Home Edizioneed. 14 MIKA, A BOUNDLESS ARTIST
Mika, un artista senza confini


by Monica Landro

Written by Monica Landro
Photos by Francesco Prandoni

Mika is more than just a singer: he is a complete artist who embodies both an extraordinary artistic ability and a deep personal sensitivity. His music may be characterised by easy-going melodies and rhythms, but it is no less the depth of his lyrics that sets him apart. To present his new album, the Lebanese-born British pop star is touring Europe with the APOCALYPSE CALYPSO TOUR, and will also stop off in Italy, on Friday 19 July, with a special concert at the Lucca Summer Festival.

The title of the album is ‘Que ta tête fleurisse toujours’ which means ‘May your head always bloom’. It is a sentence of a message from your mum. Why did she write this exact sentence to you and what did she want to tell you?
“Que ta tête fleurisse toujours” was the last birthday message I received from my mother. It was hand-drawn and depicted me with flowers sticking out of my head. It is a message that will always stay in my heart, because even though she was sad and sick, she chose to send me a drawing with all these bright colours.

At first I didn’t understand its meaning, but after years I realised that it was a sort of provocation: she wanted to give me hope and confidence in my path and in my personal and artistic growth. He wanted me to continue to blossom like a flower, to explore the world with an open mind and be guided by my creativity: ‘Go, take risks, try new things and be creative. Only if you are creative can you be happy and free’. And I took this lesson to heart: I made the first soundtrack for a film, I toured festivals, a new dimension for me, and I made an album entirely in French for the first time, which couldn’t help but be called that.

Mika, un artista senza confini

Why the need to make an album entirely in French? And can we hope, one day, to hear your work entirely in Italian?
We moved from Beirut to Paris when I was just over a year old and I stayed there until I was eight. French is a language that has always fascinated me deeply, because it is not just a language, it is a whole part of my personal culture. It is like entering a door that leads to a different part of me, one that is perhaps not well known. It feels different, but also very familiar.

I also have a very strong connection with Italy and I don’t exclude the possibility of making a work entirely in Italian.

Italy is a country I love, and the Italian language has a beauty and charm all its own, and it would be a door to another side of who I am. It would be a fantastic experiment and a progression after French. But first there’s an album in English… that’s the next project!

In the album there is the song Apocalypse Calypso, hence the name of the tour: what meaning should we give to the word Apocalypse, referring to the tour?
When I wrote the song ‘Apocalypse Calypso’ and chose the name for the tour, I wanted to convey a sense of transformation and rebirth through music. The apocalypse is normally associated with catastrophic events, but for me it can represent a turning point, a moment of profound and radical change, and in the context of the tour it is an opportunity to break free from old habits, embrace new perspectives and live life more authentically and passionately.

Mika, un artista senza confiniThis tour is touching most of France, Northern Europe and is coming to Italy. A great concert, a new setlist in four different languages: how did you prepare for such an extraordinary and challenging event?
It is a really big and ambitious project. My priority has not been economic, but to create a very strong emotional, visual and musical experience for the audience. I have developed a show and a stage language over the course of 20 years, which works as a collective of which I am the helmsman. I write and develop the concept and work with talented artists from all over the world. The main partner for this tour was Rodeo FX. This is the world’s leading visual effects company. Everything from Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, almost all the Marvel movies! An amazing company. It was a huge privilege to develop a complete show with them, where every image and animation tells a story, a kind of electro rock opera and a real visual feast.

You love Italy, you have said it many times: what are the virtues of this country, the things you love most, and what are the flaws, those aspects that just don’t convince you?
There is no country in the world like Italy! Of course it is beautiful and there is so much variety. What really surprises me is the ability to dream and create ideas with artists, with no limits to your creativity, without anyone saying you are crazy. There is a passion that encourages creativity and allows you to develop your aesthetic even more. This is very important, it maintains your poetics.

Sometimes I still come up against a mentality that is a bit too conservative, especially in terms of my social sensibility, but I try to respond with art and music, creative expressions of freedom.

 It is what I call a poetic resistance to intolerant politics or thinking. It is a country that constantly provokes and inspires me and has given me so much, and for that I will always be grateful.

Mika, un artista senza confini

In July you will be at the Lucca Summer Festival. It is one of the most significant musical events on the Italian and international scene, featuring world-famous artists from the world of jazz to classical music. How do you feel about being included in this Festival?
Being part of the Lucca Summer Festival line-up is a great honour! I love festivals that dare to have an eclectic programme. This aspect stimulates the creativity of us artists on stage. You can do things differently, express yourself differently. I love Lucca and I’ve always regretted never having performed at this festival but now I finally will… and my after party with my friends there will be epic!

Can you give us some previews of how we will see you, what you will offer us from the stage?
I don’t want to disclose too much, I want to keep some mystery and surprise!
I am preparing a show full of energy, colour and joy! There will be songs from my repertoire and more recent ones. It is about creating a moment of magic. Everything has to be in the service of that.

You are always very busy: how do you keep the balance between your personal life and your music career?
Finding the balance between private life and work I think is crucial for anyone. For me it is about finding the right rhythm, because my private life becomes the inspiration for my professional projects. I started performing on stage when I was eight years old. I will always remember that first time: there were 3000 people in the audience, I was terrified but then, once on stage I felt calm and incredibly…. happy! I think it all started there.

The advice I can give is to make your real life and your life on stage one big conversation: as real, as creative and as varied as possible.

We are a poetic circus, with colour and joy, but we also allow ourselves to bring our sadness to the stage, to transform it. The secret of work-life balance is to understand that it’s not just ME doing it… it’s WE, the whole team and family.

It is never about ‘I’, it is about ‘WE’.

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