I love seeing Mika concerts in France, I’ve loved since the beginning. France has a special place in Mika’s heart, the audience responds to it and there’s always love in the air. I love learning to know French people. It’s a long but rewarding process. They don’t automatically accept you, you have to earn it and you have to respect them. The better I learn to know them the more I like them. I even like the tiny hint of open rudeness in them because I see it genuine and that’s something I appreciate. During the past couple of years I’ve noticed I absolutely love Paris, always warms my heart to go back there.
The first concert I saw in Paris was Parc des Princes in 2008 and it was a massive and unforgettable one time only experience. After that I’ve seen several big concerts (Bercy twice in 2010 and once in 2016, Zenith twice in 2015) and charming smaller gigs (Cirque d’Hiver twice in 2009 and once in 2018 and Casino de Paris twice in 2012). I saw the tiniest and sweetest gig at Comedy Club in 2009 and the very special equality concert at Place de Bastille in 2013. However, it’s been my numerous trips to see the Voice of France that have made Paris a familiar and that way important place for me.
I’ve managed to build there routines I don’t have in Helsinki. I’ve discovered cafes where I can go and have coffee or eat soup and read or write in the middle of the people. In my favorite cafe I can focus as easily as I can at home even when the place is crowded. Their coffee is excellent, something not to take for granted in France. I try to see something new (like an exhibition or a museum) during my every visit but it’s these familiar places and my favorite views and walking routes in Montmartre that I miss when I go back home.
During my latest trip I spent in Paris a long weekend from Thursday morning to Sunday. Only Friday was scheduled for The Voice recordings so I had two whole days to do whatever I liked. On Thursday I just wanted to walk around and visit my favorite English bookstore. They have a large non-fiction selection and I always discover some interesting, not recently published books that can be otherwise hard to find and this time wasn’t an exception.
One of the books I randomly saw was This Is Our Brain On Music by Daniel Levitin and the chapter explaining “why we like our favorite music” made me naturally add the book on the top of my shopping pile. According to the book one of the reasons we’re willing to make ourselves vulnerable to our favorite musicians and to connect our very personal feelings to their music is that they often make themselves vulnerable to us or convey vulnerability through their art.
That makes sense. I like it when I get the feeling artists genuinely put their personality in their music and yes, I want to do the same while listening to it. Of course I admire also their capability to convincingly tell a story when it’s not personal at all, that’s one of the skills needed on stage. And it’s not only about how music sounds in my ears that’s important, it’s also what it represents and the values behind it. Stories that I can either relate to or continue in my head, thoughts the music provokes. Levitin’s book is waiting on my nightstand, it explains some basic things about producing music and creating the sound and I know so very little about those topics that it will do good for me to read it.
Saturday was supposed to be my museum day but after two recording sessions on Friday I had a lot of details to remember and felt I need to write them down immediately so I sat in a cafe and wrote a few hours. The international group (girls from France, Italy and some other countries) had dinner plans for Thursday and Saturday and I joined them both nights. It was good to see people after spending time alone and I enjoyed visiting proper restaurants, the kind of places where I wouldn’t go on my own.
The food we ate on Thursday was really good and the creamy pumpkin soup so delicious I had to point out to the waiter their soup is amazing. He gave me a cold look and told “all our food is amazing”. I learnt my lesson and didn’t tell him their crème brûlée was the best I had tasted. Thursday night was clear and the weather was good so after the dinner we walked to the Eiffel Tower to be there at midnight and it was the best ever idea. No matter how many times I’ve seen the Eiffel sparkling it’s equally magical every single time. A huge thank you to the girls for their bookings and lovely preparations for the both nights!
I enjoyed my walks and having time to be in my own thoughts and couldn’t help but thinking what a suitable location Paris would be for Casa Mika. I have this dream that one day Mika will have his own place, like a small theatre, that is his real life Casa Mika. A place where he can do small concerts and music theatre productions, record music, film television, guide new talents or whatever he would like to do. Host fabulous fashion shows for his designer friends or organize private parties for rich people who all wish they could be like him. Just imagine being able to see everything he does inside of just one building! It would be an empire of his own where no one says something is not possible or not sensible and where he can do anything he ever wants. He travels between different countries almost on daily basis so maybe still a distant thought but one day.
Before my trip to Paris I listened to Sound Of An Orchestra non-stop, having my headphones in my ears just focusing on the song and nothing else again and again and it was almost a new experience to me because I rarely listen to music at home this intensively. I listened to it during my flights and I continued my listening back home and it’s been a wonderful experience even it’s just one song and actually a tune written for television.
It’s fascinating how there can be a whole another world behind one single song if we just focus on it enough. I realized I like getting new songs this way, being able to focus on them one at a time. I love the idea (another dream) of releasing songs one by one so that they form a trilogy or a series of songs which has a common theme and is released during a few months or one season. They would come with short films (remember clips for Origin and Make You Happy, loved those), first digitally and always connected to a very, very special live event – organized at Casa Mika of course – and later published as a physical collection with illustrations and maybe even stories (remember Songs For Sorrow book). I would absolutely love it, every song would be an occasion.
No trips to Paris for a while, The Voice live shows will continue later this spring. I enjoy looking forward to the album and I enjoy this anticipation, I even bought a new shirt I can wear when the album is out, and can’t wait to listen to all the songs as intensively as I’ve listened to Sound Of An Orchestra, with my headphones, catching everything he’s singing, every part of the voice, feeling it in my body. In my muscles and my heart and my stomach. Then there will be gigs, finally. Nothing compares to live music. There’s something truly magical seeing and hearing music being created in front of you, seeing how the show is built night after night, watching the chemistry between people on stage, watching the whole dynamics and the artist guiding the audience, leading everything. I can’t get enough of it, I want to see every single detail. X