Mika’s “Grace Kelly” Lyrics Meaning
The thesis sentiment of “Grace Kelly” revolves around the vocalist expressing a willingness to conform his personality and even appearance based on the addressee’s preferences. Of course trying to change yourself into something that you’re not can be a very burdensome endeavor(s).
And in the second verse, the vocalist does acknowledge that he is ‘putting his life on the brink’ in the name of achieving this goal. But the implication is that he is ready to face this abuse, with little to no protest, in the name of maintaining a relationship with the addressee. That is the fundamental idea upon which the sampled vocals featured in the intro and hook are based.
And for the record, the relationship that inspired this piece was not a romantic one, as some listeners may presume. Instead, this is an illustration of the association that existed between Mika and the music execs he dealt with in his profession.
When artists drop songs, such as this one, that are critical of the music industry, usually their gripe is being forced to portray some type of role or character in the name of keeping the machine happy. And what had happened to Mika is that certain higher-ups wanted him to remodel his style in the name of making his art more pop-friendly, you know, like Craig David was at the time.
“Grace Kelly” is Mika’s reaction to the said execs. And basically what he’s saying is something like, ‘okay, I’ll play the game if you want me to’. Or let’s say that the vocalist isn’t the type to really fight back. But that does not mean that he wants to follow the instructions being given by the addressee, since doing so is eating away at his soul and all.
And part of the problem is that the vocalist understands that regardless of what the addressee may say to the contrary, at the end of the day he’s basically being told to fit into the mainstream mold. So conclusively, considering how well “Grace Kelly” performed, perhaps we can say that Mika was rewarded for sticking to his guns and expressing himself.
The music video to this song was directed by industry vet Sophie Muller. Muller is a name you will come across quite regularly on this platform, considering the range of artists she has worked with and the number of years she’s been at it. But what is particularly interesting in this case is that her daughter, Holly, also participated, in that she actually acts in the video.
Facts about “Grace Kelly”
The primary melody of this song was derived from an old, classic opera known as The Barber of Seville. This opera, which was created by Italian composer Gioachino Rossini (1792-1968), first premiered in 1816.
“Grace Kelly”, as issued by Island Records on 8 January 2007, was the lead single from “Life in Cartoon Motion”. And even as of the writing of this post, it by far stands as the most-successful single in Mika’s discography. For instance, even though “Grace Kelly” performed humbly on the Billboard Hot 100, it still scored higher on said list than any of Mika’s other tracks.
But more importantly is the tune topping the UK Singles Chart and replicating said feat in a few other nations, besides charting in over 20 countries overall. Moreover, this track achieved double-platinum status in the United Kingdom and platinum standing in a handful of other European countries.
“Grace Kelly” also experienced a newfound surge in popularity via a TikTok challenge that went viral in September of 2021. Said challenge consists of participants singing, in repeat, the first half of chorus. And the challenge had become so popular that even Hollywood A-lister Ryan Reynolds alongside his colleague, Will Ferrell, got down for the cause.
And to note, the two of them are together at the moment on the set of a modern retelling of the classic holiday 19th century holiday tale A Christmas Carol, though in this case being entitled Spirited.
Mika is credited as a composer of “Grace Kelly”. But he isn’t credited as the sole composer. The following also earned writing credits on the track:
- Jodi Marr
- John Merchant
- Dan Warner
Mika also co-produced this song. His other production partner was Greg Wells, a very successful behind-the-scenes’ musician from Canada.
A Top-10 Hit!
“Grace Kelly” was one of the biggest songs of 2007. It was number 1 in the following places:
- United Kingdom
It also ranked within the top-10 of the following countries’ singles charts:
- Czech Republic
Mika is a singer who was born in Lebanon though is affiliated with the West, considering that he spent the heart of his childhood in London. And relatedly, the highlight of his music career can be considered taking home a Brit Award in 2008 for Best Breakthrough Act. The said accolade was the direct result of the success of Life in Cartoon Motion (2007), i.e. the album from which “Grace Kelly” is derived.
Other notable hits that emerged from “Life in Cartoon Motion” include:
Mika’s most recent studio album would be 2019’s My Name Is Michael Holbrook. This is a project that was best received in Belgium and France, the two countries that have remained most appreciative of his music. But by and large, it would appear that Mika’s popularity has waned since the time he first came out, i.e. the late-aughts.
Grace Kelly, the Actress
The song’s intro and hook are vocal samples taken from a movie Grace Kelly starred in entitled The Country Girl, which came out in 1954. During that same year, Kelly won what proved to be her only Academy Award – given in the category Best Actress – for her portrayal of “Georgie Elgin” therein.
Kelly was an actress from Philadelphia who was primarily active during the mid-20th century or 1950s to be exact. Readers who have even a slight bit of knowledge of American cinema from that era would recognize her name as one of the most-renowned actresses in Hollywood history. The heart of her filmography is only about five years long really, from 1951 to 1956, as in that latter year she married Rainier III (1923-2005) – aka the Prince of Monaco – and upon becoming royalty retired from acting.
Kelly passed away at the age of 52 as the result of a car crash she was in after suffering a stroke in the driver’s seat.