meimei88 Posted February 22, 2007 Share Posted February 22, 2007 News & Star Published on 22/02/2007 Mika isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a conventional musician. His incredible life history to date, five-octave vocal range, unruly hair and neatly manicured nails ensure that he isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t your average pop star. When Simon Cowell says heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“strangeÃ¢â‚¬Â, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a part of you that has to agree. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He told me that my songs were strange Ã¢â‚¬â€œ he said something to the effect that I might as well not bother,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Mika, smiling. Ã¢â‚¬Å“At the same time, he said I had a distinctive voice and that could help me out. I got upset to a point, but I realised he was clearly not the person to work with me. This was before his Pop Idol fame. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But I saw him at a party recently and he congratulated me.Ã¢â‚¬Â Luckily, Mika (pronounced Mee-ka) wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t put off by SimonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comments, but he says heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d never go on The X Factor. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Music speaks for itself, egos just get in the way of it. If I went on the show, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d be kicked out in the first round!Ã¢â‚¬Â the 23-year-old says. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m the worst karaoke singer in the world Ã¢â‚¬â€œ thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why I write songs that are practically impossible to be sung in karaoke.Ã¢â‚¬Â Born in Beirut, Mika emigrated to Paris with his family as self-imposed exiles because of the civil war. They settled in London when he was nine. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Moving here was hard. I went to a French school when I first came here and had a really hard time,Ã¢â‚¬Â he admits. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Moving over to the English system was better because they were more sympathetic to my dyslexia. I was bullied, and verbally abused.Ã¢â‚¬Â Rather than fighting the bullies, Mika coped by writing songs to deal with his feelings. Ã¢â‚¬Å“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. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I got angry and wrote Grace Kelly when I got home. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I could have been brash and loud and rude and told them to f*** off, but I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t, I put it in the song instead, and then it worked for me. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the perfect example of this passive aggression that I seem to practise in my life.Ã¢â‚¬Â As his debut single, Grace Kelly knocked Simon CowellÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s latest protege, Leona Lewis, off the No 1 spot. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s amazing to get a No 1 and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m absolutely over the moon about what has happened on the strength of downloads alone,Ã¢â‚¬Â he says. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I always go on about the power of online media and sharing your music on the internet, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m really thankful that now I have some sort of ammunition to prove that everything IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been saying about online media, from the smallest blogs to the biggest entertainment fanzines, are really driven by passion. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going by strength of word of mouth, and people making up their own minds after theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve listened to the songs online. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s amazing, particularly since I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t won a show, I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t got in trouble or done anything particularly scandalous so I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have tabloid inches on my heels.Ã¢â‚¬Â So he hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t done anything to be ashamed about then? Ã¢â‚¬Å“Of course I have. But youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to work for your living and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m certainly not going to make your job easy,Ã¢â‚¬Â he grins. Not content with writing and orchestrating songs, Mika is planning to branch out into animation, creating cartoon characters from his songs. Lollipop Girl comes from the song Lollipop, Billy Brown and Big Girl from songs of the same titles. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I always wanted to create a visual world that could take on a life of its own and that could really develop with boundaries I could really push, once the album is done. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re fantasy characters but theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re a platform for storytelling. Ã¢â‚¬Å“In a way, the album becomes the soundtrack to that visual world. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve no idea what will happen with the characters, but believe me, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be some dramatic Hollyoaks-style twists and turns.Ã¢â‚¬Â Mika insists his creations are more than musical characters like Damon AlbarnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Gorillaz: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Gorillaz are purely aesthetic representations of their pseudonym. Mine have nothing to do with my performance as a live artist and they have nothing to do with me as an artist. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They are simply another fantastical dimension to my project. They can exist solely on their own. They even have their own MySpace pages!Ã¢â‚¬Â HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s already been described as the next Freddie Mercury, but this is one label that Mika is reluctant to accept. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Other people have compared me to him. I name-check him in Grace Kelly but I would never really compare myself to him, simply because I admire him far too much as a musician and a songwriter. In my mind, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s untouchable,Ã¢â‚¬Â he says. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m lucky that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m being compared to someone I admire. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a bit scary but quite an honour. I could never believe it, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m too much of a fan. If I started to believe that, you can be sure that you wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be hearing from me in 2008!Ã¢â‚¬Â He admits that he does feel some pressure to live up to FreddieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s reputation, though, saying: Ã¢â‚¬Å“It does put me under pressure, but at the same time, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a platform that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m very thankful to be standing up on, and I just have to prove myself now. Ã¢â‚¬Å“You have to be careful what you wish for in life because sometimes you actually have to carry it out! I can only do what I do, and I just have to make sure that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m making records the way I want to make them. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Music has to speak for itself, so as long as I keep on making good music, I can be stood in good stead to be around for quite a long time.Ã¢â‚¬Â Mika plays at Northumbria University, Newcastle on Saturday Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now