Mika was bullied at school.

The 'Love Today' singer was tormented so much as a child, he became a "cripplingly shy" teenager who was convinced he was a "piece of sh*t".

The 26-year-old star said: "As a teenager I was a coward and a loser. I was shy. I was very camp in my own way but I didn't realise I was. I was bullied for being different.

"It was so bad that I was worried about surviving into my 20s."

To deal with the bullying, Mika poured his angst into his music, inventing a brash stage persona to disguise his introverted true self.

The pop star explained: "Now when I'm on stage I feel brave. And that's why I've put everything in my music. In real life, I'm still a very shy person. I find it excruciating being in the street and being recognised.

"Touring is also difficult. It's great but I also find it lonely. I'm so private I can't share anything with anyone."