Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam MBE, known by her stage name M.I.A., is a British rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, visual artist, and activist. Combining elements of alternative, dance, electronic, hip hop, and world music, her early compositions relied heavily on the Roland MC-505 music sequencer and drum machine, whilst her later work marked an evolution in her sound with rare instruments, electronics, and unusual sound samples. M.I.A.'s music lyrically incorporates a range of political, social, philosophical and cultural references. M.I.A. has embarked on five global headlining tours and is the founder of her own multimedia label, N.E.E.T.
Born in London to Sri Lankan Tamil parents, M.I.A. and her family moved to Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka when she was six months old. The first 11 years of her life were marked by displacement caused by the Sri Lankan Civil War, and she and her family eventually returned to London as refugees. M.I.A. began her career in 2000 as a visual artist, filmmaker, and designer in West London before beginning her recording career in 2002.
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