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The Talent Simon Didn’t Spot

Cautionary Wife

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By This Is Lancashire reporter

09 Feb 2007


CHART TOPPER: Mika confounded the critics with single


His debut single shot to number one in the charts - confounding talent spotter Simon Cowell, who thought Mika didn't have what it takes to be a star. The singer spoke to us, ahead of his gig in Manchester on February 27 about his rise to fame.


Mika isn't a conventional musician. His incredulous life history to date, five-octave vocal range, unruly hair and neatly manicured nails ensure that he isn't your average pop star.


When Simon Cowell says he's "strange" there's a part of you that has to agree.


"He told me that my songs were strange - he said something to the effect that I might as well not bother," said Mika, smiling.


"At the same time, he said I had a distinctive voice and that could help me out. I got upset to a point, but at the same time, I realised he was clearly not the person to work with me. This was before his Pop Idol fame.


"I understood early on that this is someone who spends his life looking for singers to sing projects he has already created, and that would have been a disaster for me to work too closely with someone like that. But I saw him at a party recently and he congratulated me."


Luckily, Mika (pronounced Mee-ka) wasn't put off by Simon's comments, but he said he would never go on The X-Factor.


"Music speaks for itself. Egos just get in the way of it. If I went on the show, I'd be kicked out in the first round. I certainly wouldn't make it into the later stages," the 23-year-old said.


"I'm the worst karaoke singer in the world - that's why I write songs that are practically impossible to be sung in karaoke."


Born in Beirut, Mika and his family emigrated to Paris as self-imposed exiles because of the civil war. They settled in London when he was nine.


"Moving here was hard. I went to a French school when I first came here and had a really hard time," he admitted.


"Moving over to the English system was better because they were more sympathetic to my dyslexia.


"I was bullied, and verbally abused."


Rather than fighting the bullies, Mika coped by writing songs to deal with his feelings.


"I dealt with it quite passively, much in the same way as when I went in for a meeting with a music company in London after they heard a demo of mine, and they sat down for an hour telling me how I had to write songs like everybody else in order to be accepted.


"I got angry and wrote Grace Kelly when I got home. They never called me back but two years later, the song is doing so well. The song says 'here's the middle finger and the time has proven my point'.


"I could have been brash and loud and rude and told them to f*** off, but I didn't. I put it in the song instead, and then it worked for me. It's the perfect example of this passive aggression that I seem to practise in my life."


His debut single, Grace Kelly did amazingly well in the charts, even knocking Simon Cowell's latest protege, Leona Lewis, off the No 1 spot before it was officially released.


"It's going by strength of word of mouth, and people making up their own minds after they've listened to the songs online," he said.


"That's amazing, particularly since I haven't won a show, I haven't got in trouble or done anything particularly scandalous so I don't have tabloid inches on my heels."


See Mika at Manchester Academy 2 on Tuesday, February 27. For tickets call 0161 275 2930. [sOLD OUT]




At time of writing, there are some Manchester tickets at Piccadilly Box Office 0161-832-1111.


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You know every time I hear this story I cannot help but laugh so hard. This is Simon Cowell, a respected A&R man in his time, a man who discovered many top acts, A MAN WHO USED TO DRESS UP AS A DOG!!! I don't know if anyone else remembers, but Simon Cowell used to be a recording artist called WonderDog. He dressed up in a costume of a super hero dog and recorded a single, all sung in barks!, yes he barked like a dog through the whole song. This is why as soon as I heard Mika's story about their meeting, I nearly fell down the stairs laughing, pot calling the kettle springs to mind.:roftl:

And knocking Leona off the top, deep down must have been the sweetest feeling in the world after all that.

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