Have you heard of Mika Newton? Don’t worry. If you haven’t yet heard of this Ukraine-born singer with a voice and heart of gold, you will soon.
Some in the music industry might say that the mark of a truly remarkable singer is their ability to break into the American pop scene. Although many of the most beloved singers in the American music scene do not actually hail from its shores, most of these musicians made their big break in the 70s, 80s and 90s–before it became easy for anyone who can (or can’t!) sing to post themselves to YouTube and try to launch a career. Perhaps the glut of “up and coming musicians” is what makes Mika Newton such an interesting and refreshing singer in a sea of YouTube pop stars. Not only is Mika making a successful American debut, but she is standing out in an age when a click of a button and a few keywords can lead you to literally thousands of new singers.
Where has Mika been all these years? Mika has been a success in her native country, the Ukraine, for many years. She is lovingly called the “Queen of Soundtracks’ in the Ukraine because of her popularity among television and film producers, who have used her transcendent vocals for theme songs to numerous films and TV shows. In 2011, she represented her country in the wildly popular Eurovision Song Contest and, in 2012, signed with JK Music Group–a Los Angeles based company who handles many new singers. Her American debut single, Don’t Dumb Me Down, was co-written by Rune Westberg and BC Jean–who have written for Adam Lambert and Beyoncé, respectively. The song, produced by Randy Jackson and Rune Westeberg, has been released both as a stand-alone single and in a compilation album of remixes by DJs such as Ray Roc and Paul Oakenfold. She has also released another single, Come Out and Play, which has—like her previous American debut single—been released as a stand-alone single album and as a series of remixes.
As a singer, Mika not only sings to make money or even just to enjoy her biggest passion in life. She, like those who inspired her to begin her music career, wants to make a difference in people’s lives. As Mika herself has said: “I strive to make a difference not only as an artist, but also as a person.”
I have to admit, here at The Levity Ball, we feel blessed and humbled for the opportunity to sit down and get to know more about the lovely and gracious Miss. Mika Newton.
How and where did your musical journey begin?
“I started singing when I was 5 and back then I didn’t realize that this could be my profession. I was just singing to my mom and her friends. When I was 9 I began to learn more about my voice and started taking vocal lessons. Then I saw Michael Jackson. I didn’t know who he was but I heard “Earth Song” and I decided: “Oh my god, I want to do what he’s doing for the planet! I want to be where he is right now!” I took part in various song contests and when I turned 15 I realized that this is what I wanted to do for my career. I’m in America now… This childhood dream came true!”
What do you feel as you perform?
“When I’m on stage I feel like at I’m at home and I wanna take all my audience with me on my journey and to feel what I feel. It’s amazing. It’s my home and I want to invite as many people as I can to see it.”
Who is your role model in the music world?
“I have always looked up to Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Bon Jovi. Their talent is amazing and they really inspired me to create something of my own. Also, of course, my life influences my music as much as my music influences my life. They are truly interconnected for me.”
Who would you want to do a duet with?
“I’m quite open. I’d like to sing with every singer, because it’s a different experience each time.
I love rock bands with strong front men like Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Bon Jovi, and Mick Jagger, but I also love classic pop vocalists like Celine Dion and Whitney Houston. And of course Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake.”
If you had to listen to one artist for the rest of your life, who would it be?
“Celine Dion. She is an incredible singer and she has an amazing family… She is absolutely inspiring as a person and an artist. She has this power and at the same time she’s never been in a scandal. I think I’m more like that but at the same time I like to take a risqué approach to fully feel life.”
Would you rather play in small venues or larger venues? Why?
“Doesn’t matter. It’s so different and for me they are equal… It doesn’t matter if its a small club or a stadium. I sing for people so I enjoy every show! I share my love and my music with the audience and get everything 10 times more from them. People are amazing and inspiring, they give so much and they make me happy.”
What is one unforgettable memory that you hold dear?
“Wow, that’s a hard question. I definitely can’t name just one, there are so many both in personal life and career. My first performance as a kid, first time I won a big singing competition, when I became an aunt (I was sooooo happy when my sister was expecting my niece, she is 7 now and last I was with her when she went to elementary school for the first time), I love her sooooo much), first skydive, and definitely Eurovision… that 3 minute performance changed my life forever.”
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be and why?
“Actress. I’d definitely do something with creating, and I’d spend a lot of time with children.”
What is your favorite thing to see in the audience while you are on stage?
“To feel their energy, to see their eyes, it’s amazing to see how they react.”
What are you looking forward too in the near future?
“The release of my new album, new videos, and upcoming concerts.”
Any advice for others dreaming of being heard and passionate about entering the business?
“Just believe in yourself and decide exactly what you want to do and why and then you can step by step move toward this goal and reach your dream. Be honest with yourselves. Enjoy your lives. Most important thing: enjoy what you’re doing every single day!”
And finally, what are your summer plans?
“Shows, shows, shows! Acoustic performances and shows with the full band, traveling, recording. Really exciting summer ahead!”