It’s safe to say that we absolutely love nothing more than women who go against the grain. We love any woman that really has substance in what she is saying; whether that be through her music, art, writing or designs. So, when we heard that one of our musical crushes, M.I.A was making a huge comeback to the music industry, we decided to look back on her wildly exciting and dramatic career so far!
Born Mathangi Arulpragasam to a seamstress mother and an engineer and activist father, M.I.A as she is best known to her fans, grew up listening to the likes of Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince and Bjork to name a few. Although she experienced great upheaval when her family moved back to Sri Lanka, and they had to deal with the consequences of the ongoing Sri Lankan Civi War, M.I.A never lost sight of her ambitious and creative streak, and on her return to Britain attended Central St Martins – which has an alumni of the who’s who of the fashion, design and art world.
It wasn’t long before the outspoken artist came up with her moniker M.I.A. Of this she says: “M.I.A. came to be because of my missing cousin. I wanted to make a film about where he was since he was M.I.A. (Missing in Action) in Sri Lanka.”
Just a few years later, M.I.A was about to get her first taste of music success with progressive singles such as Galang and Sunshowers. This caught the attention of music superstars Missy Elliot and Timbaland, who both asked her to jump on board each of their albums – which was a complete dream come true for MIA who considered Elliot one of her biggest influences. And of course, then came the huge hit Paper Planes, which catapulted her into the massive fame she had yet to experience and an so much audience bigger than her cult-following.
Fast forward 4 studio albums later, a son, various controversies (like when she got sued by the NFL for flipping her middle finger during a live performance with Madonna) and now here we are with a brand new single from the star.
“Ola, Foreign Friend” cleverly uses a Lion Kings sample – yes we said a Lion King sample – infused with Asian tempo and Timbland inspired beats. In true M.I.A fashion, her politicised words against a fast moving track have given us a dose of a much needed and much wanted revival on the music scene. We for one, can’t wait to see what 2016 brings for this strong, fiercly outspoken and innovative woman.