MIA home 2
Everyone loves a good rags-to-riches story and they don’t get much better than this.
The daughter of a Sri Lankan political activist, Mathangi Arulpragasam (aka M.I.A) survived a civil war, became a refugee in South London and only got accepted into art college after threatening to become a prostitute. It’s safe to say that this girl wasn’t exactly born with a silver spoon in her mouth.
A gifted artist, M.I.A. once flogged one of her paintings to Jude Law at an exhibition on London’s Portobello Road before swapping her paintbrush for a microphone. The change of career has brought nominations for Academy Awards, Grammys and the Mercury Music Prize and if that wasn’t enough, she now has her own record label, dabbles in fashion and has funded school building projects in Liberia.
When she’s not trying to save the world, the refugee icon is out touring it. Her electro rap ballads consistently get belted out to sell-out crowds; the reason being, if you haven’t already guessed, this girl is good. In her destructive raps you’ll find melodic vocals but harsh lyrics that tackle poverty, violence and globalisation from the point of view of the Third World.
If you go and see her (and you should), expect a thunderous reception for ‘Paper Planes’ which even your mum will recognise from the soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire. You’ll know it when you hear it; it’s the one with all the gunshots and the pinging cash registers that rattled round your head for weeks after you first heard it.
A feriously talented individual, this left-of-centre ‘anti-pop’ star will leave you inspired, provoked and unable to dance to anything else.
M.I.A plays Razzmatazz on December 7th.