Cocktails With... Mica Paris

Sunday, December 02, 2018

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British soul songstress Mica (pronounced Misha) Paris knows how to work a room. Tall, engaging and blessed with amazing pipes, the international singing sensation is celebrating her 25th year in the music biz. On The Rock for a vacay, Paris is the house guest of art enthusiast and philanthropist Theresa Roberts and her private equity lawyer hubby Andrew Roberts at their palatial Hanover Grange abode at Tryall, Hanover. After wowing guests with a spirited musical performance at a fund-raiser at the Roberts' home, the jovial, wickedly funny Paris shares couch space and cocktails with us.

Ahead of Paris's appearance, 'Mica Paris Sings Ella' on Tuesday, December 4 at the Tryall Club, SO reproduces in part a 2012 interview.

Welcome back, Mica!

What are you sipping?

I am sipping Champagne and it tastes soooo good!

How's your day going?

I'm having a very good day. We went to the beach today and took some rays in and came back to Andrew and Theresa's home and had a fantastic fund-raiser to raise money for the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. I sang and entertained the gathering while they dug their hands into their pockets and took all their money out. The more they liked the music, the more they dug a bit deeper. It was nice to see everybody dancing, getting up and moving around. It is always good to raise money for a good cause.

How have you been enjoying your time on The Rock?

My parents are from Jamaica and I've been coming here since I was 14, but I haven't been back in about seven years. I had forgotten how fantastic this place is, because we used to come every year for a good 15 years now as I was with Island Records for a long time. Chris Blackwell had signed me up so we used to come all the time and stay at GoldenEye.

So, is this trip a homecoming of sorts?

It is a total homecoming with my people. I can speak di Jamaican [voice changes into Rock-flavoured dialect]. What really is funny about this trip is that when I used to come to Jamaica before and I used to speak the Jamaican accent. They used to laugh at me because I was younger then and they used to say, 'Nobodda try talk Jamaican, yu sound stewpid' but now they telling me, 'You is a Jamaican' because over the years, it's gotten better...thank God for that!

Who does your hair?

I have a fantastic guy in London called Paul Edmonds who cuts my hair for me. He's at Knightsbridge in London and one of the top hairdressers...he's really good.

Jeans or LBD?

LBD, darling... every day. Look, I'm five foot 11. I'm really tall and I like to show my pins. Jeans are great but the thing about jeans is that they are not as glamorous. You can dress up an LBD or dress it down and it still looks quite elegant. I like things that finish with a good line.

Flats or stilettos?

Always stilettos... no flats! We have no time for that. It doesn't matter if the feet are killing you and pounding with pain, it's all about heels.

What's your must-have accessory?

It's actually two things: sunglasses and lip gloss.

Who is Mica Paris?

Mica Paris is a typical soul singer brought up in a gospel church. My grandparents raised me and they were ministers, so I went to the New Testament Church of God for the first 15 years of my life. I signed my record deal when I was 17 and had my first big hit with My One Temptation, and the rest is history. My debut album So Good went double platinum and then I made six albums after that, and now I'm on album #7. As much as I sing all over the world, first and foremost I'm a mum; I have two children, one is 20 and the other is five years old. I love being a mum. I also love cooking and do a lot with fashion. I had a show in London for a couple of years called What Not To Wear where I made people over. I'm known in England as not only a singer, but also a fashion guru. That happened accidentally. I have always cared about how I look because I am so tall and you tend to stand out when you are; everyone sees you quicker.

Who is your favourite fashion influence?

My favourite fashion influence really has to be Marlene Dietrich because she was probably one of the first females to wear a man's suit in a really feminine, elegant way. She gave the image of strength but kept it feminine at the same time, which is really important because for me strength is femininity. I also love Tom Ford; he's my favourite designer. I wish he would get back and do more clothes. He's really good.

Who are your musical influences?

There are a couple of people. First from the church, the Hawkins Singers who did Oh Happy Day. I grew up with their music. Then people like Chaka Khan and Barbra Streisand. I like crooners... people who sing really good ballads, like Marvin Gaye, that capture people. It's all about singing about love and expressing love. Music has become quite hard... I'm of the old school; music should make you want to make love, not war.

You're on album seven. How have you musically evolved from the first album to now?

You know what's funny is that I've kind of gone around. I kind of started out very much soul and then after that I went into a bit of dance and other types of music, like jazz. I have gone on a kind of expedition musically, and then what's happened is that I have come back to where I started, which is really bizarre. It's really funny how that works, how you go on an adventure and come home. The album I'm making now is actually reminiscent of my first album which is really interesting and it wasn't done on purpose. What happened was I was doing this TV stuff in England and I got a phone call from the songwriter and producer, Rock Templeton, who did Michael Jackson's Off The Wall and Thriller, and he said, 'C'mon, let's make a record'. I hadn't made a record in nearly 10 years. He is producing and writing the album. When you get that kind of phone call, you have to make a record. We are halfway through. We've done seven songs and we should be finished by this summer. It's really fabulous to get back to music from being so much in radio and television.

Are you a socialite or a homebody?

I'm both. When I go out, baby, I'm Jamaican. When I'm at home, I love people to come to me. I like to cook for everybody; I'm a typical Jamaican.

What Jamaican food do you cook best?

You know what? I do an amazing curried chicken and rice. People go crazy for that. Ackee and salt fish with callaloo and plantains, I also do really well. My kids love it.

What's your single greatest accomplishment?

My children. I have been a singer since I was seven years old, so the singing is a gift from God. I didn't create that, he just gave it to me, whereas my finest accomplishment is my children. They are great kids and really normal, considering in the United Kingdom and Europe I am big over there. They are not falling out of clubs, messing up themselves and dem foolishness dere!

Is being a celebrity and living under the public microscope difficult for you?

This year I have been in the music business for 25 years and you get used to it. For me, I'm never angry at people asking for autographs because I know they brought me here in the first place so if it wasn't for the people, I wouldn't be successful. I am humbled by the fact that people are still interested in me 25 years later. How do I feel about paps taking my picture all the time? I smile at them, I know most of these guys, I've been around so long, I know them... it's like “John, are you alright?” It's nothing, I've been here so long, they know me and I feel like I've known them forever.

What's the best piece of advice you've received?

If you stick around long enough, you'll be hip again.

Where will Mica be 10 years from now?

Ten years from now, I'll probably be the same — still cooking and singing and hopefully, God willing, in Vegas. That would be nice. A couple of months in Vegas, you don't move, everybody comes to you. That would be cool.

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