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Mika interview in El País (Spanish)


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Hi all! I thought this might interest you, though it's in Spanish (sorry 'bout that, folks). It came out yesterday in a news paper called "El País", which is one of the most important here. He tells the whole story behind "Grace Kelly" (he says it's the very first time he tells everything to the media:blink: and the journalist tells how much he adores the CD:thumb_yello: The headline is as follows:"Mika's lollipops":yikes:

Hope you like it! At least those of you who can read Spanish. And again sorry to all the rest:(

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oh thanx for posting it! but if it's the first time he tells the whole GK story to the media it must be an old interview..?

 

*waits avidly for scans to be approved* :biggrin2:

me too!:biggrin2:

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MIKA’S LOLLIPOPS

 

It’s going to be the music of the summer. Joyful, nice to dance to, very optimistic. The author: Mika, a young 23-year-old born in Lebanon London resident. His first album, Life In Cartoon Motion, is like a lollipop, sweet and colourful, against so much blue boy that dominates pop music lately.

 

It was 5:30 AM. The opening show of the session was called “The Dance of The Jungleâ€. It involved dozens of women in top less on podiums and half-naked men hanging of strange lianas. On the huge main stage Fat Boy Slim appeared. “I had to play in an adjacent room and nobody had the hell of an idea of who was Mika; but everybody seemed to love my music, the all danced, some of them even licked the loudspeakers. I hadn’t slept for two days. So when I jumped into the stage I fell on my ass, and my foot pressed the bass pedal and all seemed to explode. I got up and I only heard a continuos sound, as if it was being feeded back. A terrible buzz. My guitar was absolutely out of tune and I thought: it’s the first gig of my career and this is disaster, so I ended up singing a The Proclaimers cover. I was amazed because the public could hardly remember their own names. They were all absolutely doped. However, they reacted to that song and winded up dancing to a song of mine called Billy Brown. It was an unforgettable nightâ€.

 

Ibiza. Almost three years ago. Session of Manumission in the disco Privilege, considered the biggest in Europe. And the tale of the first concert by a 23-year-old lad called Mika. Sorry, Michael Holbrock Penniman. A fashion victim who wears skinny fit trousers for conviction and jackets over t-shirts for elegance, and who sits on his crossed legs on the sofa when he becomes interested in the conversation.

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I thought El Pais was a newspaper not a magazine??

anyway I just went down to the kiosk in pouring rain and they told me they get the edition from today only tomorrow... now I'm all wet for nothing:boxed:

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I thought El Pais was a newspaper not a magazine??

anyway I just went down to the kiosk in pouring rain and they told me they get the edition from today only tomorrow... now I'm all wet for nothing:boxed:

 

It's a news paper, but on Sundays it comes with a magazine, where the interview was published. I'm sorry about that rainy walk for nothing. :emot-sad: Maybe you can order it in the web? (http://www.elpais.es)

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I've finally completed my translation, hope it's clear to you all!:thumb_yello: (It goes on from my earlier post)

 

 

Mika is a phenomenon. In the strict sense of the word. His first album, Life In Cartoon Motion, is a best seller: it has sold million and a half copies. The first single, Grace Kelly, was #1 in the British list, displacing The Kaiser Chiefs, and stayed in that position for more than six weeks. That Barroque song, operistic, of a contagious pop that sticks to you as if it were a virus which propagates though the air, has a story behind that is, in a way, the metaphor of how a Lebanese lad, in exile first in France and then in the UK, has turned into the musical surprise of the year. You may like him or not, but his compositions are catchy from the first time you hear them, and his way of performing them reminds of so many names that give you the chills. Mika sometimes is Freddie Mercury, some others Elton John. Whenever he wants he on his own sounds like all the Scissor Sisters together, the very Bee Gees, the geniuos of Rufus Wainwright, the disco thing of George Michael… or simply Mika.

 

The story behind Grace Kelly could be the story of a revenge, but Mika is cool and doesn’t believe in that word. “I always say there’s no such thing as revenge. I was asked to sing like Craig David so I sung like Grace Kelly instead. I’ve dreamt of revenge sometimes, I’ve tried, especially in school, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a fake concept.â€

 

Mika assures GK “is the perfect example of the type of aggressiveness†he often uses in a very effective way. He has told the tale of that song a hundred times, but sitting there as he were an apache on a sofa in the hotel Santo Mauro in Madrid, dressed in white, with his curls and his tall, slovenly body, confesses he has always sum up the tale a lot, and this is the first time he reveals the complete secret of how he cooked the success that gave him a name in the tempestuous world of massive pop.

 

The story is a bit long, but it is illuminating about the origin of his self security and success. “I was sitting in a London restaurant one day two and a half years ago. That same morning, the managers of a multinational record company with which I was willing to work, had told me on the phone to stop writing songs because they thought they sounded too much vodeville like. And that night, in a little pizza parlour, I overheard the conversation at the next table. They happened to be two musicians talking about The New Order. It was clear the third person at the table had a strong relationship with the band. One of them was the producer of all the hits by The New Order. So I ignored the friend I was dinning with, I got on my feet, went to their table and told them: <I’m very sorry, you were talking very loud about music and I only wanted to say hi.> They asked me what I did for a living and I told them I wrote songs. I don’t know how, but I got the number of one of those composers. I kept calling him for weeks and I couldn’t get in touch with him. I was such a bore that in order to stop me from calling again they told me to go to their studio and show them a couple of songs. I played two songs and all I got for an answer was <Oh, it’s very interesting>. They needed something secure, they wanted to re-write my songs so they had a good percentage of the royalties. I was terribly annoyed. I asked for a meeting with the managers. When I sit in front of them they told me for about an hour how talented I was, but also pointing out in every possible way that I had to change my style completely, for my music was not saleable. The conversation ended with this sentence: <Go home and come back with a hit>. I went back home absolutely mad. I had enough of going through this stuff every two months, of somebody else trying to manipulate me, to make a different musician from what I am. So I thought: you want me to sound like Craig David, like any other artist you have told me to copy, well, f*** you! I’m going to be like Grace Kelly, see if this way you want to deal with me. I brought them the song and never heard about them again.â€

 

No wonder. It was a kick in the head of those musicians that only wanted to make money. “It was my first year after dropping music school. I was in a dead end, with a lot of bills to be payed, slams on my nose from all those to whom I had sent my demos… So I wrote a song about that. I wrote a great song saying: f*** off, I’m not changing my style! They never phoned me again. Two years and a half later GK is one of the mayor hits of the year. And now I remember their words: go and bring us a hit. That’s what I did. They didn’t phone again, but I got it my way. Funny it was after that song that I wrote all the other songs in the album. And all in a year and a half.â€

 

It was the triumph of joy over intensity. Revenge of excess against the sweetening and the predictable. The consecration of a music that isn’t made for the masses, but that is enormously commercial anyway, that sounds good to grandparents and grandsons, but with the quality of an extraordinarily talented musician.

 

“GK was the first song in which I mixed a very personal message with very theatrical lyrics. And musically it’s also the first time I got together in a single song all my world, all the universe I like, from El Barbero de Sevilla to the bass lane at the beginning that reminds of The Pink Panther Theme. I never thought I had written a hit, but I realized that song was really me, and that offered me a magical position to face the rest of the album.â€

GK has been a mayor hit of incredible dimensions for an industry that’s used to smaller and smaller sales and systematic illegal downloading. However, the first work by Mika isn’t a one song only album, but a collection of songs that go right to the brain and make you dance like mad. This CD is ideal for listening in the morning, to start the day in an optimistic, careless way. Careful with slips in the shower!

 

Yet look out, not everything is dancing frivolity. Mika’s songs, when listened carefully in the distance, are deep indeed. For instance, Lollipop is another hit in which you hear voices of girls and drums that could be played by Disney characters, little screams by Mika himself, claps, bottles, tiny bells, humorous brass and, of course, the unmistakable falsetto of the musician. “I wrote it as a message for my little sister. In it I tell her not to practise sex too soon, because that would mean to boys something different than to her. So I tell her to be careful.â€

 

The song called Relax is a dance song that could have been written by the Bee Gees. “I wrote it the morning after the terrorist attacks in London on July 7th 2005. I was going to the studio in the tube and I had to get out because terrorist collapsed the whole system. I don’t think I’d had written it if that wouldn’t have happened. But I didn’t write the song about the attacks, I think protest song is horrible. For instance, Bob Dylan writes about what happens in the moment when he composes his songs, but not describing it literally. When you make pop songs you have to condense, draw things as simple as in a comic. You can make the mistake of minimize important matters. This one for instance. It’s a dance song and you can’t minimize in a dance club such a terrible fact. That’s why it’s not a song about the attacks, though I obviously wrote it affected by them.â€

 

And another one: Billy Brown, the story of a married man who in a moment of his life finds out he’s gay. “It’s the story of a friend of mine. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’ve already seen in him is life the next 20 years. I know what’s going to happen and that’s why I wrote it, as a message of what is going to happen to him. He will never in a million years know it’s about him. I thought the best was to write his story in the most honest and simple way, and the song works. Many of my themes are stolen stories, as Almodóvar did at the beginning of his career. I write songs about people I don’t like, though. I think I’m fascinated by the people I hate most.â€

 

BB is the excuse to make him one of those questions he detests and to which he has always refused to give an answer. British press has speculated with the possibility of Mika being a gay. Almost all his musical influences are homosexual men. Don’t you think speaking out would be a way to support a collective from a position of fame and respect? “I don’t think things are that way. I don’t think saying you’re a gay helps the community conquer their rights. But it’s an interesting point, hard to answer. I must protect my life, I must protect many parts of my life, I’d rather be seen more as an actor or a showman, I’m at the beginning of my career and I want to consider myself a writer. That’s how I face my work, hw I’ve made the album I’ve made. Because I don’t think the way famous people thinkâ€. End of story.

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And finally the end of it. Enjoy!

 

Mika is the middle of five brothers and sisters. He was born in Lebanon, but his family migrated when he was only one. His father is from the USA, his mother Lebanese. They flu to Cyprus and from there they moved first to Paris and then to London, where Mika has lived for the last 14 years. “I feel very Lebanese. A big percentage of my personality is Lebanese. I’ve been to Lebanon 5 times since I left and I love it. I think I’ve inherited from there this tendency to write very funny themes but very profound in the lyrics as well. What goes on there fills me with sadness, I try to understand the reasons for what is happening, but the more I research, the more I read and the more informed I get, the less I think I know. Several members of my family have been affected by the war, but I have the privilege of watching things the conflict from the distance, and I think it’s a terrible mess. Funny that, being Lebanon a meeting point in the Middle East between the West and the East, it has winded up in such a hard situation. It’s very sad, very hard and depressing that different cultures and religions cannot understand each other and there can’t be a mutual tolerance. Any war in any part of the world is something I detest sorely; I detest sorely any person who is involved in it, in any side. I think the human being is fascinating, but politics stink.â€

 

Mika is light, amusement, dance, disco lights, kitsch joy, but he also has his grey moments. In his first album he dares cutting its rhythm by telling the sad story of a woman told by herself. “It’s the story of a woman who lost everything in the war: she lost her home, her bedroom, the mirror in her bedroom, everything. Even her fiancé left her because she had lost an eye in an explosion, so she emigrated to the UK to get some treatment. I thought it was interesting to include the story of this woman, whose life changes in a second, and put it in the second part of the album, told by herself. Because it shows us that things we have for certain can disappear in an instant for facts we have no control of. It’s also a message to people who think they can’t get over a disgrace. For instance, I see myself at the age of 15, when at school everybody bullied and insulted me. Things seen with a perspective can always be overcomed.â€

 

His first gig in Madrid, in the middle of April, didn’t disappoint the audience, in spite of the wretched conditions of the sites where it took place, a club called Mynt: a mousetrap for 300 people that no doubt wasn’t built for concerts. In fact, the artist himself and his manager went into a crisis when they saw the place where he was due to play his first gig in the city. Mika couldn’t express himself: he couldn’t even jump on the stage due to the low ceiling. However, once more, he shows his positive vibrations and got over it: he plays the piano, sings, he pulls his socks up and the public can’t stop dancing. No problem. Mika will have to pass the exam of his first festival in Spain. It’s confirmed: Summercase Festival in Barcelona and Madrid on July 13th and 14th. So.. See you in the summer!

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