Exclusive! Young Post Junior Reporters Page Leung and Yuki Cheung interview singing sensation Mika
It's not only Mika's fans who are excited about his visit to Hong Kong next month - although the award-winning musician has visited the territory twice before, that hasn't dimmed his enthusiasm for the city and its music lovers.
'I am very proud of my fans in Hong Kong - they are great fun. And I have been receiving artworks from them, which are amazing,' says Mika. 'That's why I'm coming back so soon. If I miss this opportunity, I [won't be back] again in the next two and a half years.'
With his beautiful voice and cheerful songs, Mika is recognised as one of the defining stars of our time. His first album sold 5 million copies around the world.
Despite this, he doesn't think all the acclaim he's received from fans and critics has made him arrogant - and this is very important when it comes to creating great music.
'I see my shortcomings, therefore I continue to improve my music, art and voice,' he says.
Older and wiser - Mika is now an experience TV host as well as performer - but one thing hasn't changed since we first spoke to him
During his performances, it's not only the audience that gets carried away. Mika enjoys himself just as much, jumping up and down, and racing around in his hyperactive way. However, according to the artist, he is quiet and shy off-stage. 'I'm sometimes as reserved as someone filming a documentary,' he explains.
The two sides of his personality are accidental, he says, not something he deliberately created. But the contrast can also be found in his music - even when the melody is joyful, the lyrics can sometimes be dark.
Maybe this is because it's older artists, especially David Bowie and Prince, who have had the greatest influence on the singer's music.
'Whenever I get bored, I listen to him [Bowie],' says Mika. 'He's inspiring. His music makes me think 'Wow, if he was able to do it, I should be able to do it also'.'
Mika believes Prince became a music icon because he was confident enough to ignore musical trends and create his own world.
If there is an opportunity, Mika would like to work with Beck, the American multi-instrumentalist who blends a wide range of styles in his music. He thinks the way Beck's songs combine commercial and non-commercial elements is amazing. 'They are fantastic. They are creative.'
And Mika's own creativity is demonstrated not only by his music but also by his colourful work on his own promotional posters, photos and CD covers. Some of this artwork is based on pieces he drew with his sister a long time ago.
'I put all the artworks on one table to create a visual 'boom'.' Viewing the pieces one at a time may give you a soft and comfy feeling, he says, but when they are put together, they become loud and aggressive.
Along with his high-pitched voice, Mika's trademark curly hair is instantly recognisable. But he says he doesn't put much effort into his hair. He cuts it himself when he's writing music because 'it's easier to handle when I wake up'.
As for local influences, Mika says he likes Canto-pop and is happy some Hongkongers compare him to his good friend, Eason Chan Yik-shun.
And what if he could take one thing from Hong Kong? It would be Chinese cuisine, especially dim sum. 'I'm greedy with food,' the singer says with a laugh.
Experience of a lifetime
Thousands of fans are getting excited about Mika's triumphal return to Hong Kong next month. But for two Young Post Junior Reporters, the build-up to his visit provided them with the opportunity of a lifetime: an exclusive interview with the international pop sensation. We've heard what Mika had to say; now let's hear from the young journalists who were asking the questions.
Yuki Cheung, Sacred Heart Canossian College
I was more than excited to talk to Mika. He is so big and this was such a rare opportunity. For my very first interview with a major celebrity, this was a great experience. Not only did Mika check that I felt at ease, he also asked me: "Am I speaking too fast?", making sure I had the time to jot down what he was saying. I am grateful to Young Post for giving me the opportunity for an exclusive interview that I would otherwise never have dreamt of getting.
Page Leung Wai-tsun, Belilios Public School
Although Mika is a famous singer, he was natural and nice during the interview and willing to tell us his views in-depth. Talking to Mika was undoubtedly a rare opportunity for me. I am glad I was one of the two junior reporters chosen by Young Post to take part. But the interview did not go as smoothly as expected. Because we were not able to use recording equipment, the only thing we could rely on was our note-taking skill. Fortunately, we were able to jot down the important quotes . This was definitely a great experience which will help prepare me to be a journalist in the future. I know things will not always go smoothly and I will have to try my best to think of ways to cope with the problems I meet.