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Mika explodes onto scene with hit Grace Kelly, album - Toronto


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London Free Press

 

By DAVID FRIEND, CP

 

TORONTO -- Pop singer Mika decks out his concert venues with balloons, confetti, clowns and all things reminiscent of a six-year-old's birthday party.

"What I try to do is take reality and just hype it up to a level where it makes it more livable," explains the 23-year-old newcomer who exploded onto the music scene earlier this year.

 

Tall and lanky, Mika wears a bright orange hooded sweatshirt and his long curly hair sways in every direction as he talks about his debut album, Life in Cartoon Motion, which entered Canada's SoundScan charts at No. 2.

 

Helped by massive hype and reviews comparing him to legends Elton John, David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, Mika has already logged a five-week stay at No. 1 with his single Grace Kelly in the U.K. where his album also took the top spot.

 

For Mika, all of this attention marks a sharp turnaround in a life full of instability.

 

Born Mica Penniman, the middle of five children, in Beirut, Lebanon, his family fled the war-torn country and moved to Paris before uprooting once again for London.

 

Mika has said the shifts made it difficult for him to fit in. He found himself the target of constant harassment in elementary school, which led his mother to briefly pull him from classes. He began to dabble in theatre and take singing lessons, which eventually led him to enrol in London's prestigious Royal College of Music.

 

He left the college to pursue dreams of a music career, but found that most labels wanted to mould him into a marketable product.

 

Frustrated by one producer in particular, he penned Grace Kelly, an upbeat ditty where he begs for some semblance of an acceptable identity and asks "Why don't you like me?"

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