Social media is distant by nature and lacks that ongoing interaction we experience at gigs but it can also offer some great possibilities and Mika joining the MFC Instagram live to celebrate his fan club’s 15th anniversary was certainly one of them. The best thing he could do to make his audience feel connected was talking directly to people and talking about what connects and unites: his MUSIC. It was a conversation between him and the MFC admin Deb but everyone was allowed to watch, everyone was able to catch his words directly and that is always powerful. Mika sharing his thoughts was inspiring and made me continue thinking of his music and the topics in the conversation.
I particularly enjoyed hearing him talking about performing and being on stage because I know that area well from my own perspective. I’ve been in the audience. I know how it feels to see him on stage and to be in the middle of the energy and I often wonder how it feels for him to be on stage, how he’s experiencing the same situation and the energy coming from the audience.
Mika talking about the topics he talks in his music makes it easier to add layers on his songs. It’s easy to put any story in our own context or even see ourselves in a similar situation. Seeing each song as a part of his personal story adds layers to them. The more layers, the more valuable the song feels. Several of his songs talk about tolerance, acceptance and having courage to be authentic. When he was starting his career he was said to be too colorful, too gay, too “something” yet he he still made it and became the artist he is today and that gives credibility. Every time I hear him talking about the music industry I think of Grace Kelly and I think, wow, he certainly knows what he’s talking about in the song.
I’m always curious to hear how he sees the industry. What is good, what is challenging, what is even unhealthy. The whole industry has changed in a massive way. Music is distributed differently, it’s promoted differently. Mika has now several times said the current system where an album is written, then released and promoted and then followed by a tour is outdated for him. I assume he’s doing several projects at the same time instead. I hope it works well for him and I hope we will be able to follow, watch and be part of everything, that the projects he’s preparing are not something that happen only for him somewhere far away.
One of the biggest changes in the music industry is related to fans and how this group of people is seen. Mika has always been extraordinary generous, kind and warm to his fans. However, it’s been clear not everyone feels the same way he does. Many years fans were not seen something to value or appreciate. I was there and I faced comments and attitude from people in my real life, from people who work for different venues, from people who work around Mika. At some point I refused to describe myself with the word that was used as an insult. Instead I was someone who loves this artist and his music and enjoys concerts and I still like that description. However, I can see how the tone for the word “fan” has changed. Now the industry knows that a big, united fanbase can be a massive and powerful element. If you listen to Mika these days you can hear him pointing out words like “community”, “group” and “being united/together”. As an artist he’s very well aware that benefits him most. What warms my heart most is him occasionally referring himself as someone’s fan meaning he loves their music, creativity, talent or work in general. I feel I could hug him every time he does that.
When Mika talked about his new music he told it will be different and less personal compared to his last album. At first I was disappointed to hear that. I love My Name Is Michael Holbrook because it is honest and personal. Then I thought about his iconic first album Life In Cartoon Motion. The stories were not as clearly personal as on the later albums yet his personality came through in every single song and I believe it will be the same with his new music. His views, thoughts, attitude, statements and the whole character will come through the music. I have no doubts about that and it will be thrilling to hear it.
What made me particularly happy was Mika’s words on being an autonomous artist. The result is always the best when he can work with his own vision with as few limitations as possible. Mika is an incredible visionary. He has huge, sometimes even crazy visions and he’s brave enough to make them happen. He might use other professionals to put things together and need someone to administrate or set financial limits but the vision should always come from him and the more autonomous he can be the better all that works. That’s how I feel and have always felt and hearing him talking about the topic loud made me extremely happy.
I could also easily recognize his words describing himself on stage. Owning the stage, not caring about the consequences. I have been there, standing and staring at him, wondering what on earth he’s doing that moment, not believing my eyes, being totally amazed. The way he owns the stage is always amazing.