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Mika ( ), sometimes styled MIKA, (born Michael Holbrook Penniman Jr. 18 August 1983), is a London-basedmarker, Grammy-nominated and BRIT Award-winning singer-songwriter, who has a recording contract with Casablanca Records and Universal Music. He rose to fame at the start of 2007.

Early life

Mika was born in Beirutmarker, the third of five children born to a Lebanese mother and an Americanmarker father. When he was a year old his family was forced to leave war-torn Lebanonmarker and moved to Parismarker,. After listening to Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box," he wrote his first song, which he describes as an "awful" piano instrumental called "Angry". The first piano piece he learned to play was "Les Champs-Élysées" from Joe Dassin. The family moved to Londonmarker when he was nine years old. There, he attended the Lycée Français Charles de Gaullemarker, where he experienced severe bullying. He also had problems with dyslexia. In response to these experiences, Mika was home-schooled by his mother at the age of 11, for six to eight months. He then attended St Philip's School in Kensingtonmarker where he was the head of the Schola Cantorum (the St Philip's Choir). Later he attended Westminster Schoolmarker and the Royal College of Musicmarker, which he left to record his first album at Casablanca Records. He has also slightly altered his given name, Mica, changing the "c" to a "k" because he was frustrated by how often people would mispronounce it.

Musical career

Life in Cartoon Motion: 2006–2008

As a child Mika was trained by Alla Ardakov (Ablaberdyeva), a Russianmarker opera professional, and later graduated from the Royal College of Music in London. His debut radio appearance was on Dermot O'Leary's BBC Radio 2 show in September 2006, Later with Jools Holland and on The Friday Night Project on 19 January 2007. While he is rumoured to have a vocal range of five octaves, he claims that it is actually closer to three and a half octaves.

In January 2007, Mika was on the top of the BBC News website's Sound of 2007 poll.

first single was a limited 7"/download release called "Relax, Take It Easy" (2006). It was play listed by BBC Radio 1 in the United Kingdommarker, and was also made Record of the Week by DJ Scott Mills. The Dodgy Holiday EP is also available for download. His song "Billy Brown" was available for free download for a week from the iTunes Store.

Universal Music released his single "Grace Kelly" by digital download on 8 January 2007, and it reached number one on the UK Singles Chart on 21 January 2007. The CD, 12", and limited-edition 7"Produced and mixed by Greg Wells in Los Angelesmarker, with three songs co-produced by Jodi Marr and John Merchant, who produced the original songs which garnered him his deal with Universal. Mika's début album Life in Cartoon Motion was released on 5 February 2007, and has brought comparison with artists such as Freddie Mercury, Scissor Sisters, Elton John, Prince, Robbie Williams and David Bowie. Grace Kelly, in fact, references Mercury in the lyrics, "I try to be like Grace Kelly/But all her looks were too sad/So I try a little Freddie/I've gone identity mad!"

He was the musical act for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on 26 March 2007 and 14 February 2008 and for Jimmy Kimmel Live on 27 March 2007. He also performed live on So You Think You Can Dance on 26 July 2007.

Mika live in concert
toured the United States in June 2007, with support from Sara Bareilles and Natalia Lesz.

On 10 October 2007, Mika began his Dodgy Holiday Tour, playing at venues across Europe. On 17 November 2007, Mika started the UK leg of his tour with support from Palladium. The North American leg of his tour began in January 2008 with support from The Midway State and Creature and continued through February with a stop in Los Angeles for the 50th Grammy Awards.

His debut album, Life in Cartoon Motion, has a coming of age theme and deals with his transition from childhood to the present, though he has stated that not all of the songs are autobiographical. His songs often deal with difficult topics. For instance, in "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" the theme of larger women suffering from discrimination is explored. Mika has said that the fact that his mother was a big woman, and that he had seen the prejudices against her, helped him to write the song. In another example of dealing with more difficult subject matter, in the song "Billy Brown", Mika writes about a married man who has a homosexual affair.

On 20 February 2008, Mika opened the 2008 BRIT Awards with a live performance of "Love Today," "Grace Kelly," and a duet, "Standing in the Way of Control," with Beth Ditto. He was later awarded the BRIT Award for Best British Breakthrough Artist.

Mika has reportedly written songs for other musicians, saying, "I write songs for other people under different names most of the time. I have a little family of three names. One of them has been discovered - it's Alice."

The Boy Who Knew Too Much: 2009–present

Prior to the release of his second studio album, Mika released a limited-edition extended play titled Songs for Sorrow on 8 June 2009. The EP includes 4 tracks and a 68-page book featuring lyrics and exclusive illustrated interpretations of each song by some of Mika’s favourite artists. The song "Blue Eyes" was used to promote the EP, and was A-listed on the BBC Radio 2 playlist.

Mika's second studio album, The Boy Who Knew Too Much, was released on 21 September 2009. Mika recorded the majority of the album in Los Angelesmarker with producer and musician Greg Wells, who also produced his debut album Life In Cartoon Motion. The album has been described as Mika dealing with his adolescent teenage years and "in a sense is kind of part two" of his first album. The first single from the album "We Are Golden", made its radio debut in the United Kingdommarker on 20 July 2009, on BBC Radio 2 and was released for download on 6 September 2009, with the physical release following on 7 September 2009. The single debuted at number 4 on the UK Singles Chart on 13 September, 2009. Mika performed the track to an audience for the first time at the iTunes Festival 2009, which was based at The Roundhousemarker in Camden, London, with the performance being screened live on ITV2. The track was also performed on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on 4 September 2009. On the 7 September, 2009 to celebrate the release of "We Are Golden", Mika invited fans via his Twitter page to join him for drinks at his local pub. It is reported to have cost him £25,000. "Blame It On The Girls" has been confirmed as the second promotional single in America and Japan, with "Rain" being the second promotional in the United Kingdom to be released on November 23.On Friday September 25, 2009 Mika performed on Good Morning America in New York City for a small studio audience and about 50 fans. On Wednesday, October 14, 2009, Mika performed "Blame it on the Girls" on the Late Show with David Letterman.


Mika signed with Fuerte Group under the management team of Jerry Blair and Rich Isaacson, who at first, heard of the artist through their client, writer/producer Jodi Marr. When asked to forward any music she was working on, Mika's music was among the pile of CDs sent. As soon as his music was heard, they became instantly interested, and the team then was hired as his managers shortly thereafter.

Personal life

Mika comes from a family of three girls and two boys. He has one younger brother and one younger sister along with two older sisters. His sister Yasmine, who works as an artist under the nom de plume Dawack, painted the cartoon art for his album Life in Cartoon Motion, and she is currently a fashion designer. He also speaks French fluently. In an interview on 28 September 2009 with The Chris Moyles Show on BBC Radio 1 he commented that he had learnt Mandarin Chinese for 9 years but did not speak it very well, but mentioned that his three sisters did all speak it fluently.

Because of his flamboyant stage persona, there have been rumours that Mika might be gay. In response to media speculation on this theme he has been quoted as saying "I never talk about anything to do with my sexuality. I just don't think I need to. People ask me all the time. But I just don't see the point." He added that "in order to survive I've kind of shut up different parts of my life, and that's one of them, especially this early in my career."

He denied allegations that he is steering clear of sexual taboos in order to appeal to the US market, pointing to the song "Billy Brown", which is about a married man who has an affair with another man. He is quoted as saying, "If I was worried about sexual taboos I certainly wouldn't have made the record I made. It has nothing to do with that. It has more to do with self-respect." In an interview in the US gay magazine Out he stated that "there is a way of discussing sexuality without using labels."

In a September 2009 interview in Gay & Night, Mika commented on his sexuality: "I've never ever labeled myself. But having said that; I've never limited my life, I've never limited who I sleep with...Call me whatever you want. Call me bisexual, if you need a term for me... You should be as free as you want."

He is a lifelong fan of Charlton Athletic F.C.., and is also a close friend of fellow singer Lady Gaga.


Studio albums

Awards and nominations

World Music Awards
Year Nominated work Award Result
2007 Mika Best-Selling New Artist
Mika Best-Selling Male Pop/Rock Artist
Mika Best-Selling British Artist

MTV Europe Music Awards 2007
Year Nominated work Award Result
2007 Mika Best Solo Artist
"Grace Kelly" Best Track

The Record of the Year (UK) 2007
Year Nominated work Award Result
2007 "Grace Kelly" Record of the Year

The 50th Grammy Awards
Year Nominated work Award Result
2008 "Love Today" Best Dance Recording

2008 BRIT Awards
Year Nominated work Award Result
2008 Mika British Male Solo Artist
Life in Cartoon Motion British Album
"Grace Kelly" British Single
Mika British Breakthrough Act

MTV Europe Music Awards 2009
Year Nominated work Award Result
2009 Mika Best Male


  1. Mika -> Vidéos -> Medley,]
  2. Porter, Hugh (2007-01-23). " A Prejudice Goes Pop", Time. Retrieved on 2009-05-17.
  3. (August 21, 2007). "Mika: 10 things you never knew about your favourite star", The Gold Coast Bulletin, p. 28.
  6. BBC Radio 2 Playlist
  8. Mazumdar, Tulip (9 June 2009). " Mika pens 'teenage' second album", BBC Radio 1. Retrieved on 2009-07-08.
  15. September 7th, 2009 Mika's Blog: BLACKPOOL, FoozBALL and WILL YOUNG

External links

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