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Names to watch in 2007: Mika

Mika

Feature by Jack Foley

TWENTY-three-year-old Beirut-born singer Mika is one of the hottest prospects of 2007, having won the BBC’s Sound of 2007 survey of new talent.

His latest single Grace Kelly lived up to expectation by entering this week’s chart (January 14, 2007) at No.3 – the highest new entry – despite only being available in digital format until January 29.

The artist then follows Grace Kelly with his hotly-tipped debut album Life in Cartoon Motion on February 5.

Having fast become his signature song, Grace Kelly, is described as “a sensational 4/4 opera set to a technicolour pop backdrop”.

“It was a fuck-off song to the music company that I was working with at the time,” MIKA explains. “It’s where the line ‘shall I bend over, shall I look older, just to be put on your shelf’ comes from.

“I was so angry,” he continued. “That company had every resource except a soul.”

Grace Kelly comes complete with a video directed by British director extraordinaire Sophie Muller (Beyonce, Coldplay, Gwen Stefani).

A songwriter, performer, producer and orchestrator, MIKA’s songs combine a heady euphoric rush with darker unexpected elements: daytime melodramas and night-time tales of love, loss, abandonment, hope and happiness.

The album also comes with some brilliant artwork created by MIKA himself.

MIKA has been causing quite a stir since his arrival lastsummer. His download single Relax was a Radio 1 Record of the Week and playlisted there (virtually unheard of for a limited edition/download single) and his myspace site has grown to over 120,000 plays in just three months.

Popbitch called him “the breakout superstar of the next few years”, Rob Da Bank said “he’s going to be a huge star”, i-D declared “he’s pops new saviour” and Observer Music Monthly described him as “a glorious new pop star”.

MIKA has also been specially chosen to be one of the faces of Paul Smith’s 2007 Spring/Summer Global advertising campaign.

Debonair, with a touch of degenerate dandy, MIKA has a stunning, you-wouldn’t-believe-it life story – he was born in Beirut, grew up in the war and his father was held hostage in an embassy in Kuwait.

He also took self-imposed exile in Paris before settling in London and finding success with his music – and that’s just the first chapter!

Following a sell-out show at The Borderline and gigs at Ibiza Rocks, Bestival, The Union Chapel (special show for Mencap) and his first UK tour, MIKA will be returning to the stage for his largest headline show to date at Koko in London on February 22, 2007. A full UK tour is also planned for February.

MIKA digital only Dodgy Holiday EP which includes Billy Brown (album version), Love Today (Acoustic), Relax, Take it Easy (Live from Maida Vale – Blue Room session – Radio 1) and My Interpretation (acoustic) is available to buy now.

Hear Mika now…

Names to watch in 2007: Julie Feeney