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2007 - [VIDEO] Mika on BBC TWO's 'The Culture Show'


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BBC 2 THE CULTURE SHOW

Sat 3 February 2007

 

TRANSCRIPT BY: CAUTIONARY WIFE

 

Lauren Laverne talks to Mika, followed by performance of 'Grace Kelly' by Mika alone, on piano..

 

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LAUREN LAVERNE: Now allow me to introduce the hottest act in the country right now. Singer-songwriter Mika has been at No 1 in the charts for 3 weeks and he’s still only 23. Welcome to the show, Mika.

 

MIKA: Thank you.

 

L: So look, this week, right – let me get this right – you’re number one in the charts, you’ve just returned from New York, where you were received rapturously, you’ve got a sold-out UK tour coming off and you’ve got 32,000 friends on mySpace, so how does it feel to be you tonight?

 

M: Pretty good.

 

L: Yeah.

 

M: Yeah. Feels great.

 

L: One person that you’ve been drawing a lot of comparisons with is the late, great Freddie Mercury. Lots of people say that vocally, you know, you have a strong resemblance to him. That’s, I think, a compliment.

 

M: I think it’s a huge compliment, but it’s also terrifying. I think it’s a compliment and really scary.

 

L: Why so – ‘cos people might expect you to don lycra . . . ?

 

M: (laughs) No, it’s not that. Because he was a, he’s, you know, a technical genius and also a monster songwriter and had this incredible grasp of melody. I never would ever compare myself to Freddie Mercury.

 

L: You have got this 5-octave vocal range. Is it true what they say, “big octave - massive opera collection”, (laughter in studio) or is that just a rumour?

 

(laughing)

 

M: I don’t have five ‘cos that would mean I had an octave range that went… one, two, three … (plinks piano keys for each octave). It would mean I would be able to sing, ‘cos that’s four. One, two, three, four – that would be huge.

 

L: Okay.

 

M: I can’t sing much.

 

L: There’s a rumour that Simon Cowell told you that your songs were too weird when he rejected you in his A&R capacity. Is that true?

 

M: I met him when I was really young. I was about sixteen. I was very proud of a demo that I had just recorded and I played him my stuff and, of course, he fast-forwarded through the songs, and in the end he was just like, you know, “Your songs aren’t very good but your voice is kind of distinctive and that could hold you in good stead.” I knew immediately that he wasn’t the person to work with me.

 

L: You’re not going to be entering X Factor next series then? (laughs)

 

M: No, they would just throw me right out.

 

L: They would be mad, wouldn’t they.

 

M: I would be one of the freaks in the short line… (all talk at once)

 

L: Yeah, they would. Don’t give up your day job.

 

M: Yeah. (chuckling) “There’s this guy with a song called ‘Grace Kelly”. Isn’t it funny.

 

L: Sharon would go (imitating and screwing up face), “I loved it. That’s about Grace Kelly. So glamorous.” (laughing) So. sp ‘Grace Kelly’ is, like it sounds, you know, a straight 3-minute pop song, but it’s got a bit of a dark undercurrent lyrically. Tell us. What is it?

 

M: It sounds like the happiest song ever, but I wrote it when I was completely furious. I went home from an hour-long meeting where they told me that I had to basically knuckle down and write songs like everyone else, at least for my first album. By the time I get to my second album, I could do whatever I want, and I knew that was completely false. So I went home and I wrote ‘Grace Kelly’ as a little ‘stick-you’ song to them and typed out the lyrics and I sent it to them. I think that by the time they got to the bit that said, “Should I bend over, should I look older, just to be put on your shelf?”, they kind of figured out.

 

L: Yeah - their loss. Well, thank you very much. We look forward to hearing from you in just a moment.

 

M: Thank you.

 

L: (Trailers next week’s show) So until next week, we’re gonna leave you with Mika, performing his number one single, ‘Grace Kelly’. Thanks for watching.

 

< GRACE KELLY performed. Mike accompanies himself on piano.>

 

ENDS.

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