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Announcing a special, intimate live stream benefit concert
Born Michael Holbrook Penniman in the Lebanese capital Beirut, Mika wrote his first song at the age of seven, having moved to Paris with his American-Lebanese mother and American father. Once again uprooted with a move to London and dealing with significant traumatic childhood experiences, Mika turned to music. "It opened my eyes to a world where people work all day long, for weeks, to create an illusion," he said of his newfound passion for opera.
Taking the lead in productions at Westminster College, Mika began approaching record labels at an early age. Although impressed by his range, few knew how to promote his sound. Following a short-lived stint studying geography, Mika doubled down on his love of music. Through determination, he eventually signed to Casablanca Music for the release of his debut single Relax Take It Easy in 2006 and Grace Kelly the following year. The latter instantly propelled him into the UK mainstream and became a mainstay across UK airwaves. The release of 2007's Life In Cartoon Motion full-length secured Mika a BRIT Award, an Ivor Novello, and a Grammy nomination, and reached No.1 on the official UK album chart.
Turning to classically inspired producers Imogen Heap, Owen Pallett and Greg Wells, Mika released his sophomore full-length in 2009. Continuing his unashamed blend of upbeat, vibrant pop and oft-pained introspective lyrics, The Boy Who Knew Too Much built on the success of his debut, breaking into the stateside top 20.
Mika changed tack for his third album, once again collaborating with Wells alongside the likes of electronic and classical producer William Orbit and acclaimed producer Pharrell Williams. The release of 2012's The Origin Of Love also saw Mika publicly come out as gay, and take on judging duties on the Italian outing of The X Factor.
His fourth album, No Place In Heaven, followed in 2015. Taking its cues from '60s pop, it reached No.19 on the UK album chart and entered the top five in France, Italy and Switzerland. Yet, following global touring, Mika opted to take a break from music. Four years passed before the release of My Name Is Michael Holbrook, a record that saw him carefully consider his own sound outside of the expectations of the industry. "I just feel kind of like, 'Wow, it's starting to come together, and it's taken me 14 years", he said of the album.
In 2020, following the devastating explosion at Beirut's docks, Mika announced a special live stream benefit concert to raise funds for those affected. "Although far away, my heart broke for the families losing their homes, their livelihoods and their loved ones in this catastrophe," he said of events in his birthplace. "I wanted to do something to help in any small way I can." He confirmed that the stream would go ahead across four time zones on 19 September 2020.
Mike has announced a special, intimate live stream benefit concert. I Love Beirut will be streamed across four time zones on 19 September 2020.
Mika's special guests will include Salma Hayek, Danna Paola, Rufus Wainwright, Kylie, Louane, Etel Adnan, Fanny Ardant, and Laura Pausini.