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M.I.A.AKA Mathangi Maya Arulpragasam

Born: 18-Jul-1975
Birthplace: Hounslow, London, England

Gender: Female
Religion: Hindu
Race or Ethnicity: Asian/Indian
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Rapper

Nationality: Sri Lanka
Executive summary: Paper Planes

Born in England, Maya Arulpragasam moved to her parents' home of Sri Lanka when she was 6 months old. There her father was a member of the militant Tamil Tigers group, which since 1976 has sought to liberate the northern portion of the island in order to form an independent Tamil state. Arulpragasam lived in poverty with her mother and siblings on the island until she was 11, when her family was able to flee to England as refugees.

After studying art and film at Saint Martins College, Arulpragasam was commissioned by Elastica frontwoman Justine Frischmann to design the artwork for that band's second album. With Frischmann's help, she began to make music, and after shopping her songs around and finding someone to produce them, released her first single Galang in late 2003. On the strength of her demo she was signed to XL Recordings, releasing her much-hyped debut album Arular in 2005.

Father: Arul Pragasam ("Arular", Tamil Tiger militant)
Sister: Kali (elder)
Brother: Sugu (younger)
Boyfriend: Diplo (DJ, together 2003-08)
Boyfriend: Benjamin Bronfman (musician, son of Edgar Bronfman, Jr., one son)
Son: Ikhyd Edgar Arular Bronfman (b. 11-Feb-2009)

    University: Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, England

    Tamil Ancestry
    Risk Factors: Smoking

Official Website:

Author of books:
M.I.A. (2002, art)

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