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Cartoon Pop: Mika


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Cartoon Pop: Mika

 

HIS NAME IS MIKA, but his music is certainly not meek. Instead, this British — by way of Lebanon — singer's tunes are the sort of over-the-top pop that has needed a comeback since Elton John hung up his mohair suit and sold his soul to Disney.

 

Even if Mika's name is unfamiliar to you — though based on his upcoming sold-out 9:30 Club performance on Tuesday, a fair number of people seem to know him — you might recognize "Grace Kelly," the current single from his debut album, "Life in Cartoon Motion." The song has been featured on recent episodes of "Ugly Betty" and "The Hills" and is slowly crawling up the pop charts; so far it's peaked at No. 57 on the Billboard Hot 100.

 

Mika penned "Grace Kelly" in reaction to record executives' suggestions that he try to become more marketable, like popular British R&B star Craig David. He lashes out in his lyrics: "I tried to be like Grace Kelly/But all her looks were too sad/So I tried a little Freddie/I've gone identity mad!" and "You only want what everybody else says you should want." Ironically, Mika's rebellious anthem against the music industry's obsession with commercialism has proven his most commercial song to date, hitting No. 1 in the U.K. in January.

 

The "Freddie" referenced in "Grace Kelly" is Freddie Mercury of Queen, to whom the 23-year-old Mika says he's proud to be compared. "I aspire to the musicianship of a band like Queen," he told the London Sun. "To be compared to Freddie Mercury in any way is a huge compliment." In fact, Queen's Brian May is one of Mika's most vocal fans; the guitarist was caught shushing a noisy couple at one of Mika's London performances earlier this year.

 

He took a page from the playbook of one of his other influences, Harry Nilsson, and created cartoon versions of the characters featured in "Life in Cartoon Motion" for his album artwork and Web site. (Nilsson did the same with his 1970 album album "The Point!.") The resulting characters, which include Billy Brown and Lollipop Girl, each have their own MySpace pages — as does Mika himself, of course.

 

Mika's MySpace presence has been a big contributor to his stateside success; his profile on the site currently boasts more than 200,000 friends. No doubt also a boon to Mika's album sales is his friendship with gossip blogger and tastemaker Perez Hilton, who has mentioned Mika more than 30 times on his popular site since January.

 

Hilton's backing has also apparently boosted Mika's record sales — "Life in Cartoon Motion" sold 50,000 copies in the first two weeks after its release. "For a brand-new artist, that is unheard of without traditional airplay," Monte Lipman, president of Mika's label, Universal Republic Records, told Newsweek.

 

Although Web fans big and small gave his career an early push, it's Mika's showmanship that'll give him longevity. He's already enlisted jugglers to entertain fans waiting for a show at the Roxy in Los Angeles, and he's said he hopes to get trapeze artists to hit the road with him instead of opening bands.

 

If he has his way, his performances would make P.T. Barnum proud, he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "If I make a certain amount of money on my live shows, then I can turn my live show into a big-top circus tent and take that all around the United States."

 

» 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW; with Sara Bareilles, Tue., 7:30 p.m., sold out; 202-265-0930. (U St.-Cardozo)

 

Written by Express contributor Kate Lanahan

 

http://www.readexpress.com/read_freeride/2007/06/cartoon_pop_mika.php

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I like this review/showcase- it shows that a lot more then just opinion's (valid as they are) has gone into it. Mika has a plan and it will be carried out in style...there's a lot more to come for a long time...

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Cartoon Pop: Mika

Hilton's backing has also apparently boosted Mika's record sales — "Life in Cartoon Motion" sold 50,000 copies in the first two weeks after its release. "For a brand-new artist, that is unheard of without traditional airplay," Monte Lipman, president of Mika's label, Universal Republic Records, told Newsweek.

 

You would think these radio stations would have enough sense that if the album is selling 50K copies then perhaps they should put it on the air??

 

I've got a Toronto venue in mind for Mika's next show and it would be perfect for trapeze artists because it's a converted warehouse.

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