She leaps over musical and physical boundaries, challenging the status quo with her lyrics, loops and artistic presentation.
With both modern and tribal elements, M.I.A.’s new record Matangi is sure to surprise when it drops this fall.
The single “Bring the Noize” is just out. The original feature made even better with a visual remix all in gold.
M.I.A’s hard-hitting global club style is packed with the punch of intelligence and creative freedom.
Her most effective song so far, 2007′s “Paper Planes” was a sculptural comment on world culture.
MIA asserts her brilliance with samples of the Clash song “Straight to Hell,” aggressive electronic beats and samples of gunshots and cash register rings.
Poetically the song details the trouble MIA had crossing borders due to racial profiling and her father’s activist history in Sri Lanka.
In 2011 MIA appeared on Madonna’s new pop song and video. She made headlines worldwide with a rebellious gesture during her short solo at the fluffy Superbowl halftime extravaganza.
On the 2010 album Maya you’ll find MIA’s experimental masterpiece “Born Free”. More art than pop, it’s extremely abrasive but still compelling and full of the tension that only truth can bring.
MIA takes her political statement up a notch in this controversial video where redheads are racially profiled and exterminated.
*This video is not suitable for workplaces or children.
Originally from Sri Lanka, MIA’s real name is Mathangi Arulpragasam London – “Maya” for short. She and her mom left Sri Lanka when the civil war there threatened their lives. Maya’s dad was a fighter in the revolution.
They got to London with almost no money and lived in a “council estate” (UK for “the projects”). Maya borrowed a friend’s drum machine and started recording and playing with samples. The first collection of her work – Galanga came out in 2003 and got her signed to XL Recordings.
Her first full-length (named for her dad) Arular came out in 2004. Her second record, Kala (her mother’s name), was released in 2007. Mayadropped in 2010. The sweet spots were the uplifting “Space” and the dubby track “It Takes a Muscle”.
Seemingly her strength is in the studio and her beauty shines best in full-on video production. Her 2012 desert romp “Bad Girls” is a straight-up “live fast die well” dance song with a rebel girl message. It’s rumored to be included on the new record Matangi when it comes out this fall.
Tune in to DJ Michele Myers Friday nights at 9pm on KEXP 90.3FM Seattle, kexp.org. Music historian and producer, Michele’s made over 200 radio stories for KEXP Documentaries. She’s written scripts, lesson plans & features for The Smithsonian, Experience Music Project, the University of Washington & NPR.