Date of birth : 1975-07-18
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Mitcham, South London, United Kingdom
Nationality : British
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-10-29
Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, better known by her stage name M.I.A., is a British singer-songwriter, rapper and record producer whose eclectic compositions combine elements of hip-hop, electronica, dance, avante-garde, alternative and world music.
M.I.A. began her career as a visual artist and designer in West London. Since rising to prominence in early 2004 with the singles Galang and Sunshowers, M.I.A. has been nominated for an Academy Award, two Grammy Awards and the Mercury Prize. She released her debut album Arular in 2005 and second album Kala in 2007. Kala went gold in Canada and the United States and silver in the United Kingdom, and the singles Boyz and Paper Planes became North American top ten chart favourites in 2008. M.I.A.'s third album Maya was released in 2010 soon after the song-film short "Born Free," and reached the top ten in numerous countries worldwide. She has embarked on four global headlining tours and is the founder of her own multimedia label, N.E.E.T.. In 2008, M.I.A. was listed in Esquire magazine's list of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century and in 2009, Time magazine included M.I.A. in its annual Time 100 list of the world's most influential people.
Her early compositions relied heavily on the Roland MC-505 sequencer/drum machine, while later styles have created layered textures of instruments, electronics and unusual sound samples. A noted philanthropist and activist for many causes, her activism has been met with both appreciation and criticism. Considered a style icon and credited as an influential, inspirational figure within contemporary music, in 2002 she received an Alternative Turner Prize nomination for her art, and has been recognized for work as a music video director, graphic and fashion designer.
Arulpragasam has an older sister, Kali, and a younger brother, Sugu. Due to the conflict, much of her young age was spent moving from home to home. Contact with her father was strictly limited, as she says he was in hiding from the Sri Lankan Army. As the civil war escalated, it became unsafe for the family to stay in Sri Lanka, so they relocated to Cennai, Tamil Nadu, India, moving into a derelict house, with sporadic visits from her father. They later settled in Jaffna again. By now, the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka was at its peak, and the family once again tried to flee the country. Eventually, Arulpragasam, her two siblings and mother Kala made it back to London where they were housed as refugees. It was in the late '80s, on a council estate in Mitcham (South London), that an eleven-year-old Arulpragasam began to learn the English language. Here she was exposed to Western radio for the first time, hearing broadcasts emanating from her neighbours' flats. Her affinity for hip-hop and rap began from there. Acts including Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, Roxanne Shante and N.W.A. would become just some of her early music influences.
Arulpragasam attended London's Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, where she studied Fine Art, Film and Video. Arulpragasam currently lives in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, New York in the United States.
* Arular (2005)
* Kala (2007)
* Maya (2010)
Some awards and nominations M.I.A. has received are listed below.
* Academy Award
o 2009: Nominated – Best Original Song – "O…Saya"
* Alternative Turner Prize
o 2002: Shortlisted – M.I.A. – Maya Arulpragasam
* World Soundtrack Awards
o 2009: Nominated – "O... Saya"
* ASCAP PRS Awards
o 2009: Won – "Paper Planes"
o 2009: Won – "Swagga Like Us"
* BRIT Awards
o 2009: Nominated – British Female Solo Artist
* BET Awards
o 2009: Won – Best Female Hip Hop Artist
o 2009: Nominated – Best New Artist
* Grammy Awards
o 2009: Nominated – Record of the Year – "Paper Planes"
o 2009: Nominated – Best Rap Song – "Swagga Like Us"
* Groovevolt Music & Fashion Awards
o 2005: Won – Best Alternative Album – Arular
* Mercury Music Prize
o 2005: Shortlisted – Album of the Year – Arular
* South Bank Show Awards
o 2005: Nominated – Breakthrough Award – M.I.A.
* Shortlist Music Prize
o 2005: Shortlisted – Album of the Year – Arular
o 2007: Shortlisted – Album of the Year – Kala
* Q Awards
o 2005: Nominated – Best New Act – M.I.A.
* Independent Music Awards (Canada)
o 2008: Nominated – International Album of the Year – Kala
o 2008: Nominated – International Artist/Group/Duo of the Year – M.I.A.
* UK Asian Music Awards
o 2009: Won – Best Female Act
* Spin and URB magazines' "Artist of the Year" in 2005
* Rolling Stone and Blender's "Album of the Year" 2007 – Kala
* USA Today's "100 Most Interesting People of 2007"
* The Village Voice's 2008 Pazz+Jop Poll: Singles Winner
* Time's 2009 Top 100 World's Most Influential People
View the full website biography of M.I.A..