The meaning of Mika’s “Grace Kelly”



I had been hoping this one would eventually die out, but no. At least twice a week, someone still asks, “What’s the meaning of Mika’s ‘Grace Kelly’?” On the face of it, it’s simply another song about being whatever the other person wants you to be (an idea I find creepy in itself, but this is pop music not psychoanalysis). But when I read the lyrics again carefully, I wasn’t so sure

Why the doubt about something that seems so obvious? Well take the opening lines:

“I wanna talk to you.
The last time we talked Mr. Smith
you reduced me to tears.
I promise you it won’t happen again!”

Mr Smith? Who’s that? Why the reference to tears? Is this going to be a revenge song, à la “I Will Survive” or what? But no, Mika continues:

“Why don’t you like me?
Why don’t you like me without making me try?

I try to be like Grace Kelly
Mmm Mmm
But all her looks were too sad
Ahh Ahh
So I tried a little Freddie
Mmm Mmm
I’ve gone identity mad!”

So this is someone, you don’t have to excuse me the expression as he uses it himself later, that is bending over backwards to please the other person.

Later,

“Why don’t you like me?
Why don’t you like me?
Why don’t you walk out the door!”

You know what? I’m beginning to wonder why too. As for,

“Humphrey we’re leaving!”

I can only guess what he’s referring to.

Am I being too hard on a pop song? Most likely yes. But I have to admit that the lyrics are confusing. With a little more work, they could have been better. For a while, for example, I didn’t make the connection between the song everyone was talking about and the song that I was hearing non-stop on the radio as the reference to Grace Kelly is buried.

Apart from that, I think it’s a fun, campy song and look forward to more from Mika.

“Grace Kelly” was written by Dan Warner, Jodi Marr, John Merchant and Michael Penniman.

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31 Comments

on “The meaning of Mika’s “Grace Kelly”
31 Comments on “The meaning of Mika’s “Grace Kelly”
  1. I had assumed it was a bit homosexual as well. Maybe he was trying to be like Grace Kelly, the actress, which might be where the beginning line comes from (Grace Kelly movie perhaps? If you’ve never heard of her, she was popular in 50’s and 60’s, she was in Hitchcock’s “Dial M for Murder”).

    Then instead of Grace he tried a little Freddy (Freddy Mercury from Queen? Lets face it, Mika does sound an awful lot like him).

    I have no clue, those were just my initial connections when I first heard the song.

  2. I’ve actually heard Mika give the real meaning of Grace Kelly. It’s actually an angry song, and was written to be so. It was written by Mika after being rejected by a record company and he went home and just wrote what was going through his head at the time.
    The line about bending over etc. was to refer to him conforming to what they wanted from an ‘artist’ in order to be marketable. Hence the line “Should I bend over. Should I look older just to be put on your shelf”.
    Go back and read the lyrics again, and you’ll see what it means.

  3. I was told the song is about a Pedophile, Who wasn’t able to express his feelings (Explaining why he was talking to a child in his video).

  4. i dont think that mika is gay but he has a voice kind of like adam lambert and adam is gay sooooo? and i have never heard a voice like that, that isnt gay for example queen
    !!!!!!!!!!

  5. I have to admit that I have always been a bit uninterested in whether performers are gay or not. I just don’t have that particular curiosity gene. As Riand says, the talent is the issue. It’s a bit like the skin colour of footballers. At the end of the day, can they score goals (or stop them, depending on the position they play)?

    Micheal

  6. I wonder what’s the last phrase the boyish voice says after the woman like announces “Humphrey, we’re leaving”

    I can’t understand it.

  7. the man’s voice at the end of the song, after the woman says “Humphrey, we’re leaving!!” …he says, “KA-CHINNNNNG!”

  8. The lines spoken by Grace Kelly are from her films that’s why they’re in there hence the title ‘Grace Kelly’. So the first line is spoken which indicates that he wants to ask Grace Kelly (The Record Labels) why she doesn’t like him. He lists colours and emotions in the chorus to infer what he can be like, but shows he can be himself and will be himself by writing this song. The lines ‘Should I bend over? Should I look older just to be put on your shelf?’depict that he is being sarcastic by implying that Grace Kelly likes older men, in other words the record company is trying to say that people only by music sung by older people. ‘Bend over’ refers to the record label asking him to be more like the pop music as he sarcastically says this to show he will not bend over backwards to make music the record company likes and the reference to the ‘shelf’ describes the shelves in shops where his music will be placed

  9. Thanks for the explanation. It’s interesting to read the various interpretations. This is one of the most popular threads on the site.

    Michael

  10. i think it means something like this:
    okay, so Mr.Smith, or Mika, and the woman had a relationship and she wanted him to change himself for her well being in the relationship.

    “I could be brown
    I could be blue
    I could be violet sky
    I could be hurtful
    I could be purple
    I could be anything you like
    Gotta be green
    Gotta be mean
    Gotta be everything more
    Why dont you like me?
    Why dont you like me?
    Why dont you walk out the door!”

    I think hes saying he can change to be anything in the world, but she still doesnt like him. He gets fed up and asks her to leave him, or in other words, hes dumping her because he realizes he doesnt want to change.

  11. there isnt really a meaning or a story to this song. It was written because Mika got angry with his manager or someone who told him to change his style of music because they said he wasn’t good, so he wrote this song to mock them and then it became a huge hit so he didn’t change his style :)

  12. Yes, Freddy does refer to Freddy Mercury because he has been referred to as the new Freddy, so he is making fun of the critics that say he sounds like him. Although it is flattering, every artist wants to be his or her own talent and unique.

    The lines are from Grace Kelly’s The Country Girl (1954). Originally she says “Mr. Dodd” instead of Smith. He changed the names to reference a record company exec who said he should be more like Craig David who is another UK singer.

    The whole song is an angry response to that instance, and came out with a bunch of lyrics that reference trying to be someone else to please someone that is not worth pleasing.

  13. The “Mr. Smith” line is actually from The Country Girl, starring Grace Kelly. In the movie it reads as “Last time we talked Mr. Dodd, you reduced me to tears. I promise you it wont happen again.” So a little name change.

  14. When I first heard the song I thought it was about a girl he was in love with and she refused to love him back.

    I got curious after my boyfriend said it sounded rather creepy and decided to watch the music video only to find him singing to a…little girl? A ‘that can’t be right’ was all I could say and stumbled upon something that said he was making it because of a record company.

    I looked more into it since I had nothing to do and then read over your comments. You guys were right all in all and I think it’s a pretty cool song now. Pretty clever in my opinion. Bravo Mika! Thats some great writing.

    I also like how it’s happy sounding and upbeat, not angry and filled with that rough sounding hate music.

    –RD

  15. I think he is singing to a closeted/insecure guy…

    Mika is openly bi though he says he doesn’t believe in labels and that sexuality has nothing to do with love…

    the part that got me on that notion was “why don’t you like me, why don’t you like yourself” … closeted/insecure gay guys often hate the “gay” in them, so they dislike other people who flaunt their gayness… in the opening lines to the song mika asks “Am I too dirty? Am I too flirty? Do I like what you like?” I think he is saying “am i too flamboyant for you? and then he is like “Say what you want to satisfy yourself, hey! But you only want what everybody else Says you should want.”… he gets fed up with him and tells him to walk out the door…

    or I could be way off…

  16. I didn’t know who song this song or the name of it and one day I found it and watched the video and listened to the lyrics closely. I saw all the colors and he say “should I bend over” I was like oh its a gay song that’s why it had the rainbow colors. And he was confused in to be man or woman, grace kelly or freddie. Him singing to a little girl was confusing. But I stl love the song.

  17. Ashely, you bring up a good point. We hear a lot of music around us. Sometimes without even noticing, some of the songs register in our subconscious. Luckily, we have the web now to help us dig out these songs and find out more.

    Sometimes, however, we are disappointed by what we find; maybe the lyrics are dull, the singer’s a dope or the music sounded better in your head than when you get the chance to listen to it more closely.

    It’s clear that Mika’s “Grace Kelly” is not one of those songs as this is by far the longest thread on the site. People seem to find endless interpretations of the song, which must be very flattering for the songwriters.

    Thanks for leaving the message.

    Michael

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