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Biography

Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam (Tamil: மாதங்கி 'மாயா' அருள்பிரகாசம், Mātaṅki 'Māyā' Aruḷpirakācam ?; born 18 July 1975), better known by her stage name M.I.A., is a Sri Lankan singer-songwriter, rapper and record producer whose eclectic compositions combine elements of hip-hop, electronica, dance, alternative and world music.

M.I.A. began her career in 2000 as a visual artist and designer in West London. Since rising to prominence in early 2004 for her singles "Galang" and "Sunshowers," 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. Kala went gold in Canada and the United States and silver in the United Kingdom, and the singles "Boyz" and "Paper Planes" became North American top ten chart favourites in 2008. M.I.A.'s third album Maya was released in 2010 soon after the song-film short "Born Free," and reached the top ten in numerous countries worldwide. She has embarked on four global headlining tours and is the founder of her own multimedia label, N.E.E.T.. In 2008, M.I.A. was listed in Esquire magazine's list of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century and in 2009, Time magazine included M.I.A. in its annual Time 100 list of the world's most influential people.

M.I.A.'s early compositions relied heavily on the Roland MC-505 sequencer/drum machine, while later styles have created layered textures of instruments, electronics and unusual sound samples. A noted philanthropist and activist for many causes, her activism has been met with both appreciation and criticism. In 2002, she received an Alternative Turner Prize nomination for her art, and has been recognized for her work as a music video director, graphic and fashion designer.


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