M.I.A. Settles Down (for Now) After a Lifetime of Upheavals
The past year has been a big one for M.I.A., although, in truth, every year has been a big one for her, starting long before Maya Arulpragasam took on her stage moniker and started making music. When she was only 6 months old, her family relocated from London back to their native Sri Lanka and, after that, they lived the nomadic life of refugees while her father fought in a political insurgency group on the Tamil side of the Sri Lankan Civil War. Estranged from her father, M.I.A.'s family fled to India, then back to England.
M.I.A. discovered electronic music and began creating the mash-up of hip-hop, grime and baile funk that would become her trademark. Her first album, 'Arular,' became something an Internet sensation and made M.I.A. an instant underground celebrity. In 2008, a year after releasing her second album, 'Kala,' the song 'Paper Planes' became a ubiquitous summer hit propelled by its prominent use in the trailer for the film 'Pineapple Express' (and then, later, in 'Slumdog Millionaire').
M.I.A. now stands at a crossroads: She could dive deeper into the mainstream or she could continue to make music that is -- on the surface -- too abrasive for anywhere but dance clubs. The thing is, no matter where she goes next, she doesn't want it to be contrived. M.I.A. recently sat down with Spinner to tell us exactly where she's at right now, even if the actual cross streets are still unknown. In the process, she reveals details regarding her new album, the effect of motherhood on her career and what it's like to finally be settled in a place long enough to unpack.
Was Michael Jackson a big influence on you growing up?
Yes, of course. He's the only music that we had in Sri Lanka in terms of Western music. For my generation, anyway. The only tapes that made it to Sri Lanka were Michael Jackson. That was it. That was all we had. The whole village listened to Michael Jackson, they made bootleg tapes, tape to tape, for each other, and that's kinda all we had for years, like from when 'Thriller' came out until the time we left.
( also discusses a new album (?!?!!!!) and other thingsCollapse )