Meeting Mika or Talking to “The Boy who knew too much”*
Mika erupted onto the world’s musical stage in 2007 with his multi million selling album « Life in Cartoon Motion. » since his phenomenal debut, Mika’s musical career has gone from strength to strength. Classically-trained musician, prodigious songwriter; TV talent show judge, fashion designer, expert linguist and ex-choir boy, who is Mika? I caught up with Mika at the Printemps de Bourges music festival to find out. (This interview appeared in the July edition of the Connexion newspaper)
So, who is Mika?
That’s a question I ask myself everyday, and there is no single answer. I come from nowhere and everywhere. There has never been one single place that I’ve grown up that I can really call home. I guess in many ways I’m an immigrant, and I’m proud of that. Born in Beirut, I feel just as much at home in England as I do in France or Italy. English, French, Lebanese? I’m not sure of my true identity, so that’s why I make music, to get some sense of identity.
What about your musical style? You seem to have been given many different musical labels, including pop, rock, jazz and even glam rock,
I suppose my musical style reflects my different experiences. I am first and foremost a songwriter telling stories through my music, and each story needs a different theme tune.
You recently did a couple of shows entitled « The Art of Song » on BBC Radio 2. Tell us about that.
Yeah, I did the first show on New years Day and then another in late March of this year. It was basically a programme about songwriters; I got to play tracks from my favourite songwriters and then look at the stories behind the songs. You know, when you look at songwriters, we’re all the same, coming from everywhere and nowhere, we are not in life, but on the outside looking in, telling stories from our peripheral perspective.
From choirboy to judge on the French and Italian equivalents of The Voice. What’s the best way to make it in music, join a choir or go on a TV talent show?
Both are important. I was head choirboy at my school in London. I can still sing the mass in Latin and on my first casting for a TV talent show; I didn’t even make it past the first audition. There isn’t one single road to success; there is only individual ambition, the will to succeed and the willingness to take risks.
You’re playing a lot of festivals in France over the summer, what can you tell us about the show?
Stripped down minimalist staging with all the emphasis on the music.
Finally a few words of advice for wannabe Mikas
I would say, never be ashamed of what you do or who you are, and be proud of your music.
*Title of Mika’s second album.
Mika Summer Festival Dates
13/07 La Rochelle Les Francofollies.
16/07 Nimes Festival de Nimes
19/07 Carcassonne Festival de Carcassonne
20/07 Sollies Pont Festival du Chateau
Mika official website.