Mika’s Time to Celebrate

The pop musician discusses his new hit album The Origin of Love, remembers being bullied for being gay, and offers advice for people about deciding to come out.

BY Brandon Hersh

October 17 2012 12:25 PM ET

What do you mean? In your childhood or more recently?
In my childhood, in relation to my family and my friends. I experienced a lot of intolerance. I experienced a lot of homophobic bullying. Before I even realized what was happening, I was being bullied for being gay.

That negativity and fear was something that I associated in my childhood with violent aggressive behavior against me, and it hung in a cloud of negativity. It was only once I realized that I had the power to choose and to select who I surrounded myself with, then I was no longer the victim of this enforced intimacy you can often end up with in a classroom environment.

I dealt with the damage done to me and the stigma I had grown up with about my sexuality. I dealt with that by actively choosing to surround myself with people who were open-minded, who accepted me for who I was even though I refused to label myself. They didn’t ask questions or need me to prove anything. So much so that eventually I became so decomplexed about it that I did label myself. That’s what got me to the point in my life where I finally realized: I am happy, I’ve fallen in love, I’ve lost love, I found it again, I have nothing to fear. I’m doing this from a place of joy, and I can come out publicly.

I love how impassioned you just got.
It’s crazy that we can be so proud and yet some can’t. That we live in places where we can choose makes us extremely lucky. Not everyone lives with the luxury of choice, and we have to always remember that.

Has being more open about your orientation informed or affected the new music any differently?
No. It's been the same. My sexuality and my perspective on sexuality has been in every song. If it wasn’t, then perhaps I’d get played more on American radio.

One of my favorite songs on the album is the brilliant breakup anthem “Love You When I’m Drunk.” What pushed you to write this? Who is the bum?
It’s real life. It was written as a message, as a breakup song. It’s complete real life. You know you get to a point where you fall into a crazy crush and there’s something about being in a relationship where there’s always odd passive-aggressive surprises around the corner. Where you say you need to be together the rest of your lives and at the same time — at every opportunity you possibly can — you are trying to destroy each other in the most delicate way.

It’s the most beautiful kind of destruction, and you have to be very aware of it. Because you can fall into that trap where eventually you’ll say, “I can’t even put my arm around you until I’m pissed [drunk]. This is bad because I’m killing myself and trying to destroy you. I’m outta here and you better save yourself! Run! Run!”

That amazing chorus is very beautifully written and is my favorite moment on the album. I may be a little bit drunk, but I know what Ive got to do / Cause when I get a little more sober I know Ill be over you.
Love that. Don’t drink and text, that’s my advice. Better yet, don’t drink and tweet.

What could go wrong in 140 characters?
A whole lot.

You write songs that mean so much to a lot of people, and for me, “Happy Ending” on your first album was my cry song of 2007. What are songs by other artists you consider emotional or cathartic go-tos for a good cry or laugh?
Yes, for sure. I really lean on “I’ll Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie. It’s magic. [Ben Gibbard] is magic. Brilliant. He’s got that sunny California thing. I don’t even know if he’s from there, but he’s got that California kind of sound — a contemporary Laurel Canyon kind of thing. The David Hockney of pop music is how I describe him. Also, there’s a song on the new Shins album that I use to get happy in the morning.

What’s next after this album?
A European tour that will take me to Christmas, then I’ll tour Asia and South America.

When does the writing process begin for the next round?
It doesn’t. I put it on hold. I need to be Mr. Hyde for a while. You know, I cannot do both. I find it so hard. I became an interpreter of my own material. Mostly one that curses the writer even though it’s me. It’s a little hard to sing some of these songs.

For more information on Mika, go to MikaSounds.com. (http://www.mikasounds.com/)

Tags: Music

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