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Mika: In Pursuit Of Pure Pop

Lebanese-American singer-songwriter Mika gained worldwide attention in 2007 with his debut single ("Grace Kelly") and album (Life in Cartoon Motion), which blends the influences of '40s stage and screen music, '60s feel-good pop and Elton John-style songs of the '70s. He's hoping to duplicate that album's success — it has sold more than 5 million copies — with The Boy Who Knew Too Much.

But Mika's early life was far from a happy-go-lucky pop song. In 1984, when he was a year old, his family was evacuated from Lebanon to escape the civil war there. During his school years, he suffered from severe dyslexia and says he was bullied by a teacher and his classmates. Today, however, he's considered a rising star.

The Boy Who Knew Too Much features a collaboration with singer Imogen Heap on a delicate and dreamy song called "By the Time."

"She's very talented," Mika says. "She's very connected to the tools she uses. She's a very tech-savvy artist who kind of weaves together her songs. I met her, thought her hair was amazing, and I told her that. We ended up working together two days later."

Mika says there's great power in the pop music he admires and hopes to make.

"I am totally unapologetic about pop music," he says. "I think, 'How could anybody mock a good pop song?' It is timeless; it transcends barriers; it breaks down every single type of social barrier that you can possibly have. It can deal with the most difficult subjects, even if it abstracts the subject matter."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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