British Pop Singer Mika
WHY YOU KNOW HIM: For his impossibly catchy songs like "Love Today" (featured in a Chris Kattan Motorola ad) and "Grace Kelly"
• NO IDOL: At age 13, the Beirut-born singer, demo in hand, began knocking on doors in London—including Simon Cowell's. "He said that as far as writing songs goes, I might as well not bother," says Mika. "I bumped into him recently, and he was like, 'Oh, well done!'"
• FIT FOR A PRINCESS: A meeting during which record company execs "spent an hour telling me how I should change to be more commercial" inspired "Grace Kelly," the lead single from his debut album Life in Cartoon Motion, a No. 1 hit in the U.K. (Sample lyric: "Why don't you like me without making me try?") Why not sing about, say, Audrey Hepburn? "I think Grace Kelly was a rebel," he says.
• ... AND FOR QUEEN: Queen guitarist Brian May recently came to a gig to see Mika, whose falsetto often draws comparisons with the band's late frontman Freddie Mercury. "At least they're comparing me to somebody I like," says Mika. Another hero: Annie Lennox, with whom he once shared a voice coach.
• HIS CUP OF TEA: Aside from "the most ridiculous amount of face products," Mika's No. 1 must-have on tour is his own Earl Grey tea. "When you don't drink coffee, you've got to get your tea right," he says. He's picky about the water—"Los Angeles water makes the worst tea in the world"—but doesn't insist on carrying his own H2O when traveling overseas: "I'm not Naomi Campbell!"
Earning comparisons with Freddie Mercury and Elton John, the stylish singer is as cool as, well, "Grace Kelly."