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M.I.A.


Known by the stage name M I A, is an artist, film maker, singer, songwriter, rapper, activist, visual artist, humanitarian, record producer, graphic designer, photographer, fashion icon, and refugee icon.
M.I.A.
Peaches: "I first met M.I.A. as Maya in America way back in 2000 [laughs]. And she was a great videographer and she was also making her own films and her own clothes. I think that you can transfer your creativities to all different areas. She was a videographer, she made me clothes, she has a creative mind, and a passion and a drive."
M.I.A. quotes
Anthony Kiedis: "I'm very keen on M.I.A., I think she's a rocking live performer."
M.I.A.
Chris Brown: "Was in the studio with the incredible M.I.A and Polow!! Amazing artist! ReAl talent."




M.I.A. quotes
I call bullshit on any system that holds me down. If the system changed my life the way it did and it totally abused my life and my family, then I’m willing to stand up against it. My goal is to bring people into the system. If I have to use some shocking imagery or if I have to use some honest up-front language to get in and wake people up, so be it. At least, it has sparked up some discussion and young people feel like they have the right to talk. That’s all you can hope for, to induce discussion and then make people feel like they have the right to discuss political issues.
M.I.A.
GAVRAS: I’d love to have his hair. He has very good curly, shiny hair.
M.I.A. quotes
Nas: "Her sound is the future."
M.I.A.
Spike Jonze: "I met her right before she put out her first record, in 2005, and she insisted she wasn't a musician. To this day, she doesn't consider herself a musician. She has this wide range of talents and influences — she's a Sri Lankan refugee who didn't speak a word of English before she was 10, yet she's also a child of Chuck D and the Pixies and Fight Club and MySpace. There are no borders for her. She made me realize that you don't have to be from the West to have a favorite Biggie song. We are all listening to the same music. Last summer she was performing in Philadelphia, and she showed up at the venue, and it was an armory building. She felt kind of weird about it and decided she wasn't going to perform there unless she acknowledged that, so she found a group of Army veterans against the Iraq war and had them come and speak as her opening act. That's her mission — it's personal and evolving, focused but totally spontaneous. She's always for the underdog. And no matter how many times she's on the Grammys, she'll always see herself as the underdog."
M.I.A. quotes
Justine Frischmann: "In terms of the music scene today, I still think that Maya's work [MIA] is interesting. But I'm the wrong person to ask. I live in rural northern California where there are coyotes wandering in the streets. And I don't own a TV." July 2011
M.I.A.
I haven't heard honesty in music for so long and this is how I feel, and this is what I think. You don't even have to say words ... I was just being as raw as possible. I wanted to make music that you felt in your gut.
M.I.A.
I performed at a show at the MoMA. There was this big dinner there, and I was seated in this hall with the mayor of New York and all these extremely wealthy art-supporting and art-buying people. There was a piece of work hanging in the hall-it was a fan. This fan was supposed to swing by the momentum of its own propeller. So, while we were having dinner, the fan was stopped, and the guy next to me, a curator at P.S.1, said, "Look, this is what art symbolizes today." Like, that piece of art is supposed to be moving, but just to have dinner we've stopped the art. That's what New York is like today. You can't have real art happen in an institution because rich people can make the world stop. The stuff on the street is a lot more interesting.
M.I.A.
OK, let's go and explore the rest of the world, and how easy is it to put together music through found objects and stuff, and people, and ideas and certain electricity, certain environments.




M.I.A. quotes
I didn't want to make huge political statements; in fact, I hate preachy shit and people saying, 'This is good; this is bad.' I talk about how I see things as an everyday person in England. I was saying things that were a bit controversial, and I wanted to say that there are some opinions that aren't black and white. Things are confusing and complex. If you really want to be a good person, you understand things from all points of view and you are empathetic towards every opinion and every voice. I was like, 'I'm going to make an album about how it's difficult to make sense of living today, and that is added to by the television and the media, the person at my bank and the person at my mobile phone company.' I want to make sense of all those people and what is going on, and that is what I tried to do lyrically, and not provide a manifesto.
M.I.A.
Kim Gordon: "I went to see M.I.A. play at Mount Holyoke, and it was a hall filled with girls, and they were going crazy. I could hear the beats more live, the record is so dense. I like her lyrics. I like that her music is rhythms upon rhythms. It escapes genre. I wouldn’t even call it a hip-hop record, I’d just call it M.I.A. She had this great footage of tribal dancers and these two young girls dancing onstage who were amazing. “Kala” (Interscope) has great grooves — it’s very colorful, lots of texture and density. The rhythms aren’t generic. They’re intuitive and organic."
M.I.A. quotes
My approach to politics is that I never said I'm smart. But why aren't I allowed to write about my experience?
M.I.A.
Eric Daman and Meredith Markworth-Pollack: "Vanessa is a breath of fresh air. She’s the Lower East Side, Raising Victor Vargas home-girl. One night we saw M.I.A. in concert wearing a sequin sailor suit and were like “Omigod, she is so Vanessa.”" [on M.I.A. being the inspiration for the costumes of character Vanessa Abrams on television series Gossip Girl.]
M.I.A. quotes
Mike Nichols: Interviewer: Are you going to the afterparty? Nichols: I don't know, is there another party, after the party? Interviewer: Yeah. After your dinner. Nichols: I didn't know that. I don't think I'm invited. Interviewer: Do you listen to M.I.A.? Nichols: Yes! [at MoMA "Party in the Garden" 2008]
M.I.A.
Trent Reznor: "The only thing that I play in my car right now is Arular by a girl named M.I.A., the most innovative artist in years." (2005) [Reznor subsequently wanted to collaborate with M.I.A. in 2005, and added her songs "Pull Up The People", "Hombre" and "Galang" to the setlist of Pre-Show Music played at Nine Inch Nails Lights in the Sky concert tour (2008 - 2009).] 2005,
M.I.A. quotes
M.I.A.: No. My fashion icon is Colonel [Muammar al-] Gaddafi, and he always has been. He’s rock ’n’ roll.
M.I.A.
Ryan McGinley: "We had to basically rig a truss for this swing; it was a major production to make sure it was safe. I tried it out. M.I.A. might have gotten there and said, 'I'm not doing this; this is too crazy.' But she got on and just started swinging like it was something normal. "I remember her saying, 'If I'm going to go out, this is an awesome way to go.'"
M.I.A.
No one ever gives those kids the microphone and says, 'Tell us, what the fuck is going on.' They don't show them because none of them know how to talk to you. It took me 20 years to get over here, learn the language, become a pop star and say, 'Finally, I get the microphone!' This is what I was going to say if I got it when I was 10.


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