Translation credits: MFC
From the door of the dressing room came up the Mika’s disheveled head. He smile and ask me to wait a moment, wetting me with the spray for the plants.
While he was waiting for the rehearsals for X Factor, the judge who has changed the face of the show, he revise the episode of the “daily” section, he dresses and chats with the staff. With him there’s even his mum, a permanent presence behind the scenes of the program.
“She’s part of the team for ten years.” he explains. “She creates clothes for me, for the band, for the dancers. She is the head of a laboratory of 15 people: we do everything together, it is the only way in which we can really have fun.”
How do you feel, at the end of this journey?
It was a crazy experience. A few months ago I didn’t even say “grazie”. And now… I can’t believe it, the program is finished! I still feel as if I were starting.
During the rehearsals, he looks carefully the performance of his finalist, Violetta. His advice doesn’t stop at the accuracy of the singing. Not convinced about a pair of shoes with high heels worn by the girl, he takes them off to her and he make sing her without shoes. But he reassures her from the table of judges: “I am superstitious so do something wrong or at least make a mistake!!”
Have you ever imagined that Violetta would come down to the final of XF?
I was hoping all my singers could arrive at this point of the program. I know that it was unlikely, but you always have to start with that intention. It’s ok, I worked with the girls so that each of them earned something from this experience.
If you could go back, would you change something about your choices?
We select the tracks to sing in the competition between hundreds of songs. I mean, I love Adele, it is a friend of mine and my neighbor’s house, but I did not want to give her songs. They are too obvious. I was afraid that the show would become a karaoke.
Here in Italy, did you meet someone who will inspire you a song?
I can’t reply you yet… BUT there’s a person that could even bring me in a new direction.
What Mika can tell us is that he is going to leave Italy immediately after the final of X Factor. First stage in France, where he will make the coach on “The Voice”:”We have just recorded the selections for the “battles” : I had with me Kylie Minogue as” special coach “for a whole day, it was amazing!”
Is there a difference between France and Italy?
Here there is more chaos, cheerful anarchy. It is important because you can have fun. Italians leave me to risk. They made me choose songs of Gossip, Dolly Parton, even Passenger that was not even ever heard on the radio. They told me: if it goes wrong it’s your fault!
And you were right, “Let Her Go” is at number one in the singles in Italy.
the record company sent me a case of wine! Jokes aside, I’m happy: it is a lovely song, its potential had not yet been exploited.
And after “The Voice”? Holidays?
No, after that I go to LA to record my new album
What can you tell us about the new album?
It will not be electronic. It looks more like the songs that I wrote when I was 21 years old. “The Origin Of Love”, my last album, was built and very intricate. Now I change everything.
Meanwhile, the version of “Stardust” with Chiara became a hit. Did you expect it?
Life is strange. I knew that this song was special and, I said it frankly, I quarelled a lot with my record company. They wanted a new song. But it represents perfectly this moment, it sounds great, the voice of Chiara is fabulous.
Better than the original?
I think so, yes!! With Chiara the song has found its home. when you are sure of one thing, you have to take risks.
Will you make some duets with other artists?
“Not as young as her. Someone older. Indeed, much older” he smiles, making it clear that there will be something amazing.
How do you feel, at only 30 years, to have a “greatest hits” in the italian chart?
It’s a collection of songs, not a “greatest hits”! it is a concept that has no meaning. “Popular Song” has 40 million views on YouTube but in Europe has never passed on the radio. Anyway, I’m going to continue until “Volume 2” and maybe at 85 years I’ll do the third.
Are you surprised about the success of the album?
I think it happens because I’m on TV to have fun, not to answer the usual questions.When you are on promotion they are all the same: “Do you like Italy? Do you like the italian food?” At “X Factor” I can be myself, I am very lucky.
Is there a hidden gem in the album that fans have to discover?
“Any Other World” is in the digital version, for me it’s very important, it is one of the first songs that I wrote. it has never been a single, but it helped me to find my own style.
Do you still like to sing “Grace Kelly”?
Yes, but I change it every time. In French, on the piano, with a choir, with the orchestra. The songs have a life. You can let them destroy you or make sure that they change with you. It is essential, otherwise everything becomes false.
Will you sing something at the final?
I have an idea and I want to involve the judges. It would not have been the same without these people so colorful and eccentric.
So will you come back next year?
Now I have an album to do and it will take many months. And then a tour. It is not a “yes” or “no.” It was a wonderful experience. But I make albums, I’m a musician. And I want to continue to do it.