Coach of “The Voice” for 7 seasons, Mika won the show twice with Kendji Girac and Whitney Marin, also discovering talents as varied as the Fréro Delavega, the Arcadian trio or Frédéric Longbois. Back in his red chair for the All Stars season which begins this Saturday, September 11 on TF1, he told LCI about his special relationship with the show. And what he expects from candidates who return to try their luck.
Do you remember the day we offered to coach “The Voice”?
I remember I was in a car. I was on tour somewhere, but I don’t remember the place. What I remember, however, is that I was flattered. But then I felt panic. I was anxious. It’s weird to say you’re afraid of TV, but I was afraid to change in front of the camera. And I didn’t want to change in front of the camera. So much so that I wanted to know the people who were going to do the show. Not necessarily the other coaches right away. But the producers, all the people in the shadows. A show like this, which has been on the air for ten years now, is only possible if the people behind the scenes act with some kindness. It was only when I felt comfortable with them that I accepted.
For me, music is freedom. It really is a place where empathy is fundamental and where eclecticism is necessary.
Did you doubt your ability to do the job?
I think to do this show, you have to agree to just have fun. You have to be a fan more than a coach. So that when someone sings, we listen to them like a fan. Which doesn’t mean that the fans don’t have an opinion, on the contrary! Being a fan doesn’t mean you love everything. It means that we love to listen and that it causes us a lot of things, a lot of emotions. As if we were in a pub one night after a day in the studio and listening to music with our friends.
Over the seasons, you have selected very different candidates from each other. Looking back, are you surprised at your choices?
My choices don’t surprise me, no. For me, music is freedom. It really is a place where empathy is fundamental and where eclecticism is necessary. When you are eclectic, you open up to improbable emotions that can give birth to enormous success. Kendji Girac, the Fréro Delavega, the Arcadians, MB14, Frédéric Longbois… It goes from beatbox to lyrical singing through what is mainstream pop today in France!
Kendji, let’s talk about it. You were the only one to return to him. It was a stroke of genius when you see what has become of his career, right?
When I was in the armchair and I listened to this voice, with this mixture, this confluence, the gypsy side, a song from urban pop revisited in this way… But above all zero filters. I heard someone singing without a filter. So it touched me, I turned around for his performance of Bella and there I see someone who is unaware of who he is even physically: a very handsome man, with a presence, someone who shines and who is once again unaware of the power of his own smile. Everything is coherent. And when everything comes together like that, there is a lot of potential.
I was afraid that it would become so intense and that we would lose all the spontaneity inherent in this show. But I promise you that is not the case at all!
Doing “The Voice All Stars” mean checking in with the family?
To make the All Stars season is to find myself with coaches that I like, already. And it is also to confront a more complex reality. What does this competition mean for talent? What are the consequences ? In the positive as in all the other nuances. We talked about Kendji, but it can also be difficult, complicated and even hard for some. What I wanted to ask the talents of this season is “Why are you coming back? What did you come looking for? What did you come to show?” I was afraid that it would become so intense and that we would lose all the spontaneity inherent in this show. But I promise you that is not the case at all! You will find everything we love in The Voice with an almost unsettling candor. It’s a very beautiful moment on TV.
On the first extracts of the show, we see some coaches being very moved by the reunion before former talents. Will this also be your case?
I had a lot of emotional moments (smile). You know, I don’t cry in front of the camera. I cry at home… or in the bathroom. Not in front of you!
What place does this show occupy in your career? Did she remind you of the reasons that pushed you to do this job?
Already I have a lot of affection for this show because it is benevolent. She also helped me understand TV better. We have the impression today that it is a medium to be wary of. This is true, but not always. If I look at my great heroes Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Glenn Gould, Sonny and Cher, Elvis Presley of course… Television was part of their way of continuing to communicate with their audiences. In this sense, I find that “The Voice” gave me the opportunity to communicate and tell things to my audience. And then I also like the idea that I can just sit in a chair and be a fan. From time to time it feels good.
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