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’s been more than two weeks since our New Year’s Eve in Florence and I still almost can’t believe we could experience it all nor imagine any better atmosphere or better way to spend that special day. The opera in Florence offered pre-sale packages for the New Year including the symphony concert and a dinner at the opera afterwards and to confirm our seats many of us bought those packages months in advance.

I didn’t give the dinner much thought beforehand, I just wanted to have my concert ticket as early as possible and intentionally avoided having any expectations regarding to the dinner. In my experience things in Italy can be either absolutely amazing (I could give many, many examples) or go terribly wrong in which case people just say “oh well we’re in Italy” like those words simply explained it all (and I’m starting to understand they do, lol!).

This time everything went very well and the evening was really nicely organized. The dinner was served smoothly, the food was delicious, we got wines, a dj, an open bar and impressive fireworks exactly at midnight and it seemed everyone was in a good mood, eating, chatting, dancing and generally having a wonderful time. The Italian girls had helped the opera to organize our tables (for around 100 fans from all over the world) and named every table according to different Mika songs. Ours was called Dr John (such a cute detail wasn’t it).

The concert on New Year’s Eve was extremely intense and transferred us to another world and the best thing with the dinner was that it didn’t remove us from our magical atmosphere. We were quietly guided to our tables and given a glass of wine. The music started (mostly Mika and older party hits) and several waiters started to carry first starters and then other courses. It was all smooth and gradually more and more cheerful and somehow quite surreal.

The tables and food looked festive with many different glasses and fancy details. Not sure what the starter was, maybe chestnut, but my pasta after that as a second course was delicious! Weird to be this excited about food but I rarely get really tasty gluten-free pasta… The main course seemed good but was brought to tables at midnight and suddenly everyone run outside to see the fireworks and I left my food just like the others which was okay as I was full after the pasta anyway.

After celebrating the midnight we all came back to our tables and had a wonderful dessert (mine was a small gluten-free chocolate cake) and some sparkling wine and people danced or just sat and had coffee until the staff said it’s time to go and we started – very gently – to prepare our return back to the reality and a bit reluctantly left our fairytale party, feeling ourselves like real life Cinderellas, literally looking for our shoes (mine were under the table, my feet were hurting so much) and trying to find a taxi to take us back to our hotels.

It was a lovely day, first the stunning concert and then this dinner party with so many familiar faces. Definitely something to remember years to come. See our international table below. Front from right: Renate and her husband, Marion and Miri from Germany, Becks from Spain and Rose from the UK. Behind: me and my husband from Finland and Christina and her husband from Romania (her son took the pic).

Thanks everyone for that special evening and night, I felt lucky to spend the New Year with you! Last but not least, a huge thank you to the Italian fans for their preparations and of course to the opera for organizing everything so well! X

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A short update about the second night for the Voice France third round. Thursday night was naturally more boring than Tuesday because Mika had already chosen his team and we saw Florent Pagny and Matt Pokora choosing theirs and their style is different and not as interesting as Mika’s (a bit biased saying that of course, lol!).

Mika was chilled and his part was only to shortly comment every performance and otherwise there was not much to focus on except wondering what he was doing with his little notebook. He kept sending notes to the other coaches, maybe for his own amusement. I paid too much attention to different sounds myself and it made me feel uncomfortable throughout the night. Many of the contestants have the kind of voice that makes me shudder and just like on Tuesday, some songs were poorly chosen which added the effect.

Again, it was quite easy to guess which contestant is staying in the competition and which two are out so it looked a bit silly that the three other coaches many times chose different favorites even the performances were not that good and it gave the impression the production wanted to make the level look better than it actually was (what makes sense from their point of view of course).

However, I have no idea how the system works for real and if the production guides the coaches in these situations or not. Also, if the coaches make their own decisions, whether they plan them beforehand or in that particular moment after seeing every performance. Of course the coaches are professionals and can better see the potential in young people (than an average person in the audience) and I assume they know some background information from behind the scenes the audience can’t know.

Being a good singer is not enough for talent shows unless the talent is something absolutely spectacular. The contestants need to be interesting and have personality and a good story behind them the audience to remember them well. After the recordings on Tuesday and Thursday I can hardly remember everyone from Mika’s team and only one or two from the other teams. I can remember two boys from Matt Pokora’s team on Thursday simply because young male contestants are stereotypical talent show material and have always their own target groups.

This year Mika has a very interesting contestant who can go far and if all goes well win and I would like to see his team winning this season. I wonder if he is doing another season after this. The Voice can’t give him much challenge at this point – how could it – and I’ve always thought this man lives for new challenges. The rumors tell they pay him well though and maybe it’s all becoming a nice routine with familiar people. We will see, I’m only speculating here.

Live shows for this season will be later this spring. I really enjoyed spending a few days in France and would love to do that even more. A huge thank you to the French girls and everyone else I met during the recordings for your company, help, chatting, translating and trying to teach me French (not much progress there I’m afraid). Hope to see you all soon xxx

I’m doing a couple of quick posts to describe my trip to The Voice France third round recordings in Paris. It felt important to travel and see Mika especially now when we possibly have only rare other events to look forward to this year (in case he is planning a small break to focus on his new music). It’s comforting to see him at recordings and with translations I can quite well follow what’s happening. My usual translator Melyssa couldn’t be in Paris for the third round (and I missed her!) but I was luckily sitting next to Ani who kept me updated during the night, a huge thank you to her for that.

The first night (Tuesday) was reserved for Zazie’s and Mika’s teams and the other coaches only gave their opinions after every performance, not pushing their words too much so both Zazie and Mika could focus on making their own decisions which was especially hard for Zazie. She doesn’t want to sent people out, it seems she would like to keep them all and fortunately on Tuesday the others were helping her a bit with this issue saving some of her contestants and that definitely made her happy.

The idea of the third round is to group the contestants in groups of three and hear them all performing one song chosen by themselves. The coach for the team decides which contestant continues to the live recordings and which two are out of the competition. Every coach can “steal” one contestant from other teams to their own teams (so the stolen contestant is not out but just changing his/her team). Many of the songs chosen were not best possible at all and some contestants could have done better if the songs had been more suitable. The level was not really high and it was easy to guess who will continue and who is sent out even the groups were well and logically done grouping similar types together.

I’ve had two favorites in Mika’s team and I hoped in advance that they both can make it to the live shows. My first favorite is a contestant who seems both very strong and very vulnerable and sensitive (as a person) at the same time. I liked him since the beginning and was happy he chose Mika because I know Mika can be sensitive and caring and give the contestant good and careful guidance. However, the performance for the third round was nervous and not as good as the auditioning and I was worried Mika might choose not to keep this contestant in his team. He did keep him though and I loved him for that and felt a bit ashamed I didn’t trust him in this decision. It was all emotional and a bit teary and will cause a lot of emotions in the television audience as well, I’m sure people will like the contestant.

My other favorite in Mika’s team has been a colorful group I like a lot because all three in the group seem very different as personalities but after performing together for a long time have grown together and give a good impression as a group. The group seems ready and experienced and something that could be successful if they just got visibility and some help to sharpen their style. They did well during the third round and continue to live shows and after seeing all these contestants again these two (the individual contestant and the group) in Mika’s team were the ones I can remember best even Zazie has some strong contestants as well.

The first of these two nights was entertaining to watch. I felt a bit tired after taking an early flight in the morning and of course I do wish I could understand Mika’s commenting. I regret and have lately much regretted not learning French. Thanks to my friends I can follow recordings quite well despite of the language and the issue hasn’t bothered me too much. Still, the truth is if I can’t understand him when he shares his thoughts I can learn to know him only through his music and it’s the most important but not the same as understanding everything.

I didn’t have a possibility to wish Mika happy new year in Florence and hoped to do that in Paris but naturally he had such a crowd around him that it wasn’t possible. However, he saw my face from distance behind the crowd and said a quick hello and happy new year which was nice and kind of made my wish to came true. Thursday night can be more boring for Mika fans because his team is already done but I will write a short update after that one too. X

My husband and I spent a long weekend in Florence for these two symphony concerts and had two and a half days to walk around in this beautiful city. We arrived from Helsinki on Thursday and had no plans for the evening and decided to walk to the hill to see the city view and have a quiet, cozy meal after that.

We wanted to visit both the Uffizi and Accademia Galleries during the weekend but didn’t bought tickets in advance and were not sure if we are willing to queue long enough to see them both. Eventually we went to Uffizi early Friday morning just before the opening time, got in after a half an hour of waiting and had a peaceful experience in the museum, luckily only a decent number of people were let in at a time.

I love museums for their atmosphere… I love beauty and aesthetics in general but I guess I’m more interested in the artist life and those brilliant personalities behind the master pieces and the historical spirit living in old buildings than any form of art itself.

Botticelli’s Primavera must be the most famous piece in Uffizi and as it’s surprisingly positive compared to everything else it was my favorite as well and I especially loved it how Flora and her dress immediately brought my mind Ida and her lovely flower dress in Montreal! Uffizi art was full of mothers with their giant, fat, even muscled children and I couldn’t stop staring at them in all their fascinating weirdness. The colors of the round painting below made me think of this autumn colored sweater I had seen on a fashion catalogue. Everything modern designers do comes from history, doesn’t it.

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On Saturday we headed to the Accademia Gallery a little bit later than planned and the weather was chilly and the queue long already so we took a guided tour starting in a few minutes which turned out to be a good solution as we didn’t have to queue and got a nice history lecture before having time to walk around in the museum on our own.

Michelangelo’s David was absolutely breath-taking! This was my first visit in Florence so I had no idea how stunning, impressive and huge it is in reality. The amount of love and admiration for the male body put in this sculpture is simply astonishing. The body and muscles in all their perfection combined to the giant hands and clumsy ankles and even lovely natural light coming from above, loved it all.

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After visiting the gallery we had a plenty of time to walk around before it was time to get ready for the New Year’s Eve concert and we had a small rest in a cozy, colorful book cafe we bumped into on our way to the river. It was perfect for us, we both love books and as it wasn’t mainly for tourists it wasn’t crowded at all and we could have a calm and relaxed moment before walking to the Boboli gardens.

The gardens – actually a large park – must be my favorite of all the places I saw in Florence. It was big enough not to feel too busy and crowded (people were mainly gathered in certain spots to take photos) and we could have walked there for hours, I would love to go back there in spring time.

I took a lot of pictures of the beautiful small green observatory because it was exactly the kind of a building where I would love to live but I guess a historical observatory with an access to a huge, private park in the heart of the most important renaissance city in the world can be too much to ask. What a lovely and pleasant long weekend in Florence and as always, the anticipation of these two symphony concerts made my mood even better than it already was. The experience would have been different without them, it wouldn’t have felt complete like this.

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Finally back home from my trip to Italy and trying to collect my thoughts about these two amazing symphony concerts I just saw in Florence. I was traveling with my husband and we had a lovely short holiday, Florence is a beautiful city full of art and history and this was our first visit there. Also, I met many friends from all over Europe and Asia and we had a wonderful party together. Twice, actually. First MFC 10th anniversary party on Friday before the first concert (I will blog about that later) and then Opera di Firenze gala dinner on New Year’s Eve after the second concert (and will write a separate post about that one too).

Symphony concerts make me so emotional it’s always hard to find words, they are my very favorites of everything Mika does. The arrangements by Simon Leclerc are out of this world and I love being able to hear Mika’as voice so clearly and without too much distraction. I always enjoy the gig or festival atmosphere, being in the audience and experiencing music together with people I like but what makes me travel this much is the thought of seeing Mika on stage and hearing his singing. There’s nothing better than being able to totally focus on his performance and the symphony environment is the best way to do it. I love the drama and intensity he adds to the songs and how tangible every emotion becomes. I can feel transferred to another place – whatever it is in the song – and it’s the weirdest feeling ever, like everything in the story is suddenly happening for real.

I’ve seen all the six symphony concerts so far and noticed every concert is different, special and magical in their own way and I enjoy this fact they are all different. Just the venue itself has its own effect, the modern music halls in Montreal or Florence can’t compete with the breath-takingly beautiful old theatre we saw in Como, a piece of art itself. The Canadian audience was calm and that way exactly my taste but on the other hand the organization at the opera in Florence could control the audience surprisingly well. The crowd was restless and a bit distracting but at least people stayed still until the last song which, believe me, was well done and organized.

In addition to that there are technical elements. I couldn’t hear Max properly during the first Florence concert, not the way I heard during the second one and I enjoy hearing him well because I like his voice. Then there’s Ida and don’t even know where to start with her. I like Ida a lot and I missed her in Como and now really enjoyed having her back and think her pure voice added something special to many songs, not only to Happy Ending or OMS but to many other songs as well. Gives me a warm feeling to see Mika and Ida together on stage because these two know each other well and I feel Mika is better when he has loving people he knows and trusts around him on stage. To be honest I don’t know if it’s true or if I simply like Ida being there because I’m used to hear her there since the beginning and like stability like that myself. Either way, she sounded stunning, they had a lovely chemistry and I was happy she was in Florence.

Every symphony concert depends naturally mainly on Mika and how he feels and where he wants to focus on that particular night just like it is at regular gigs. If he is calm and careful he pays more attention to every nuance and I think he did that more on the second night compared to the first one even he still was very expressive as well. And I literally can’t breath when he performs like that, the experience is incredibly beautiful. I almost can’t believe I’m there to whitness it all and try very hard to catch everything and always wish my musical ear was better so I could remember every detail afterwards but of course I can’t. I can only remember how amazingly wonderful it was when it happened.

If he is excited to tell the story and focusing on the meaning of the song he adds theater in it and while doing it seems to suddenly get even more excited,  just for the childlike joy of performing and being on stage and it makes my heart burst. First there’s the emotion of the song. In seconds I’m transferred to another emotional state and to a new imaginary environment, always very intense. Then there’s the feeling of having so much love in my heart because I love watching him on stage. For some reason my mind automatically pictures him as a child. Dressing up in costumes, singing, acting, perfoming and wanting to tell a story after story forcing his family to gather around him to watch and to be his audience, like children do. The next moment I remember his family sitting in the current audience and I can’t help but smiling. Such a sweet and funny thought (said in a very loving, tender way).

The first Florence night was extremely emotional to me. I had looked forward to this night for a long time and had almost forgotten how well these symphony versions work, how real they feel. Mika was very theatrical since the beginning. He started with Toyboy and suddenly I was in a nursery, I had hardly time to understand the transition. I could see the colors and textures and all the toys, the toyboy, even needles in the eyes, and started to think how confusing it must be to grow up having all kind of feelings people have when they grow up and not always be sure if it’s right and acceptable. So touching. I never think anything like that at usual gigs, now it just happened. After Toyboy he changed quickly to Underwater and made it extremely dramatic, the water was everywhere and it was stormy and green. He has really found his acting side lately (maybe due to Casa Mika) and he made the song even more emotional and powerful than usual.

Boum Boum Boum was intense compared to the gentle gig version I got so used to last year, Rain emotional as well and then it was Last Party already and I tried really hard to keep up and jump from one song and emotion to another one, very quickly not to miss any of the songs, something that I’ve found difficult during the earlier symphony concerts but gradually learnt to do. I feel every emotion with my whole body and every muscle and it’s hard to relax and feel “nothing” between the songs and get ready to another one, there’s very little time. Last Party was as lovely as it always is and the version from second night somehow amazingly carefully done, beautiful and detailed. Next on the setlist Overrated and Any Other World (both wonderful symphony songs) and then Love You When I’m Drunk so cheerfully I had to wonder what is so funny in it, maybe an inside joke or a meaning I can’t find or fully understand.

Then Ordinary Man. I’ve learnt to love this song at gigs, it sounds different and more vulnerable without an orchestra and done in a smaller way. I’ve always thought the symphony version has a massive self-pity in it simply because it’s hard to see Mika ordinary with a formal symphony orchestra behind him. This man is not ordinary in the usual sense of the word, even the sweat he shakes over people after an energetic show is seen as a treat. He started the song and for some reason I decided to jump along with the whole self-pity thought and wow it worked well and the song was my biggest favorite during the first night and one of the favorites second night as well! I was immediately swelling in my misery. I could feel how dirty and disgusting my hair is in the darkest moments when I can’t bother taking a shower because no one really cares, when there’s no point to bother anything in this world. Loved it unexpectedly much, a wonderful experience. Then Heroes, one of the very best symphony songs so quickly over my pity party and focusing on it.

After the break Grace Kelly, partly sacrificed because it took time to adjust after the pause and I was grateful it was GK and not Over My Shoulder yet. I love OMS in every possible versions but especially symphonic and with Ida it’s even better than it usually is. It’s a dark but still calm and peaceful song and l loved how Ida’s voice gave it a tiny bit hope. Songs like this can take over my mood for a long time period and a little bit of hope makes everything easier to handle. Lovely Good Guys (so good with an orchestra) and then Make You Happy and surprisingly my another big favorite both nights but especially on the first night. He kept repeating the line and suddenly I started to believe him, it was very convincing. I had totally forgotten how much I like this song. Happy Ending is always stunning but on the second night it was extraordinary, maybe my all time favorite version. I’m sure time stopped for a tiny moment, it really did.

Origin was powerful with the big choir. I loved the choir in many other songs as well, it had an impressive effect and it added a lot of extra. Then Relax, one the most important songs for me personally and lovely, gentle and natural both nights but particularly on the second one. EMD and Love Today are not my orchestra favorites because the audience can’t stay still and there’s too much distraction (which always shifts my mood) but Stardust after them was still lovely of course, even the audience was too restless at the time. There was an extra song both nights, Grace Kelly on the first and Underwater on the second. The crowd was in chaos in front, everyone taking pics and vids but I didn’t care, just felt happy and thankful, overwhelmed and exhausted.

Such a wonderful, once in a lifetime experience for fans, these two concerts with a fun pre-party on Friday and a nicely organized dinner-party on Saturday. Stunning work from both Mika and Simon Leclerc and of course also from Ida, Max, the orchestra and everyone involved. More reports to come. Monta suukkoa.

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Happy New Year from Florence with a couple of quick photos I took in the end of the second sinfonia pop concert (cameras were not otherwise allowed of course). The second night was even better than the first one. Mika was more focused on his singing so we got many especially stunning versions. He was very careful with some important songs but still managed to create a lot of drama around every song so there was a good balance and I really enjoyed the whole night, very special. The fireworks were crazy and the dinner organized by the opera and included in the concert tickets nicely organized and it was good to spend time with so many familiar people from all over the world. A longer report later. xxx

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The first of the two sinfonia pop concerts at Opera di Firenze was so, so emotional my heart could only barely handle it all. Mika sounded absolutely beautiful, he wasn’t controlling himself a bit but instead threw himself into every possible emotion, mood and tone and seemed to enjoy it a lot, his stubborn curl (you know which one I mean) kept flying left and right, he couldn’t stay still for a moment but danced, waved his hands here and there, even jumped (yes he even jumped). Ida was stunning. Her part in these concerts is so essential, she really made many songs as they should be. Simon Leclerc wasn’t being strict at all. I was almost disappointed that he wasn’t until he went wild and started to guide even the audience! Too funny and somehow so sympathetic. The big choir was strong and powerful and had an impressive effect in many songs.

The orchestra made me feel very emotional but as this was already my fifth symphony gig I already knew that I can’t stay in one emotion no matter how strong it is, I have to move on to the next one in the next song and the one after that and I managed to do that and could focus almost every song and saw colors and images and stories I haven’t even noticed before and really can’t wait to write a long report about the set list and different songs. Last Party and Over My Shoulder were both as fantastic as I expected and definitely my usual favorites but the biggest one was surprisingly Ordinary Man, didn’t expect that at all. I jumped into the self-pity feeling in it, couldn’t help it and it was simply wonderful, I really loved the version and very convincing Make You Happy as well just to name a few songs.

Wonderful, almost overwhelming night that made me totally exhausted – in a good way – like these symphony concerts always do. Can’t believe there is another one tomorrow, we are extremely lucky. The MFC party before the concert was so much fun. A huge thank you to the Italian fans for organizing, everyone seemed to have such a good time. I took a lot of pics, will blog about the party when back home.

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I made new collages and tried to include some Casa Mika related elements in them. Can you spot those elements? I have traditionally always the same wish for Santa and year 2016 he was very generous with me. I saw many beautiful concerts and had several once in a lifetime experiences (the full Asia tour, the Bercy concert, the first Casa Mika season…) and we still have Florence to look forward to next week (yes I double checked, it’s really happening next week). I couldn’t be happier or more grateful and want to thank everyone I met during my trips this year. Wishing you all a wonderful Christmastime and happy, relaxed holidays with your families and loved ones.  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

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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!

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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