been able to read music."

So ho could read music once and forgot it :shocked:

 

"So I just didn’t have anything else to do, cause no other school would take me, so my mum just said ok, lets do music!"

The way he says it makes me smile :D

 

"You know my first gig was at the Royal Opera House I really went straight in at the deep end!" music genius :wub2:

 

"the anti X-Factor musician, that’s what I want to be!" :naughty:

 

and the joke about Harry Nilsson... maybe not very nice but hilarious :D

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"So I just didn’t have anything else to do, cause no other school would take me, so my mum just said ok, lets do music!"

The way he says it makes me smile :D

 

love how he said that too!

 

"You know my first gig was at the Royal Opera House I really went straight in at the deep end!" music genius :wub2:

 

how amazing it would have been for him too to perform at the royal opera house at such a young age:wub2:

 

"the anti X-Factor musician, that’s what I want to be!"

 

thats exaclty what he is, as far from x-factor as possible:D

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