Mika | Music | New York | News | Photography

Pop Phenom Mika Takes Manhattan in Candy-Coated Showcase

Mika4

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a special showcase by Mika, the London-based, Lebanese pop star whose catchy single "Grace Kelly" just hit #1 on the UK charts, and whose emergence in the U.S. and Britain has received more advance hype than the iPhone. Fortunately, Mika lives up to it.

MikapaulsmithI shot these photos at the event which was held at The Box, a tiny cabaret space on New York's Lower East Side. After about an hour, the ebullient curly-top singer, who has earned comparisons to Elton John, George Michael, Freddie Mercury, Rufus Wainwright, and Jake Shears, emerged on stage and ran through a selection of tracks from his album Life in Cartoon Motion. He finished up with the single "Grace Kelly", which he apparently wrote as a flip-off to record labels who told the singer he should sound a certain way.

I managed to catch a glimpse of John Cameron Mitchell at the event, which seemed entirely appropriate as Mika's energy can be very Hedwig-esque, and my boyfriend spotted former supermodel (there for the Celebrity Mole fans) Frederique bopping along to the music. Mika draws an eclectic crowd.

Mika5Mika's bubble gum pop translates flawlessly live. We were sent away from the showcase with a gift bag containing a CD, a huge selection of candy, and a special Mika hacky sack, but bribes weren't necessary. I think most of the audience was already sold. I am, anyway.

For those of you who become dangerously addicted to songs with catchy, fizzy, narrative lyrics that tell a story, Mika is your man. I drank the Kool-Ade, and now I'm hooked.

It will be interesting to see whether he can catch on in the U.S. The Scissor Sisters have seen chart-topping success in the U.K., while in the U.S. they remain niche artists. I think Mika's optimistic songs should find a bigger audience here — they're already playing as MTV promos, and Mika just signed a huge deal to front designer Paul Smith's spring/summer 2007 campaign (above right). Smith's colorful image suits the cartoon-obsessed singer to a T.

Mika2 Mika3

Two of Mika's tracks are available for download on iTunes:

"GRACE KELLY" — Mika
MIKA - Grace Kelly - Single

"LOVE TODAY" — Mika
MIKA - Love Today - Single

The full album drops on February 5th.

Mika1_1

Mika [MySpace]
Mika [offical website]

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Comments

  1. hey, this may be off-topic, but I've heard that Doug Blasdell has died. This shocking as he seemed to be in perfect health. Anyone know if he was in an accident or how it happened?

    Posted by: James | Jan 23, 2007 10:38:34 AM


  2. Hacky ... Sack? :)

    Posted by: ATOMISCHE | Jan 23, 2007 10:47:00 AM


  3. I've worn out "Love Today," having played it over and over again for the past month. So good.

    Posted by: SGR | Jan 23, 2007 10:55:38 AM


  4. Somewhere Jake Shears must be REALLY pissed...

    Posted by: J | Jan 23, 2007 10:59:59 AM


  5. "has earned comparisons to Elton John, George Michael, Freddie Mercury, Rufus Wainwright, and **Jake Shears**."
    Com'on everyone, sing it: Which one of these is not like the other?

    Posted by: shane | Jan 23, 2007 11:01:04 AM


  6. James,
    I heard that Doug had salmonella and later got pseudomonas while in the hospital. He was in good health. All very sudden.

    Posted by: m | Jan 23, 2007 11:09:24 AM


  7. "This shocking as he seemed to be in perfect health."

    Nothing healthier than a steady gay diet of meth, roids, and blow....the guys who look to be in the best shape are usually in the worst of health.

    Posted by: J | Jan 23, 2007 11:16:45 AM


  8. To Shane:

    1. Too funny.

    2. Too true.

    Posted by: mark | Jan 23, 2007 11:29:53 AM


  9. Andy,
    Mika's pretty popular up here (T.O.) right now.

    CHUMfm.com has him rising to #22 this week - good on!

    Posted by: mark | Jan 23, 2007 11:32:04 AM


  10. There is more info and about this lovely gentleman on www.theboyzblog.com

    Which is a lovely London-centred gay blog...

    Thanks for this lovely blog btw

    How many times can I use the word 'lovely'...

    Posted by: hix | Jan 23, 2007 11:59:38 AM


  11. I heard "Grace Kelly" a few days ago on MTV and I immediately downloaded it. What a great song and a really fun video. I agree with the Freddie Mercury comparison, but I also can't help but think about how he looks like Dr Frankenfurter when he sings. At any rate, I wish I could have seen him live.

    Posted by: Steve | Jan 23, 2007 12:24:45 PM


  12. "Nothing healthier than a steady gay diet of meth, roids, and blow....the guys who look to be in the best shape are usually in the worst of health."

    While that is a sad fact, it's best not to generalize. My partner and I workout regularly to stay healthy and we are most definitely NOT on the gay diet you mentioned.

    It's true of many, especially in larger cities, but unless you knew that to be true personally of Blasdell, it's unkind to speculate, especially since the man just passed away.

    Just my opinion.

    Posted by: mark m | Jan 23, 2007 1:18:06 PM


  13. Cool, add this to the new Bloc Party and it looks like 2007 is starting out to be great year for queer friendly (and good) music.

    Posted by: Giovanni | Jan 23, 2007 1:26:43 PM


  14. Andy, I would love to take you to a few concerts and introduce you to *good* music.

    Posted by: peterparker | Jan 23, 2007 2:16:37 PM


  15. I love these pictures!! the poses are very cute lol

    I have been aware of Mika's music for a while now,

    Posted by: Da | Jan 23, 2007 3:16:17 PM


  16. hello andy....
    always love this...."while in the U.S. they remain niche artists". B-R-E-A-T-H-E they say....niche is like wearing a corset for-everrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

    Posted by: ricardo | Jan 23, 2007 3:53:44 PM


  17. The lasting thing I'll take away from this post is that Andy has a boyfriend. Another fantasy life bites the dust.

    Posted by: Freddie | Jan 23, 2007 5:40:23 PM


  18. Do I get to be the first to say it? Well, okay then - Mika = hotness. Not my type of music, but definitely my type of guy.

    Posted by: Jordan | Jan 23, 2007 5:58:25 PM


  19. I didn't realize the album wasn't out yet. I've been listening to it for weeks.

    TO FREDDIE... I hear ya brother. Another 'Black Tuesday.'

    Posted by: Dustin | Jan 23, 2007 8:18:50 PM


  20. Im predicting a one hit wonder. I can see this song getting unbareably annoying. He's no Justin Timberlake and unapologetically flaming and he doesnt do hip hop club music soo this ones a miss. America, the land of teenie boppers and ghetto street thugs.

    Posted by: Toto | Jan 23, 2007 9:04:57 PM


  21. Is Mika definitely gay then?

    Posted by: Craig | Jan 24, 2007 11:48:21 AM


  22. The album is wonderful. We had the chance to discover "Relax, Take it easy" on the TV because one of the main TV channel in France used the song as a tune for one of the main 7:30pm show each evening.
    I spoke with a friend who works in a big music store : a lot of people is waiting for the album in France.
    Mika is cute, intelligent, funny and talented... but even if we can make a comparison with Jake Shears, Freddy or Rufus, I'm a big fan of them all!!! ;o)

    Posted by: Gorion | Jan 24, 2007 2:43:49 PM


  23. Mika is the most refreshing thing to happen for yonks.....so exciting and soooo good looking....please tell me he is not gay so at least i can have him in my dreams

    Posted by: Julie-Ann | Jan 25, 2007 10:02:11 AM


  24. Why the Elton John & Rufus Wainwright comparisons? Is it b/c he's gay?! B/c musically, they sound nothing alike.

    Posted by: Matt | Jan 25, 2007 3:50:44 PM


  25. Mika is great. Here in Sydney , a local musician by the name Jeremy Brennan also thanks Rufus, Elton and Jake as inspiration.

    www.myspace.com/kingcasualmusic

    You can also hear a couple of remixes at

    http://acidjasmine.blogspot.com/2007/01/world-premiere-on-acidjasmine-disco.html

    Posted by: acidjasmine | Jan 25, 2007 10:13:00 PM


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