Maya Arulpragasam was born in Hounslow, London England. When she was six months old, her family moved back to their homeland, Sri Lanka. At eight years old, Maya moved back to London, where she and her family were housed as refugees from the civil unrest in their native region. Maya learned proper English at school and slang at home by listening to NWA and Public Enemy on the radio.
In 2000, Maya was encouraged by electro-clash icon Peaches to make music on a Roland MC-505 Groovebox and she pulled lyrics from journals she had written during a four month trip to the Caribbean island of St. Vincent to craft her first songs. In 2005, she released Arular, and reached the mainstream charts in Europe and the U.K. It was considered as much a political statement as a musical one, as it referenced the Tamil Tigers.
In 2007, Kala was released. Like Arular, it received unanimous international critical praise. It topped multiple “Best of the Year” lists in publications around the world with its deft mixture of politics, social consciousness, and inimitable genre-blending.
On Maya, M.I.A. continues her musical exploration into new territory including rock, dubstep and more. She is not a typical artist and Maya pushes the envelope with controversial sounds, lyrics, and imagery. M.I.A is many things — a visual-artist, musician, revolutionary, and style-icon–and just when you think you have Maya pegged, it will surprise you.
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