Thank you for your understanding :) [MikaSounds/ Twitter/ myspace/ YouTube/ MFC]

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Interview with SETTE Magazine 
Mika tells his story. Here’s how an ugly duckling, insulted by his schoolmates, became a swan. A “school of life” for every teenager The popstar judges youth, between personal memories and the X Factor experience. The “Mika Factor” against bullying: «At school they used to throw cans at me. I don’t forgive them, I know how to beat them»
«Beauty is provoked by beauty: «I was enrolled at Westminster, in London, one of the most ancient and prestigious schools in Europe. To get to class, though, I had to walk through the campus, behind the Abbey». Extremely neat lawns, tidy paths. And a gang of youngsters in green uniform. Who mock the eleven-year-old Michael Holbrook Penniman Junior when they see him passing by, they sneer at him. «In front of all the passers-by, they threw Coke cans and other stuff at my back. The dean knew that it was easier for me to wait for everyone to go into the classroom. Therefore, I was in fact allowed to arrive late to every class. But I’ll never forget who did those things to me. And I’ll never forgive. Nor I believe one should. Kids use to think their actions don’t have consequences, that everyone forgets or forgives, because this is what they are being taught. Bull****. And, anyway, that evil sooner or later turns against you…». There’s a mocking smile in the eyes of Mika, the name under which we now know—with an international super popstar face—that then-kid: so different from the others, in an age when the imperative is to conform. «One day, a teacher summons me, with the idea of helping me. “What do you do to provoke them?”, she asks. I was so angry… At a certain point, though, I was able to reply: “They’re idiots, but their “excuse” is they are 15. What’s yours?”. And that was the end of the conversation. I don’t know what triggers bullying. Perhaps it’s fear, of other people’s freedom. What I know is that one can—and must—defend oneself». Since his “personage” exploded in Italy—as a judge of the X Factor 2013 edition—he’s been scanned, listened to, X-rayed. We’ve found out he’s half-Lebanese (like mama Joanie, a sunny woman often travelling by his side) and half-American (like Michael, his diplomat dad [sic!]). That he grew up in Paris until nine, then in London. That he’s gay, without any “fears” of saying it: on the contrary, he extensively talked about it. That he’s dyslexic, and he chose as a kid, among his arts and life rolemodels, our anti-snob par excellence, Dario Fo. But before anything else, we realised that among many tv “personalities”, he’s actually a “person”. A true one. «I’m 31 years old, I live “in the shadow of the great divide”, that graceful period that lasts until the 38s, in which everything is allowed». He’s in Milan, again, to “judge” these-days youngsters in the 2014 X Factor edition, in which he’s seducing Italy more and more. «They like me? I don’t know why». He stops to reflect: he says he thinks «in English, but often in French and now in Italian, too». The feeling is he never wants to throw an answer “just because…”. «Maybe they like the fact that I’m not afraid to say exactly what I think. When I’m happy, I’m not afraid to express it. The same applies when I think I’ve felt like s… The important thing is to do it in an intelligent way. The truth is, I soon learned the difference between being treated with superiority and not. I was able to choose. So now I don’t do that. Nor even I have deference for age in itself. I have it for greatness, talent, knowledge. And for whom has been able to do something. But I talk to 70-year-old people the same way I talk to 7-year-olds». Tranchant statements like this one would be worth a deeper examination. Statements that have their roots in the admittedly short biography of a thirty-year-old. «I started working at 10: my answers to life have always been fast. At 9 I was kicked out of school, at Lycée Français in London. And I forgot everything: how to write, how to read, even how to play, which I was good at, and how to read music». Dyslexic, to sum it up. «Yes, they turned me into it. A French teacher. She was intolerant and aggressive, both as a person and as a teacher. She treated me badly, in a condescending manner. In the end I was kicked out. Me, not her». Mika stops to reflect. Perhaps to remember.
Walking in Hyde Park by Elwendin My mother told me “You can’t attend school, you talk to nobody. Do you want to drop out?” “I do” “What do you want to do?” she asked. “To go to the park”, I replied. She thought I was autistic. “Ok, you go to the park then”, she concluded. But that wasn’t all. Mika started to wander around Hyde Park, in London. “Without any goal or purpose. Every day. But she used to hear me singing. One day she told me: you can go to the park but you have to study singing in return. And learn again to play the piano. She tought: if he can catch up with notes, he will make it with words as well. She hired a Russian music teacher who just ran away from Urss, he passed me to his wife Alla out of despair” . Alla was a very talented opera singer. She imposed Soviet discipline to little Mika. For two hours a day, every day. “I got to sing to the the Royal Opera House in six months. A Strauss opera. That was my first job. It was hard, and I was terrified, but 50/60 years old people were addressing to me like I was a 30 years old pro. I used to think “They pay me and they are kind. At school, my peers treat me like ****”. The choice was done. And music is a magic wander (this is how stars get born). “That (probably referring to music) was all we got, in the two bedrooms that the 5 kids of us used to share, even when we used to live in a big house”. So it was nothing like in the new Sky commercial for X-Factor, where little Mika is surrounded with memorabilia. “There were no posters, photographs, computer games in my bedroom, there was nothing. Just a little theatre, a set design toy model that my parents bought to me: a magic item! And there were three bed, a big one and two single ones, that we used to swap all the time. We filled the empty space with our imagination.” And with notes. “Nina Simone, France Gall, Serge Gainsbourg, especially his darker and sexier things: I always love him. And Georges Moustaki’s voice, even though I wasn’t able to understand the politic meaning of his songs. Then, a lot of reggae: Shabba Ranks, which is a bad stuff now that I think about it, but I used to love it. He was dramatic and trash, with all those bits! I attended a gig of his as my first concert, when I was a kid, in Virginia. I was 8 years old: I remember that they searched me for guns. Awesome! It was absurd, but that’s when I thought: I’m a grown-up.” But the pain and the humiliations from teachers and bullies were yet to come… “And my liberation, with the singing at London Royal Opera House. People started to show me some respect, that changed my life. Therefore I believe in a rule: by putting someone in beauty, you provoke beauty. In Hillhaeursen, Alsace, I have some dear friends - the Haeberlins - who’ve been running a restaurant for generations. It’s called the Auberge de l’Ill” It’s one of the most famous restaurants in the world. “ Three Michelin stars, yes. But what most excites me it’s that Danielle and Marc take all those children expelled from school and ended up in a rehab program because of the drugs, or just because of too many truancy, and teach them how to run a restaurant, how to serve and to cook. Then they give them their restaurant for a dinner with program supervisors, parents, teachers. And for that very night they’ll be the chefs of the multi-starred restaurant! The basics are the same: if you give someone the chance to be part of something good, they’ll do something good. Anyway, the opposite counts as well!” Now Mika is back to work with the young contestants at X Factor. “When you’re in the music world, you feel detached from the people who now are the way you were before being successful. The talent show allowed me to go back to when I was an 18 y.o. shameless boy who were trying to make it big. I was “hungry” and was pitiless to myself. I always wanted to do better.” Different from these guys? “No, I feel many affinities with some of them, especially when I see them learning. Like the gipsy guy who partook in the French talent show The Voice. He used to live in a caravan, he couldn’t write nor read and used to learn everything by ear. Admirable.” Of course, once in the show biz, to remain pure it’s almost like a miracle. “ You can only do that if you allow yourself to have fun and keep your sense of humour. That’s the most important thing. Then yes, you’ll still be able to tell when something is right or wrong and won’t fall prey to your fears.” Mika will then talk about “black humour”. “I even used it in my new album” he says. “ Among all the tracks I’m working on in Los Angeles - they’re supposed to be released by the end of the year or soon after - there’s one that’s called “All she wants is another son”. It’s about a mother who forces her son to get married to a “trophy” girlfriend - of course there’s nothing personal about it - just to be able to take wedding pics and send them to her mother in Beirut. The refrain goes “All she wants is another son/ all she wants is another simple solution/ for my mother delusion. Get some adorable pictures done/ for her mother in Lebanon”.” He stops, hinting at the anticipation, and smiles.Endorphins vs. cannabis by Lucrezia The other important point is to continue to do something concrete, with others. “I just made a performance during a golf tournament in France. I was on stage, in front of 120 guests, with two musicians of my band. I played, I sang, I talked, and I thought: “They’re even paying me!!” Wonderful sensations like these, the energy that they give, the endorphins and dopamine, keep people away from seeking other havens, such as drugs. “ Whose consumption, however, according to the very recent statistics, is increasing among young people, starting with cannabis. “But for real? Or is it that people have less fear of admitting to smoking it? Although I don’t smoke - in fact, I find that it is very diffcult to be productive with things like that - I think there is quite the end of the stigma of marijuana, which is good for me. “ I wonder how many bullies “model meadows-of-Westminster” listen to his music today. Maybe even among golfers of the last party … A good revenge. “Against the bullying, the first thing is to know that it is normal to feel crap. It’s normal! Who undergoes should know that the way you feel it is not wrong. It is the situation that makes you feel so. Never be ashamed. Because the truth is that instead you begin to hate yourself. To hide yourself. To not tell anyone what is happening to you. Instead, speak! There is always a solution. You also have to understand, and it is not easy, that time passes quickly, and things that seem huge now, they will appear very small in the future. See them in perspective. You will feel better. And then, the little things that you can do today to feel better quickly they gain a sense. Do you like to draw? Maybe what you do today seems a scribble, but these scribbles, one day, can change your life. If you enjoy cooking, you may think that you are just gluttons and fat, and instead that passion can change your life. Do they treat you as a nerd because you love math? The math is an art, and the future is of mathematicians. Everything has a value. This I would like to convey to all those who are oppressed by bullying, which is a process of devaluation. Not only for what you are, but for everything around you. Your clothes are stupid, you are stupid, your car is worthless, your parents are fat, your sister is a b …, your religion is false and mine is better, you’re gay and your sexuality is not as good as mine, you’re a pervert and I’m a saint. It is at the same time intimidation and control. It is the way in which people cheapens everything about you, from your genitals to your sneakers. And they want you to no longer be able to look in the mirror, look at your family, or what you have, with pride. The only way to combat bullying is always reiterate that everything has a value, even the little things that are important to you. “ An oration, of those who have suffered and redeemed himself, that it should be almost read in schools. Mika is running at high speed. “It is the metaphor of Winnie the Pooh. In the book, he is the only character who sees that everything has a value, while the owl Ugh thinks he knows everything and understands nothing, and Piglet knows everything but he is afraid of everything. Here, the music, like art, offers a different vision of life, creating a value that can cause a sense of positivity. “The prayers of Pope Francesco by Lucrezia The same thing, he urges, “it’s true in religion.” He is unstoppable. even the time looming for a flight to catch to Brussels, as a good globetrotter of the show, stops him. “Religion says: this is right and this is wrong. This is true and this not. Well, the amazing thing is that the new Pope is challenging the traditional authoritarianism. But this is also the only way to move beyond the antiquated system of the Church, especially in societies where there is strong evangelism competition, from South to North America.” How Bergoglio knows. will he have the strength? “Francesco is the kind of Pope that prays not to have the strength to do things, but rather to have the strength to stop from doing too much.” It is clear, then,the reason why the models to take inspiration, according to Mika, are the “antisnob”: “As the German composer Kurt Weill, who composed symphonies - I just make songs - but he also loved to write pop songs. Or the French dramatist Jean Cocteau, which he divided himself between rarefied theaters and commercial films. Or the great Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, who also loved to do tv: “He put out” as they say in America. “Colorful expression that, literally means “gave it away.” “So, in the end, i’ve also ” put out “. I decided to do X Factor and not to isolate myself anymore. “ A talent in France, the song for a commercial beer in Spain, a Swatch watch. Where is the limit? “If I do something, it must be on a topic I know. In my case, music and design. The advertising of a mobile operator? It has to do only with the way in which music is promoted today different than it was 20 years ago. “ One final question, at a young star that Italy has begun to know well: is this or not, to Mika, a country for young people? “The teens, here, always say “there is no work”: but the nice thing is that there is life in the street. In France, for example, life is always behind a closed door; Los Angeles is a place where everything you want to do is connected and it depends on the money, while in England everything is related to big brands: there is a good designer? Yes, it works for this or that brand. An artist? It is in the Saatchi Gallery! So, cities like Stockholm and Copenhagen offer much more; but in the end even in Italy, where communication is appreciated, young people speak, and this has a positive effect on everything. Of course, it would be great to be young here at the time of the great boom…’. And today, where would you go? “In Montreal, Canada. There is a fresh culture, an extraordinary creative energy. There is the idea that anything is possible. In art, in music. They say: why not, let’s try? So, in this way come out talents like the brilliant 25-year old director Xavier Dolan (with Mommy won the Jury Prize at Cannes ‘14). There, in Québec, you take risks with young people without always thinking about money. They seek their own space between the influence of the neighboring United States, the European roots, a social system with the welfare and protection of their cultural autonomy. A nice mix.” At the base, always the same rule: “The Beauty Creates Beauty.” Who knows, maybe even on the green meadows of Westminster, and beyond, finally someone can learn it.
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omg … so cute!
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""Dear Mika, even though you are 80 and I have no idea where you will be when you read this letter, I just hope you are still weird".
This is the incipit of the series of 18 letters, observations, reflections that Mika decided to collect for the first time in an autobiographical book, as the message in a bottle for himself and anyone who’s willing to read it. It all started when Mika had a column on ” La Repubblica XL”, where he dealt with various topics in a profound and light way at once, just like he is. A collection embellished with artwork by him and his sister (who goes by the pen name DaWack) to discover Mika’s world: fresh, witty, at times bitter, just like life is."
Preface for “From MIKA to MIKA
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Staring At The Sun?