casamika

My blog post about the first part of the Casa Mika season (episodes 1-2) is here, now a few words about the latter part (episodes 3-4). I missed the main recording for the third episode (so couldn’t wait to see that one on television) but was lucky to be there for the fourth episode. The recording was the weekend just before my birthday so I had planned in advance to be in Milan that time and kept all my fingers crossed for tickets for both nights and was lucky to get them. So happy!

First of all a huge thank you to the Italian fan crew, it was a true pleasure to be there and meet everyone again. This is the time of the year when my country is literally the darkest place on earth and it cheered me up to be in Italy in so many ways. Everyone was in a party mood and had so much energy that it would have been impossible not to catch a part of it for myself and I felt so much more energetic after the weekend than I did before it.

Secondly, can’t express how much I’ve enjoyed this project and how incredibly grateful I feel that I could follow it this closely, it was so important to me and it means a lot to have this memory. Casa Mika has been one of my favorites of the all projects Mika has done so far. I didn’t expect to feel this way in advance but this was such a big challenge for him and it was wonderful to watch how he made it happen. I’ve seen him doing television work many times before this but none of it can be compared to the amount of work and investment and presence he had to put into this one and the performances he did for his own songs during these shows were some of the most interesting I’ve seen so far and I’ve seen many.

I saw the third episode on television (despite of short parts filmed while recording the second episode) and my favorite part of the show was Good Guys with the dancers (loved it that he had chosen matured dancers and generally included all age groups in different performances) and especially the performance with Eros Ramazzotti. This was the song Mika has written for Ramazzotti wasn’t it? I had never thought I could like it so much, it was lovely to hear them singing it together! Such romantic song and not my usual style at all but lovely indeed.

Then it was time for absolutely breathtaking Underwater and it was so beautiful it almost made me a little bit sad because I hadn’t seen it live (how could I miss such special live performance, I should have made more effort to be there) and most of all because I suddenly realized there might not be any gigs next year, maybe not before the new album is out and I had to remind myself that Florence is only a few weeks away so it won’t be long until I can hear Underwater again even if there’s a break next year. This Underwater was one of my favorite Casa Mika performances (and will definitely watch it again later).

About my Milan trip and the recordings for the fourth episode. Rai has already advertised having Kylie in their show so I won’t spoil anything telling that one of the highlights for Saturday was naturally to watch her performance and warm chemistry with Mika. She is so tiny and pretty and cute! Definitely one of the guests I wanted to see live. I generally love watching Mika with his guests, he is a good host and very warm with people. They did their new Christmas song and it was lovely and christmassy to see them on stage together.

Mika did a beautiful cover in the end of the Saturday’s recording (the girls on the couch with him) and I couldn’t wait to hear the song and totally didn’t expect another one of his guests to join him and neither did the rest of the audience and the collective disappointment when we realized it (that he won’t sing alone) was the size of a house! Lol! They did well together though. I would have loved to hear him singing the cover alone but on the other hand can’t blame him for being generous and sweet and wanting to share the moment with his guest. Lovely ending for that Saturday anyway and my favorite part of the whole recording.

We knew to expect an orchestra for Sunday but I still couldn’t handle my excitement when I saw the stage full of seats – enough for a symphony orchestra – and the short last recording was naturally the best part of the whole season. There’s nothing better than Mika with a symphony orchestra and I had thought in advance that just one song is more than enough reason to be there but we were lucky to hear first an Italian song (not for Casa Mika but for another purpose) three times and then the ending song for Casa Mika two times. Even his speech between those songs had the orchestra on the background. Lovely, lovely ending for the season, it couldn’t have been more beautiful.

During the third take of the Italian song some people started to feel restless and chat a bit. Well it was the third time we heard the song but still couldn’t believe it. There’s only one rule for symphony performances and it’s sit still, be quiet, listen to the music and think grateful thoughts. Talking is not okay unless someone needs urgent medical help and I won’t even start about singing along. I mean you want to sing along with a symphony orchestra? Well wait to be invited for their vocalist. I can’t control myself if someone is disturbing while Mika sings symphony, I will be watching everyone in Florence.

So it’s all over now with Casa Mika recordings. It all happened so quickly and they had to do all the work in such a short time period. I still can’t understand how he got everything done so well. I loved it how some people working there could already remember I was a foreigner and said good bye and see you next time in English. There might be another season, I wouldn’t be surprised and by that time I can hopefully understand Italian a little bit better.

Italian fans had organized Mika a wonderful Casa Mika themed cake for the final recording, it looked amazing and he came out later on Saturday to say hello to people. The cake looked stunning (it was made by a professional cake designer) but he was brave to cut it and share it with people. I wasn’t close enough to take any pics, there were a lot of people and I knew he wanted to meet and thank his Italian fans so I stayed a bit further away and used the opportunity to say hello to the girls. They weren’t interested a bit (poor exhausted dogs, I bet they couldn’t wait everything to be over) but it’s rare to see them from close distance and they are so sweet, so polite and so well-trained.

Hope to post a couple of blogs before Christmas. Take care everyone xxx

A small report about The Voice France blind auditions from Thursday to Sunday last week. Every audition day was different from each other and I’m very glad I did them all even the recordings were not equally entertaining. It was interesting to see all the talents and final teams and get a bigger picture of everything. Mika was naturally very tired (as said earlier, his schedules are insane) and his moods went from trying really hard to can’t bother to pretend anything and from being funny and witty to even a bit biting and then simply just staring and blinking (it looked his contact lenses hurt his tired eyes) and then finally happily giggling when his team was almost full and then full and the work done.

Mika looked more tired than the other coaches and to be honest his fans looked more tired than the other fans, our lives are synchronized that way. But we all made it and he did very well with his team which is now genuinely interesting and colorful and he got two most interesting talents of all the contestants (more than hundred contestants auditioned). We can’t be sure one of these two will win – both Zazie and Florent got some very good talents as well – but Mika definitely got the two I hoped most for his team.

Thursday was better quality talent wise and much more entertaining than the previous audition a couple of weeks ago. The coaches were maybe in a better mood or simply made more effort to be more entertaining and the night was full of funny details. Mika was extremely lucky with the contestants and his team started to fill so quickly he might have even wished he hadn’t pushed the button as many times as he did. He managed to get in his team probably the most interesting talent in the whole competition, it will be great to see how everything turns out. It will be important to make careful decisions and I’m curious to see what he ends up doing.

The coach team is very good in my opinion. I’ve always liked Florent Pagny, he is very pleasant in an adult, warm way. His fans are very kind and calm ladies and it feels natural to think both the artist and his fans are alike (otherwise they wouldn’t have stayed around him for so long). Zazie is funny in a smart, clever way. I can’t understand the language (which is a shame as I’ve heard she is extremely good with words) but still get this impression just from her gestures. Matt Pokora is the latest addition in the team and I don’t yet know how to describe him. Not that I have anything bad to say, he makes effort to be energetic and seems to be a nice guy. I just can’t catch anything about him and can’t yet remember his team as well as the other teams.

Friday wasn’t nearly as entertaining as Thursday because talents were not as good quality and none of the coaches except Matt Pokora made much effort to be funny. He kept trying to impress the talents and gave a red heart to a talent he wanted to his team (jokingly made from the cover of his notes) and even recognized one talent because had seen him on Youtube but every time he seemed to bond with the contestant they still chose Mika which was slightly awkward. The coaches did their song together in the beginning of every recording day and it was really the best part of the show (along with Mika doing an audition one night, almost forgot to mention it!). All other guests were somehow related to The Voice (contestants from previous years) and not familiar to me but still entertaining as performances.

Saturday was a long day and we spent inside the studio building more than 12 hours all waiting included. However, the contestants were better quality than on Friday and the coaches used all their experience and professional ability to get through the long day and to add good talents in their teams. In the end of the recording our part of the audience looked a bit restless but the production didn’t say anything and I guess they could understand how long the audience had been there and how tiring it was. We saw some very touching moments during the day and because of tiredness every emotion felt a bit stronger than usually. I had tears in my eyes several times!

Mika fans were very international both on Friday and Saturday and in addition to the French fans (and me from Finland) there were also a strong representation from Italy and fans from Belgium, Germany, Spain, Bulgaria and China. It was really nice to spend time together and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who already missed being at gigs and was grateful we have recordings like this to gather together between tours. The French group made me feel incredibly welcome, I can’t thank them enough. Solange took care of the practical side (like tickets) and Melyssa made sure I always had my place next to her and patiently translated me every single recording (everything!). Isa (from Belgium) had a car and she took me back to my hotel every night so I didn’t have to walk alone which always makes me a bit afraid. A huge thank you to the girls and the whole group!

Then it was time for the last recording day Sunday and the night turned out to be the funniest of all four nights! The coached had to fill their teams so they seriously had to compete for every talent and it made them use all their charm. Mika was very sweet and smiling and he got himself a very colorful and interesting singing group and we all screamed when the group (after being on stage for a long time) finally chose him. Definitely my second favorite in the whole competition! Then all the teams were finally full and the last contestant didn’t really have a proper chance even his performance was good and it was sad but that’s how the system works. That’s all for now, the season continues in December with battles!

casamika_6

I’ve been traveling back and forth between Finland, Italy and France, watched recordings for Casa Mika and The Voice France and listened to the latest episode of The Art of Song while waiting at the airport and I talked about these three projects when finally back home. The response I got was “so Mika wants to be a media person?”. I can’t know what he wants of course but the question was sincere – media person meaning here someone who creates a career around different medias – and I got an idea to collect my thoughts about these television and radio projects in one longer blog post instead of just writing my usual travel reports.

As a fan I naturally hope for projects that are built around Mika and his own personality music being a major part of it. From this point of view his radio show on BBC2 in the UK and the one man show Casa Mika on Rai2 in Italy are especially interesting projects to follow. Watching him as an expert talking about contestants and coaching young talents is different even he is good at it as well. I still travel to see live recordings for The Voice so I can properly enjoy the long season and being in France, meeting my local friends and attending these auditions is always a good experience and worth traveling.

First about the radio show. I really, really like the concept and think it’s a good match between Mika and the UK and might give them a suitable possibility to find each other again. Music is his area, talking about it comes naturally. He plays classics and who doesn’t love them. My knowledge about music is limited but every single song he plays is still familiar and brings back memories and flashbacks from my childhood and youth, images and even smells I thought I forgot years ago. Music works in a mysterious way. He is well prepared and I simply love listening to his voice, so pleasant and soothing, it makes me feel calm. A couple of covers he performs every time are more important than he can probably ever guess, something that makes waiting for his own new songs so much easier.

I need something to listen to while waiting for new music and future concerts. Every new album is a piece of life shared with people, introducing new songs and collaborations, describing his thoughts and feelings, starting a new era and revealing a new fresh theme and look (and hopefully bringing us tour dates, of course!). I look forward to his next album a lot and when I really miss hearing his voice, I listen to small special acoustic recordings like these covers focusing on his voice and not the music behind it. They are so good and make my life so much easier!

About The Voice France. The atmosphere is warm and the organization around The Voice treats fans well (and I mention it because that’s not always the case). I enjoy seeing the familiar studio and spending time with my French friends. You remember the Voice logo and the theme music? On television it can look somehow fake and industrial but when you are there it’s not like that all. It’s Mika’s work and he takes it very seriously. The magic we feel at gigs is missing but it’s very interesting to see how things are done in reality and it’s comforting just to be there and watch him. Maybe not magical but comforting, yes.

During the first Voice recording for the new season in the beginning of November we heard 25 contestants. Most of them poor quality to be honest, 4-5 good singers could easily stand out. Mika got one contestant he especially wanted and looked excited about it. He was wearing a very elegant dark blue velvet suit and jokingly kept showing the other coaches how soft it was. The hairdresser was coming and going during breaks to put the stubborn curl on his left side in its correct place. I think I saw the same hairdresser also at the studio Rai in Milan and it totally hit me. He has his own hairdresser traveling between Paris and Milan just to make sure his hair is fluffy enough and that particular curl as it should??

I’m not sure if I saw right but I could suddenly remember he is actually a big celebrity, a famous person who lives a fancy life like famous people do and works with other famous people all the time. I have a huge admiration and respect for his talent and the way he makes music and of course also for his personality, he is so full of intelligence and creativity but I’m often blind to his celebrity side, he seems always so normal that I keep forgetting it and it feels so weird to think about it.

I’m going back to France in the end of the week and will hopefully write a more detailed report about the Voice after that. Now finally to the most important television project at the moment – well, during his whole career – Casa Mika on Rai2. I went to see the recordings for the first two episodes and was so impressed for so many reasons that it’s hard to find suitable words to express myself. The first episode was broadcasted last night and I can finally write about it without fearing to spoil the excitement. I don’t even know where to start. This show is a HUGE thing.

I think one of the fears fans sometimes have towards television is that it will show the artist we all love and respect so much in a different light than we see him and give a somehow shallow image of him. I’m generally open to all kind of side projects and had no doubts this one will be a big, big success but of course also always wish everyone could see Mika like I see him and understand how ambitious he is with his work and how seriously he takes it, how many different sides there are in him and how interested he is in people and the whole world and everything that happens around us. And I think it’s impossible not to see all that while watching Casa Mika.

It gives an accurate picture of him as an artist and a showman and generally a person. The amount of work and effort put in the show in incredible. The team is big and a lot of money is invested but as Mika is practically a part of everything he needs to be well prepared for every single moment, there’s no other way to do it. The show is full of content, the guests are high profile – not only on Italian scale but internationally as well – and his music performances are beautiful and very special. He is singing, dancing, acting and interviewing people. I didn’t even know he can do all that so well. I had no idea.

I loved Hurts he did in this first episode with the children’s choir (I saw them already in Trieste and now wanted to hug Mika for bringing them in the studio and even learning sign language for the song) and the orchestra piece with the Naples dialect and especially LP as a guest. What a discovery, I fell in love with her as soon as she walked on stage! We saw stunning, rare Mika performances done for both two episodes. He had chosen the songs well to show different sides of his music and style.

The studio looked like the best parts of all the shows he has ever done put together as one surreal colorful house full of new details (all amazing work by Studio Job). He changed his outfit (everything designed by Pierpaolo Piccioli from Valentino just for Casa Mika) and shiny shoes between almost every performance and before starting the shooting again walked around in his living room, kitchen or library smiling and looking proud and pleased like not believing he had finally done it and thinking: “This is MY house. My living room, my kitchen and my library and now I’m going to hug my own, most adorable in the world, dogs. Girls, sit!”. Like that was what he had always wanted as a child, his own fantastic place where to sing, dance, act and entertain people he had personally invited. So cute and a very sweet contrast to the professional side of the show.

What I wondered in advance was the contact between him and his guests and the audience because as we all know the contact he has with his audience during concerts is something extraordinary, like there’s a direct line from his heart to people’s hearts. Outside the stage he is open with people when he wants it and during regular television shows it’s basically enough just to be focused and professional. This was different, he opened the doors of his house to the whole world and literally asked people to join his space, it was absolutely necessary that everyone could feel welcome. And I did, even I’m a foreigner, both in the studio and at home while watching the live streaming last night. Also, the way he welcomed his guests and took care of them was sincere and appreciative and his overexcited burst “it’s a huge, huge, huge fucking pleasure to have you here tonight” to Sting was the perfect way to greet one of the biggest musicians in the world.

Funnily my husband randomly mentioned Monica Bellucci yesterday and I could casually mention how I saw her last week at Casa Mika. “No you didn’t!!!”. Hahahah, yes I did, how priceless is that. Life is good. I hope you all are as excited for Mika and his new show as I am. My only worry is that Rai will actually realize his real value and never let him go and a one man show like this is a massive, many ways scary commitment. More later xxx

lovetoday

I wanted to write about love songs and chose three songs each describing love from different points of view. Relax is in the middle and inside of the emotion. It’s a love song – and for me definitely the most important love song Mika has written – despite of the background story not related to love at all. Origin is not only a love story but also describes how we are a part of the society and sometimes need to defend our right to love and Love Today is about the energy love creates that shifts from a person to another circulating among us.

The Love Today collage above was actually a doodle, hence the messy look. It was supposed to be a sketch and I planned to make another, more symmetric and more careful version later but drawing it was so relaxing I just continued and added colors and glitter and sequins until the messy result. It’s disturbing to see something so not perfect but it kind of describes how we see ourselves before we finally find someone who loves us exactly as we are. What a tragedy of human life to grow up only to learn we are totally incomplete and full of flaws until someone else sees us differently.

I listened to several versions of Relax before writing this post and noticed how my mood changed from serious to melancholic but still calm and finally smiling when I listened to first the acoustic, then symphony and finally the album version of of the song. Relax reminds me that whatever happens I’m never alone because I have someone who loves me and that is the calmest feeling in the world. The original recorded version makes me also smile because I can remember how hearing the first notes of the song many years ago made me fall in love with this artist and his music and I can still remember it when I go back to that moment and think it’s good to cherish those moments in life in general.

I’ve thought a lot about love lately because my husband and I had our big wedding anniversary last week. Magazines and their relationship articles tell us how there are ups and downs and what a hard work it is but I don’t know what they are talking about. It’s been only ups and not work at all and every day is little bit better than the day before. It never ceases to amaze me how that one day I could immediately knew that someone is right for me and how that certain and sure feeling never goes away.

I believe that with the right person love is a permanent state and also that all the talk about timing, place or circumstances being wrong or growing apart is just nonsense, that with the right person everything is possible and that in a good relationship people can grow as much as they need to. I know that not everyone agrees with me about this. People can’t always listen to their inner voice, maybe because the world is so loud, or they don’t even believe there is one but mine is screaming, would be impossible to ignore it.

The next song I was listening to was Origin and I’m surprised I’m not as close with this song as I am with Underwater which my favorite song on TOOL because it’s actually directly confessing love which I do like a lot. I guess it’s more about facts and less about passion and also more about making things to make sense putting love above everything and less about absurd. However, I love how genuine it sounds and how good it is as a song and have always enjoyed the live version and the airy, flying atmosphere in it.

I made the collage for Love Today sort of abstract and red and blue for several reasons. I got the idea from the psychedelic Imaginarium Tour background animations, I loved the red and blue patterns and can still remember them. The theme in the song is abstract, it’s all about energy, and I like the thought of having a possibility to describe it in many different ways. There are no limits for love, it can be anything and it can take different forms, circulate everywhere and fill our lives if we let that happen.

Love is a fascinating thing, I could endlessly think about it. No wonder there are so many love songs in the world. I have a few more collage ideas but they are not love related and I need some time to finish them so will add them into another post. I’m writing this one on my way to Milan to see Casa Mika recordings tonight and will hopefully write a report about that later as well. Take it easy xxx