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Playground magazine




Name: Mathangi Arulpragasam

Origin: Mitcham, UK

Labels: N.E.E.T., XL, Interscope, Showbiz


M.I.A. is the stage name of Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam, who - after starting her career as a visual artist, film-maker and designer - began focussing on music in 2002. She rose to fame in 2004 with the release of two singles, “Sunshowers” and “Galang”, which entered the charts in the UK and USA. A year later, XL Recordings released her debut album, “Arular”. The tracks' beats were made on a Roland MC–505. Among her collaborators were Diplo, Switch, Richard X and Steve Mackey. The album got a lot of attention, mainly because of its unusual mix of hip-hop, electro-clash, punk-rock and indigenous rhythms, alongside political lyrical content.

Her next album was “Kala”, on XL in 2007. Timbaland helped her out in the studio on the record. The tracks were recorded internationally - in India, Jamaica, Australia, Liberia and Trinidad and Tobago for example - and she mixed dance and folk, with different sub-genres of world music, such as soca and gaana. Later, the film “Slumdog Millionaire” included the song “Paper Planes” on its soundtrack, which helped her rise to fame considerably. The track got nominated for both a Grammy and an Oscar. Her last album to date is “// / Y /”, released in the summer of 2010, produced by Blaqstarr, Rusko, Switch, Diplo and Derek E. Miller. On 31 st December 2010 she released a free mix-tape called “Vicki Leekx”. She has also founded her own label, N.E.E.T. Recordings, featuring artists like Blaqstarr, Sleigh Bells and Rye Rye.

Selected discography

“Arular” (XL, 2005)

“Kala” (XL, 2007)

“Maya” (XL, 2010)