By Michael Andronico
Already a superstar in her native Ukraine, pop singer Mika Newton is just starting to take the U.S. by storm. Her international single “Don’t Dumb me Down” has already seen some love from MTV, and she’s currently working on her new record with star producer Randy Jackson. Mika’s been on stage since she was a small child, but the American chapter of her story is just getting started. She took some time to speak with YRB about the journey so far, and what her fans can expect from her in the future.
YRB: How’d you get started with singing?
Mika: I started when I was 5. I was singing to my mom and her friends she decided to introduce me to a famous composer in my hometown of Burshtyn. He decided to help me with my vocals. When I was 9, I started to sing on stage and I took part in a lot of different contests. I won a lot of them and I signed my first contract when I was 17.
YRB: Who are some of your big influences?
Mika: When I was young I was listening to Ukrainian singers and Russian singers. When I was 11, 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’m in America. This childhood dream came true.
YRB: How’s working with Randy Jackson?
Mika: I really enjoy working with Randy. It’s really crazy because he’s very easy to work with. He tries to open me up as much as he can. We’re deciding what songs we want to choose for the album. We’ve got these great ballads where I can show my voice. He’s funny and its very comfortable to work with him.
YRB: What can people expect from your new record?
Mika: I want play to people’s emotions. There will be some sad songs, some funny sons, upbeat songs with guitar, 80’s style. I just want to be very honest with my audience, I want to tell my story.
YRB: You’re living in Los Angeles currently?
Mika: Living in Los Angeles, but i’m traveling. I was in China, my single “Don’t Dumb me Down” will be in a famous reality show there in May. I was in Kiev to promote my music see my fans and parents. Right now i’m in Moscow doing promotion. Im working every single day (laughs).
YRB: How are you enjoying your new home?
Mika: That’s a good question. I feel very, very comfortable in Los Angeles. For me it’s much better to be in L.A. than Kiev, maybe because I can grow up. I’m working with the best musicians and with Randy. I just can really grow up and its most important for me.
YRB: What inspired “Don’t Dumb me Down”?
Mika: People love to underestimate me. “You are blonde, so maybe you’re not smart.” Don’t dumb me down, I know about love. It was a joke, and we tried to show in my video. It’s funny, but at the same time the song has a really empowering message.
YRB: What are your goals for the rest of the year?
Mika: I want to release my first English album. I want to perform to people. I want to be near to people through my songs. That’s why i’m living here.
YRB: Any last words for your fans?
Mika: Be honest with yourselves. Enjoy your lives. Most important thing: enjoy what you’re doing every single day!