M.I.A.

Mathangi « Maya » Arulpragasam, more commonly known as M.I.A. is a Tamil singer-songwriter, fashion designer, and record producer who is British-born with her date of birth stated as July 18, 1975. She used to focus on being a visual artist, but in 2004, she became famous for her singles « Sunshowers » and « Galang » which were shared over the Internet. In 2005, her debut album entitled « Alular » was released and even nominated in the Mercury Prize. Two years after, M.I.A.’s sophomore album « Kala » was launched and became a success. M.I.A., to date, has been nominated twice in the Grammy Awards and one in the Academy Awards.

M.I.A. was born in London, to parents Arul and Kala Pragasam. The family moved back to Sri Lanka when M.I.A. was just an infant, and her father founded a political group that aimed to establish Independence. This led to the family needing to move from one place to another in order to be safe from the Sri Lankan army. Eventually, M.I.A., her sister, her brother, and her mother, had to return to London where they stayed as refugees. It was in London that M.I.A. learned to speak English and studied the arts (film, fine art, and video) in order to pursue her dreams.
M.I.A. eventually became interested in music and decided to record six songs into tape. Some of the songs included: « Galang », « Lady Killa », etc. which, when released, caught the interest of many people. Showbiz Records was responsible for distributing M.I.A.’s single « Galang » in the year 2003, which quicklty became famous. One year later, two of her singles entitled « Sunshowers » and « Galang » became popular in file sharing and were played on college radio stations; through word of mouth, the greatness of her music spread, making M.I.A. a household name worldwide. Because of this, a number of major record companies made her offers, but M.I.A., in the end, made a deal with XL Recordings.

« Arular », M.I.A.’s debut album was launched in 2005, and was very much successful. The album was inspired by her father’s experiences as well as the indie culture, poverty, etc., more prominent in M.I.A.’s tracks such as « M.I.A. », « Amazon », and « Fire Fire ». It was also because of « Arular » that M.I.A. garnered a nomination in Mercury Music Prize. In 2006, M.I.A. recorded her follow-up album « Kala » which she named after her mother and was released in August 2007. The singles included in the said album sang of war, M.I.A’s personal relationships, as well as politics. Some of the tracks found in « Kala » include: « Bird Flu » and « Hit That ». « Kala » was also named as 2007’s Best Album by a number of publications such as Blender and Rolling Stones.
In the first quarter of 2008, M.I.A. was the disc jockey at the Marc Jacobs After-Party. She also modeled for Jacobs for his Spring and Summer collection. M.I.A. also spent her time touring then eventually ended the tour early so she could focus on making her next album. It was also in the same year that she founded her own label : N.E.E.T., with Rye Rye being its first artist.
M.I.A. recently gave birth to her baby boy in February 11th of the present year (2009) and is currently engaged to The Exit’s singer Benjamin Brewer.

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