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M.I.A. Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trivia (18)  | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (4)

Born in Hounslow, London, England, UK
Birth NameMathangi Maya Arulpragasam
Nickname Maya
Height 5' 5½" (1.66 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam (born 18 July 1975), better known by her stage name M.I.A. (pronounced as distinct initials), is a British - Sri Lankan rapper, singer-songwriter, record producer, and activist. She is of Sri Lankan Tamil origin. Her stage name M.I.A. is wordplay on her name as well as a reference to the abbreviation Missing in Action. Her compositions combine elements of alternative, dance, electronic, hip hop and world music.

M.I.A. began her career in 2000 as a visual artist, filmmaker and designer in west London before beginning her recording career in 2002. Since rising to prominence in early 2004 for her singles "Sunshowers" and "Galang", charting in Canada and the UK and reaching number 11 on the Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales in the US, she has been nominated for an Academy Award, three Grammy Awards and the Mercury Prize.

She released her debut album Arular in 2005 and her second album Kala in 2007, both to wide critical acclaim. Arular charted in Norway, Belgium, Sweden, Japan and the US, where it reached number 16 on the Billboard Independent Albums chart and number three on the Dance/Electronic Albums chart. Kala was certified silver in the UK and gold in Canada and the US, where it topped the Dance/Electronic Albums chart. It also charted in several countries across Europe, in Japan and Australia. The album's first single "Boyz" reached the Top 10 in Canada and on the Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales in 2007, becoming her first Top 10 charting single.

Her single "Paper Planes" peaked in the Top 20 worldwide and reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100. "Paper Planes" was certified gold in New Zealand and three times platinum in Canada and the US where, as of November 2011, it was ranked the seventh best-selling song by a British artist in the digital era. It has become XL Recordings' second best-selling single to date. M.I.A.'s third album Maya was released in 2010 soon after the controversial song-film short "Born Free". This became her highest-charting album in the UK and the US, reaching number nine on the Billboard 200, topping the Dance/Electronic Albums chart and debuting in the Top 10 in Finland, Norway, Greece and Canada. Her single "XXXO" reached the Top 40 in Belgium, Spain and the UK. M.I.A. has embarked on five global headlining tours and is the founder of her own multimedia label, N.E.E.T. Her fourth studio album, Matangi, was released in 2013, followed by AIM in 2016.

M.I.A.'s early compositions relied heavily on the Roland MC-505 music sequencer and drum machine. Her later work marked an evolution in her sound with rare instruments, electronics and unusual sound samples. Critics have acclaimed a distinctive style to her music, which lyrically incorporate a range of political, social, philosophical and cultural references. M.I.A. was one of the first acts to come to public attention through the internet. She posted many of her songs and videos from 2002 onwards on platforms such as MySpace.

In 2001, she received an "Alternative" Turner Prize nomination for her visual art. In 2005 and 2008, M.I.A. was artist of the year by Spin and URB, and she was named one of the defining artists of the 2000s decade by Rolling Stone in its "Best of the Decade" list in December 2009. Time named her one of the world's 100 most influential people in 2009. Esquire ranked M.I.A. on its list of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century in January 2010.

In 2006, M.I.A. recorded her second studio album Kala, this time named after her mother. Due to visa complications in the United States, the album was recorded in a variety of locations - India, Trinidad, Liberia, Jamaica, Australia, Japan, and the UK. Eventually the album was completed in the US. Kala featured live instrumentation and layers of traditional dance and folk styles such as soca and the urumee drum of gaana, rave music and bootleg soundtracks of Tamil film music, incorporating new styles into her avant-garde electronic dance music. The songs, artwork and fashion of Kala have been characterised as simultaneously celebratory and infused with raw, "darker, outsider" themes, such as immigration politics, personal relationships and war. In February 2007, the first track from the album to be made available to the public was "Bird Flu", which was posted with an accompanying music video to her MySpace. Later that year, M.I.A. featured in the song "Come Around", a bonus track on Timbaland's 2007 album Shock Value and a track on Kala. The album's first official single "Boyz" was released in June 2007, accompanied by a music video co-directed by Jay Will and M.I.A., becoming M.I.A.'s first top ten charting song. The single "Jimmy", written about an invitation to tour genocide-affected regions in Rwanda that the singer received from a journalist while staying in Liberia, was released next. The single "Paper Planes", described a "satire on immigrant stereotypes", and the EP Paper Planes - Homeland Security Remixes EP were released digitally in February 2008, the single eventually selling three times platinum in the US and Canada, certified Gold in New Zealand, and becoming the 29th most downloaded song in the digital era in the US and earning a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year. "Paper Planes" is to date XL Recordings' second best selling single, and by November 2011 it had sold 3.6 million copies in the US, the seventh best-selling song by a British artist in the digital era. In 2007, M.I.A. also released the How Many Votes Fix Mix EP which included a remix of "Boyz" featuring Jay-Z. "Paper Planes" is one of M.I.A.'s most popular songs. On this song she collaborated with Florida-based DJ Diplo. Their work on this song landed him a Grammy nomination for Record of the year and got number three in the US Charts.They also worked together on her first album "Arular" Like its predecessor, universal acclaim met Kala's release in August 2007 and the album earned a normalised rating of 87 out of 100 on the review aggregator MetaCritic. Kala was a greater commercial success than Arular. To support Kala, M.I.A. performed at a series of music festivals on the Kala Tour featuring performances in Europe, America and Asia. She performed three dates opening for Björk in the US and France. In 2008, M.I.A. provided guest vocals on Buraka Som Sistema's kuduro song "Sound of Kuduro", recorded in Angola with an accompanying video. The same year, M.I.A. and director Spike Jonze filmed a documentary in Woolwich, South London, in which they both appeared with Afrikan Boy, a Nigerian immigrant rapper and she disclosed plans to launch her own record label, Zig-Zag. She ended the year with concerts in the United Kingdom. By year end, Kala was named the best album of 2007 by publications including Rolling Stone and Blender. MetaCritic reported in 2010 that Kala was the tenth Best-Reviewed Electronic/Dance Album on Metacritic of the 2000-09 decade, one position below her debut album Arular. M.I.A. performed on the People vs. Money Tour during the first half of 2008. She cancelled the final leg of her tour in Europe through June and July after revealing her intentions to take a career break and work on other art projects, go back to college and make a film.

In 2008, M.I.A. started her independent record label N.E.E.T. Recordings. The first artist signed to the label was Baltimore rapper Rye Rye, who performed with M.I.A. at the Diesel XXX party at Pier 3 in Brooklyn in October 2008 where it was revealed that M.I.A. was pregnant with her first child. M.I.A. contributed songs for A. R. Rahman's score of the film Slumdog Millionaire, which included the collaboration "O...Saya"; she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song and a World Soundtrack Award for Best Original Song Written Directly for a Film for the song. M.I.A. was due to perform at the Oscars ceremony two weeks after her Grammy Award performance, but could not as she had just given birth to her son. M.I.A. is the first person of Asian descent to be nominated for an Oscar and Grammy award in the same year.

At the 2009 BRIT Awards in February, M.I.A. was a nominee for Best British Female Artist. Seeking to promote new, underground music with N.E.E.T., M.I.A. signed more bands including Baltimore musician Blaqstarr, indie rock band Sleigh Bells and visual artist Jaime Martinez by late 2009. 3D photographic images of M.I.A. by Martinez were commissioned in April of that year. In August 2009, M.I.A. began composing and recording her third studio album in a home studio section in her Los Angeles house. In January 2010, M.I.A. posted her video for the song "Space". While composing it, she helped write a song with Christina Aguilera called "Elastic Love" for Aguilera's album Bionic. By April 2010, the song and music video/short film "Born Free" were leaked online. The video-film short was directed by Romain Gavras and written by M.I.A., depicting genocide against red-haired adolescents being forced to run across a minefield and caused controversy due to its violent content. The video was removed from YouTube the same day it was released, then reinstated with an age restriction, then removed once more. Although not an official single, the song charted in Sweden and the United Kingdom. M.I.A.'s third album, Maya was released on 23 June 2010 in Japan with bonus tracks before its release in other countries. Maya became M.I.A.'s highest charting album globally. Its release in the US was delayed by two weeks. The album garnered a generally favourable, although divided, reception from critics. A more internet-inspired album illustrating how a multimedia artist worked within the music industry, elements of industrial music were incorporated into M.I.A.'s sound for the first time. She described the album in an interview with Dazed & Confused as a mix of "babies, death, destruction and powerlessness".

On 11 May 2010, the first official single from Maya, "XXXO", was released and reached the top forty in Belgium, Spain and the UK. "Steppin' Up", "Teqkilla", and "Tell Me Why" were also released as promotional singles exclusively on iTunes in the days leading to the release of Maya, with "Teqkilla" reaching the top 100 in Canada on digital downloads alone.

The video for "XXXO" was released online in August. M.I.A. hinted in an interview to Blitz that a music video is being made with director Spike Jonze for the single "Teqkilla." She completed her live tour dates on the Maya Tour in summer of 2011. From 2000 until 2010, she directed the video for Elastica single "Mad Dog God Dam" and videos for her songs "Bird Flu", "Boyz", "S.U.S. (Save Ur Soul)", "Space" and "XXXO" as well as personally choosing the directors for the videos of her songs Galang, Sunshowers, which she described in 2005 and again in 2011 as being her favourite video experience and favourite video adaptation of a song of hers, in her words as of 2011, "If you watch only one of my videos, please try Sunshowers", "Jimmy," "Born Free," and "Bad Girls.", a video inspired by YouTube videos of car stunts and photographs, including one of an Arab female trucker, from the Middle East, which she described as her second favourite music video. She directed a video for Rye Rye's "Bang". She judged in the Music Video category at the inaugural Vimeo Festival & Awards in New York in October 2010.

M.I.A. released her second mixtape, Vicki Leekx, on 31 December 2010, and followed this with Internet Connection: The Remixes, an EP to a bonus track from Maya in January 2011. M.I.A. performed on the song "C.T.F.O." on SebastiAn's album Total. On 21 April 2011, it was reported that M.I.A. had been in the studio with Chris Brown, the Cataracs, Swizz Beatz and Polow da Don. On 24 July 2011, the day after Amy Winehouse's death, M.I.A. uploaded a previously-unreleased Maya/Vicki Leekx demo titled "27" to her SoundCloud account. The song was released as a tribute to the 27 Club.

On 13 July 2015, M.I.A. released a five-minute video titled "Matahdatah Scroll 01 Broader Than a Border" which features two of her tracks: Matangi's "Warrior" and a new track "Swords". The music is sampled from Yo Yo Honey Singh's Manali Trance. The video was filmed in India and West Africa and shows different forms of dancing in those regions.

On 27 November 2015, M.I.A. released "Borders" as her new single on iTunes, prior to that her new single was announced via her Instagram account. Serving as both a rallying cry and a call for compassion, the track mocks first world problems and shares her views on the escalating global refugee crisis. The self-directed video that accompanied its release shows her joining "those attempting to flee their homes by cramming on boats, wading in the ocean and climbing barbed-wire fences".

In late February 2016, she released "Boom ADD", an expanded version of the "Boom Skit", which appeared on M.I.A.'s fourth studio album Matangi; it is a diss-track to the NFL's lawsuit of her performance at the Super Bowl XLVI. On 9 September 2016, she released her fifth studio album AIM to mixed reviews, with "Poc Still A Ryda", a lyrical mix of the songs on the album, preceding the album's release. On 8 February 2017, she released a new song, along with a music video, entitled "P.O.W.A", a previously unreleased song from her recording sessions for AIM.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: ahmetkozan

Trivia (18)

Raised in Sri Lanka, where her father was a guerilla fighter.
Was born in Hounslow, London. When she was six months old, her family moved back to their native Sri Lanka.
She eventually returned to her birthplace in London, where she and her family were housed as refugees.
Some of her early influences were: Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, Roxanne Shante and N.W.A
Went to London's Central Saint Martins Art School, where she studied fine art, film and video.
"M.I.A." is an acronym for Missing In Acton, in reference to the gritty section of London she lived in.
Her first public art exhibition show was nominated for the alternative Turner prize, every painting sold and a monograph book of the collection was published by Pocko.
After hearing his single, "News Flash", and loving it, Arulpragasam tracked down and met with Diplo, the Mississippi-born DJ originally named Wesley Pentz, to work on some material.
Her father was 'Arul Pragasam', leader of 'Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students'(aka EROS) one of the main Tamil anti-government organization operating in Sri Lanka.
Her debut album, Arular, was released in America in March 2005
She is of Sri Lankan descent.
Performed at the Grammy Awards on February 8, 2009 although it was the day she was due to give birth to her first child.
Was in a relationship with Benjamin Bronfman from 2008 (they became engaged the same May) to 2012. They have a son together.
Gave birth to her 1st child at age 33, a son Ikhyd Edgar Arular Bronfman on February 11, 2009. Child's father is her now ex-fiancé, Benjamin Bronfman.
She was heavily involved in international politics, and expressed her support for embattled Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange.
Her hit "Paper Planes" hit multi-Platinum certification in Canada and the U.S., was certified Gold in New Zealand, and reached the Top 20 on the world charts.
She had a five year relationship with Diplo. From 2008 to 2012 she dated billionaire environmentalist Benjamin Bronfman. She gave birth to their son, Ikhyd Edgar Arular Bronfman, in 2009.
She was awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours List for her services to music.

Personal Quotes (2)

Those records were rhythmic, so whether you understood the language or not, you could understand the music.
"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." - her thoughts when she heard one of Diplo's songs for the first time.

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