Thursday, July 18, 2013

July 18: Rapper Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, AKA M.I.A. - is 38-years-old today.

Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam is an English recording artist, songwriter, painter and director of Sri Lankan Tamil descent. Professionally she is known as M.I.A. Maya was born in Hounslow, London. Her parents were both devoutly Hindu and of Sri Lankan Tamil descent.

When Maya was six months old, her family moved to Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka. There, her father became a political activist and founding member of the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students (EROS), a political Tamil group that worked to address systematic discrimination against Tamils.

Maya cites the radio broadcasts she heard emanating from her neighbours' flats in the late 1980s as some of her first exposures to her earliest musical influences. From there, she developed an interest in hip-hop and dancehall, identifying with "the starkness of the sound.” In college she developed an affinity for punk and the emerging sounds of Britpop and electroclash.

Her compositions combine elements of electronic, dance, alternative, 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,” she 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 both to universal critical acclaim. Arular charted in Norway, Belgium, Sweden, Japan and the US. Kala was certified silver in the UK and gold in Canada and the US, where it topped the Dance/Electronic Albums chart. The album's first single "Boyz" reached the top ten in Canada and on the Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales in 2007, becoming her first top-ten charting single.

M.I.A.'s third album Maya was released in 2010 soon after the controversial song-film short "Born Free.” M.I.A. is also the founder of her own multimedia label, N.E.E.T.

M.I.A.'s early compositions relied heavily on the Roland MC-505 sequencer/drum machine, while her later work marked an evolution in her sound, presenting layered textures of instruments, electronics and unusual sound samples to form her acclaimed and distinctive avant garde music style.

Lyrically incorporating a range of political, social, philosophical and cultural references that have defied existing pop music conventions, M.I.A. was one of the first acts to come to public attention through the internet, after posting many of her songs and videos 2002–2005 prior to YouTube's existence on platforms such as MySpace. She continues to post her music on such sites, including YouTube.

M.I.A. is the only artist in history to be nominated for an Academy Award, Grammy Award, Brit Award, Mercury Prize and Alternative Turner Prize, and the first artist of Asian descent to be nominated for an Academy and Grammy Award in the same year.

In both 2005 and 2008, M.I.A. was artist of the year by Spin and URB and M.I.A. is named as one of the defining artists of the 2000s decade by Rolling Stone in its "Best of the Decade" list in December 2009.

Esquire magazine ranked M.I.A. on its list of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century in January 2010 and also in January 2010 Time magazine named her one of the world's 100 most influential people.


For more about M.I.A., visit her Website at -


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