In this month it will be 9 years since I saw my very first Mika gig and later this year it will be 10 years since I discovered this artist and it doesn’t feel that long. I can remember the exact moment and even the days and weeks after hearing his music for the first time like it was yesterday. I was totally mesmerized. I still am.

When I think of this time period I realize how much has happened. I’ve travelled and visited more than 30 different countries, seen many concerts, festivals and events and watched Mika on stage at all kind of venues and learnt to know wonderful people from all over the world.

Discovering his music changed my life but during these years I’ve changed a little bit as well. When I compare the past few years to the beginning of this time period many things are similar but many things are also different or I see them differently than I used to.

For example I don’t want to apologize any more. During the first few years I always wanted to apologize for being in the audience so often because with the same people the audience is not fresh and new. However, a totally new fan base doesn’t appear overnight, it’s not realistic to expect that and people coming back simply means the artist has done something right and well.

I used to be embarrassed for being a fan, too. I’m not anymore. Considering the world and the situation around us at the moment we all should find strength and positive energy in everything good and beautiful, music being just one example. Years ago only a small group of fans travelled long distances  but now a bigger group of fans travels and we meet all around the world and I have friends who travel for other artists as well.

There’s this label we get when we become “fans”. People think we must be somehow weird or crazy or obsessed and I kind of understand it because being this dedicated is unusual but always try my best to be polite and respectful and give everyone privacy and space and think that putting someone high on my priority list should make them feel loved and not me embarrassed.

I’m astonished how much Mika has developed as an artist during the past few years. The same vibe I earlier got adding things up comes now purely from his singing. He is so much more open on stage than he used to be and somehow everything I want to know is suddenly there as soon as he starts to sing.

Also, he is braver than he was in his early days and not afraid to show his old-fashioned elegance. Despite of his age he sometimes looks like an old man (or at least definitely not the boy he was 10 years ago) and it’s so very charming. I love his sense of style and how we can see it in everything he does.

After all these years I’m still here because I know I can expect something special. Not just an album and then a tour and then the same again but something much more interesting. Symphony music, theater, a circus or other huge spectacle or something intimate and personal, even a monologue on stage. xxx

 

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It has never been only about music, we have always had a whole Mika universe. A surreal place full of colors, imagination, energy, love, joy and especially tolerance. His world has always had enough space for everyone and for every emotion, a happy mix of smile and tears.

We have learnt to know his cartoonlike, half-fictional characters and along with his music – which has become more direct lately – also the world around him has evolved and become more realistic. Casa Mika looks like a description of his real life, dreams and personality different rooms representing different parts of it all.

Living area represents music of course. It’s for making music, singing, playing piano, dancing, entertaining and creating a show. Kitchen is for people. For being alone or for personal and serious conversations with friends. Well that’s what I do in my kitchen while cooking; either think my own thoughts or enjoy chatting with a friend.

Art studio (there must be one even if we haven’t seen it) is for design projects. His study is for writing, literature and culture. The garden is kind of an extension of the living area and a suitable place to do musical collaborations. I like to imagine the symphony orchestra was in the garden, I’m sure I could see stars. You saw them?

Bedroom is where to start a new day or to end one before having rest. To be hopeful (in the morning) or grateful (before going to bed). The small clips filmed around Italy are about the world around Mika, around us all, and from his trips.

The show is meant to be entertainment and it’s a compromise between what people want to see and what he wants to show. It’s interesting to see how his life is. He can’t spend much time in London so I guess doing things he loves and being surrounded by people he cares needs to be enough to make him feel home.

Usually when we visit someone’s house we first spent time in the living area. It can be formal but it doesn’t have to, a living room can be relaxed as well, mine is. If I know the owner of the house I often walk directly into the kitchen and always, always check the library. It’s the most interesting part of the house whether I know the person well or not and especially if not.

Music is my favorite part of Casa Mika, I love everything in it. Choirs, orchestras, cabaret style dance performances and Mika singing alone on his couch the girls next to him. I’ve enjoyed his music guests and find some of them a true discovery and will definitely watch my favorite duets later which is actually quite rare, I usually avoid duets.

The living room seems to be in the centre of the house and the music played in it can probably be heard everywhere in the house. He can quite easily just run up the stairs or dance from one room to another but sometimes he might want to go for example to his study, close the door, sit down and spend a moment there, maybe writing his book. And he should be able to do it.

Asking him to focus on only his music and nothing else is a little bit like telling him he is not allowed to leave his living room. “What a beautiful, beautiful house you have, unfortunately you are not allowed to enter any other room than your living room.” And that’s not something we can say to an adult person, not in their own house. It doesn’t work that way.

I’ve enjoyed being in the audience, first (and especially) in the studio and then again at home, doing this small house tour in Casa Mika and watching him with his guests. He is so warm with people, so lovable when talking – very passionately – about things he finds important, things we all should find important. No wonder Italy seems to like him so much.

I can’t understand Italian well enough so I’ve missed a lot of details but luckily some nice people are subtitling all the episodes so now also foreigners can watch and understand everything interviews included (see here).

My favorite performance was the symphonic Last Party from the end of the last episode of Casa Mika. So incredibly gentle and comforting, I loved it and had never thought he could make this song this comforting. Like all the sad news were somewhere far, far away.

I will post more next week, have a good weekend xxx

Yesterday the first thing I read in the morning was the tragic news about David Bowie’s sudden death. I felt shocked and sad and couldn’t believe it was true. Not that I had or have any deep knowledge of Bowie as an artist/his production, born in the 70’s I just naturally grew up knowing his music and somehow always understood what a remarkable person he was. What kind of an influence he had, how much ahead of his time he was. During years some of his older songs just happened to become my all time favorite tracks.

I kept reading news, articles and comments I saw on my social media timelines. People who were lucky to have seen his concerts cherished their experiences, everyone linked their favorite Bowie songs and explained what the songs meant to them and many people described the role he had in their growing up and becoming the persons they eventually became. It was all so huge and touching that I had tears in my eyes while beginning to understand the massive impact Bowie had on so many generations of people.

It’s emotional to think how much impact certain artists, their songs, albums and concerts and music in general can have on us and on our lives. How much my own life changed when I finally discovered music that could match with my thoughts and world. How lucky I was to find an artist who’s music can always magically give me the energy I need the moments I need it most.

It’s not only about the pleasure I get from the music or the artist personality I’ve learn to love. It’s also about the atmosphere created around the music, someone encouraging and showing how to be more curious and learn new, how to sometimes choose something else than the most obvious choice, how to be passionate, love life and beauty and genuinely care about other people and the world.

I will blog more in February, the month will be hectic. First meeting fellow Mika fans in Korea and Japan. So excited about my trip to Asia, about (finally) experiencing the Korean audience and about going back to Japan and can’t thank enough my Asian friends for all their help and organizing. After that to China together with my husband. The timing is good – our winter holiday week – so I casually suggested my husband a trip to China together. I wasn’t sure he wants to travel all the way just for concerts but to my surprise he said yes so we started to make plans. Really looking forward to writing about everything I see during my trips.

Meanwhile listening to my favorite David Bowie song and to all my favorite Mika songs as many times as I feel like. Just because I can and because music makes life better.

A little summary of this year before starting the European tour. 2015 seems to be my favorite Mika year so far! I’m happy with the new album. He says he makes joyful music but I can hear the melancholy… I love it as it is and it sounds real. Mika is finding his place in the music business and that reflects on his music as well. Also, I’m impressed and proud he is turning his new celebrity status to a very meaningful direction and speaking out, setting an example and taking part several charity projects. Some of my favorites for the year 2015 so far:

Montreal, of course. It feels like it was a life time ago but it actually happened this year. An extraordinary experience for everyone who could be there and something I will never forget. The big orchestra gave the songs the justice they truly deserve. I used to think nothing could top the Intimate US tour, I absolutely loved the intimate setting, getting deeper in the music and the whole concept. However, Montreal was beyond everything I could ever expect. The acoustics was wonderful, the orchestra incredibly powerful and Mika’s singing focused and more beautiful than ever.

I did trips to the US and Asia earlier this year and loved them both! I felt grateful for seeing the new setting and some smaller gigs before big summer season festivals and for the opportunity to meet new people and to finally get to know Japan (which I absolutely loved). I still highly appreciate those experiences and hope to be able to visit both North-America and Asia again in the near future. My photo galleries from New York here and from Tokyo here.

I saw several great shows and festival performances during the summer months and even it’s difficult to pick only two I’ll say Cattolica and Colors of Ostrava Festival as my biggest favorites. I read my thoughts about Cattolica and it immediately brought back the memories. Definitely my favorite show for the summer.

Ostrava on the other hand was one of the best festival performances I’ve seen. It was sharp from the beginning to the end and extremely respectful towards the audience, he went close to the crowd and literally gave his everything ignoring the pouring rain and his fancy outfit. I generally like old-school festivals with long traditions, it’s also an honor for Mika to be a headliner and a part of their good lineups. My photo gallery from Ostrava is here.

The tour dates for September/October below. Makes you wish you lived in France, doesn’t it? I’m planning to do like I always do with tours, trying to see the beginning and the ending and as many shows between as I can easily fit in family schedules, including different countries and some interesting looking venues.

September

18 September Le Liberte, Rennes, France

19 September Zenith, Paris, France

20 September, Zenith, Lille, France

22 September Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, Netherlands

23 September Forest National, Brussels, Belgium

25 September Den Atelier, Luxembourg

26 September Komplex 457, Zurich, Switzerland

27 September Mediolanum Forum, Milan, Italy

29 September Palalottomatica, Rome, Italy

30 September Mandela Forum, Florence, Italy

October

01 October L’Amphitheatre Lyon, France

03 October Medoquine, Bordeaux, France

04 October Le Bikini, Toulouse, France

05 October El Ring de Barclaycard, Madrid, Spain

07 October Le Silo, Marseille, France

08 October Le Summum, Grenoble, France

09 October Zenith, Nancy, France

11 October Le Phare, Tournefeuille, France

13 October Zenith, Limoges, France

14 October Vendespace, Mouilleron Le Captif, France

16 October Zenith, Caen, France

17 October Zenith, Paris, France

18 October Adelphe Theatre, London, UK

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I have a few extra tickets (which I don’t need for myself) for the upcoming tour and I thought it would be fun to give away a pair of tickets for a couple of sold out shows as a nice surprise for someone who didn’t manage to buy tickets or needs more for their friends or family. I’m giving away

  • a pair of standing tickets to see Mika at Mediolanum Forum, Assago, Milan 27th September (presale tickets so will get them at the venue box office the day of the gig)
  • a pair of seated tickets to see Mika at Zenith, Paris 17th October (not numbered seats).

Both shows are sold out, send me an email if interested nina(a)mikagigs.com. See you soon at gigs xx

Edit: The tickets are gone! Thanks everyone who retweeted the giveaway! 

What’s the point in singing silly love songs.

You think you’re in love, boy, but you don’t really know what love is. You think love is a joke but there ain’t too much to laugh at. Love is just a cautionary, momentary, reactionary lie. Love is a drug. Love is addiction. Some love is a pill and some love is a candy cane – it tastes so sweet but leaves you feeling sick with pain. Love is overrated (in this goddamn world). It’s just an illusion to me.

There was a girl, thought she knew what her life was going to do. Then she goes and falls in love and throws it all away. Could you believe the same old story. This is the hardest story that I’ve ever told.

I’m sitting across from you and dreaming of the things I do. I say nothing but stare at you. Looks that books take pages to tell, the whole world in your pocket. Everybody’s smiling at you everywhere you go. Like you’ve got that secret that everybody else wants to know.

You come a little closer, I rest upon your shoulder. You’re calling me baby. In thirty years we’ll still be happy. Don’t know why but all your words sound just like a melody. From the pieces that I’ve heard I could build a symphony. With your love I can breath underwater. You are the sun and the light, you are the freedom I fight. You are the origin of love.

But everything changes in the blink of an eye. To avoid conversation you’re ignoring me. You shout with nothing to say and fight til you get your way. It hurts but what can I do, I won’t turn into a kid too. I look at you, you look at me, we bite each other. It’s getting harder and harder to bear. Now enough is enough. I’m not a trick up your sleeve, I’m not a part of your show. What you’re here for, I don’t need it.

Someone needs to say it first, even if the words may hurt. Guess what lover, I’m leaving. You’re making me more ordinary in every possible way. It’s nothing like the life we wanted. You better move on cause I’m ready for more than this. Save me from your theories. There won’t be me and you. No hope no love no glory. No happy ending.

Blame it on me. Make it my fault, win the game. Point the finger, place the blame. Blame it on your mother, blame it on your father. Blame it on the girls, blame it on the boys. Blame it on the weather. Blame it on you. You could have children and a wife – a perfect little life – but you blow it on a bottle of wine.

You got a dangerous obsession. Now I’m in need of some protection, that was never my intention. Used to love me now you hate me. Now I’m lost and I’m screaming for help. I feel like trash. Why don’t you like me? Why don’t you like yourself?

Another day, another wake up. Sorrow is so peculiar. It comes in a day, then it’ll never leave you. You take a pill, wonder if it will never fix you. I’m busy in the blissful unaware. I don’t care if I ever talk to you again.

This is just my interpretation. What’s the point in singing silly love songs.

(Just a fictional story I made for fun. Words borrowed from Mika.)

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Name Mika is used both as a male and a female name. In countries like Japan it’s given mainly for girls, in Finland it’s a very common name for an adult man. During years 1960-79 as many as 29 112 boys in Finland were named Mika (just to compare, only 9 girls), during years 1980-99 9195 boys and 2000-09 only 745 (source: Finnish Population Register Center).

When I was a school girl I knew several boys called Mika, unfortunately none of them really gorgeous and definitely not curly haired. I used to think Mika is a boring name. Little did I know. Name Mika is celebrated in Finland on 29th September. Writer Mika Waltari (1908-79) and film director Mika Kaurismäki (born 1955) are two internationally known Finns.

The video is from Helsinki, I loved it when Mika was talking about his name (1:45).

Feels a good idea to start my new blog with a tiny historical review and tell how I discovered my favorite artist – London-based, Beirut-born singer-songwriter Mika – and his music. I knew the exact date already but by looking the pictures above I can tell even the exact time. The pics are captured from the official Finnish Big Brother 2007 recording. I was watching the live online broadcast at the final party night and suddenly Relax was played in the house. I was hypnotized from the first notes and knew immediately I had stepped into a magical world. There was no way back.

I’m fascinated by his voice and the whole world Mika has created around his songs. For me it’s all about his live shows. I appreciate him as an artist and traveling to see his concerts is my way to show my support. Mostly, it’s just very selfish. As I see it, music is a legal drug.

According to a new Canadian study I saw the other day (originally published in Nature Neuroscience 14, 2011) music, as an abstract stimulus, can arouse feelings of euphoria and craving, similar to tangible rewards that involve the striatal dopaminergic system. The results indicate that there are anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music. It simply means that your favorite music can give you the same euphoric pleasure as delicious food, sex or even some drugs like cocaine.

That basicly explains it all. Never underestimate the power of music.

After hearing Relax for the very first time I searched for more information, listened to Youtube videos (over and over again) and bought tickets to see my first Mika gig at Brixton Academy in London (and soon after that the huge PDP concert in Paris). I have seen many gigs since then. This blog is a place to share my video clips, pictures and reviews, links and some Mika-inspired thoughts.