Born Jul 18, 1975

Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam MBE, known by her stage name M.I.A., is an English rapper, singer, record producer and activist. M.I.A.'s songs contain evocative political and social commentary regarding immigration, warfare and identity in a globalised world. Her music combines elements of alternative, dance, electronic, hip hop and world music with eclectic instruments and samples.
Born in London to Sri Lankan Tamil parents, M.I.A. and her family moved to Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka when she was six months old. As a child, she experienced displacement caused by the Sri Lankan Civil War, which made the family return to London as refugees when M.I.A. was 11 years old; the war had a defining influence on M.I.A.'s artistry. She started out as a visual artist, filmmaker and designer in 2000, and began her recording career in 2002. One of the first acts to come to public attention through the Internet, she saw early fame as an underground artist in early 2004 with her singles "Sunshowers" and "Galang".
M.I.A.'s first two albums, Arular and Kala, received widespread critical acclaim for their experimentation with hip hop and electronic fusion.
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“Those records were rhythmic, so whether you understood the language or not, you could understand the music.”

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