Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam better known by her stage name M.I.A., is an English-Sri Lankan recording artist,
songwriter, painter and director.
July 18th, 1975 (age
Hounslow, Middlesex, England
Singer, rapper, songwriter, record producer, visual artist, activist, photographer, fashion designer, model
Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design
Benjamin Bronfman (2008-2012)
Thomas Wesley Pentz (2003-2008)
Ikhyd Edgar Arular Bronfman (2009)
Electronic, alternative hip hop, alternative dance, new rave, world
Vocals, drum machine, percussion
Jay-Z, Rye Rye, Timbaland, Madonna
The moniker "M.I.A." is both a play on her own name and a reference to the abbreviation for Missing in Action
"It had that same homelessness about it. It didn't have a particular genre, which is what people always say to me: Your song doesn't fit anywhere. So I went on a mad mission to find other people like that, because then we could make a home."
"From Day One, this has been a mad, crazy thing: I say the things I'm not supposed to say, I look wrong, my music doesn't sound comfortable for any radio stations or genres, people are having issues with my videos when they're not rude or explicit or crazy controversial. I find it all really funny."
"I think traveling really helps. I know some musicians who have studios in Trinidad. There's a collective of artists and painters there now who went to Central Saint Martins College [in London] with me. They live there and make art. It's neat to see that-[people] not led by money or pretentiousness. It's a small community, but you really have the space to observe and digest the culture. You go to a place where social commentary is rare and important and you can serve people. That's what's inspiring to me-finding someplace where people haven't already seen themselves in a certain light."
"Sometimes I repeat my story again and again because it's interesting to see how many times it gets edited, and how much the right to tell your story doesn't exist. People reckon that I need a political degree in order to go, 'My school got bombed and I remember it cos I was 10-years-old'. I think if there is an issue of people who, having had first hand experiences, are not being able to recount that - because there is laws or government restrictions or censorship or the removal of an individual story in a political situation - then that's what I'll keep saying and sticking up for, cos I think that's the most dangerous thing. I think removing individual voices and not letting people just go 'This happened to me' is really dangerous. That's what was happening... nobody handed them the microphone to say 'This is happening and I don't like it'."
"I'm not coming at it as a politician, it's my own personal experience. And I just think that that's just what people want to put out there, you know, 'You don't have the right to talk about this'. And they use me as a puppet to explain that to you, that only people who, you know, have a PhD in this shit are allowed to talk about this. Or that only politicians are allowed to talk about politics, and that's why we're f*cked, because the cycle is constantly kept within that f*cking framework. There aren't more people standing up and telling their personal experience... if a normal civilian comes up and says 'Hey, this happened in my village and I'm not happy about it', we're not allowed to talk about it. You have to follow this bureaucratic bullshit to get any sort of action, and it's all part of this cycle. Like back in the day, we had ideals of revolution and fighting back, and most of the time that shit starts with individual people having personal relationships, these experiences. And now it's so disconnected and the media can paint a picture for you...they make so much bureaucracy and politics, and I think taking away the personal aspects, the human aspects of these political issues is really wrong. Whether it's the floods, or starving people in Africa, or whatever. It's all funnelled through this channel, you really are not getting it from the horse's mouth, you know?"