M.I.A.: ‘Revolution is the marketable thing now’

M.I.A. has insisted « revolution » is a lot more « marketable » now, compared to the resistance she faced for speaking out during her career.

The rapper, real name Mathangi ‘Maya’ Arulpragasam, began her recording career in 2002 and has since had hits with songs such as Born Free and Paper Planes, while also garnering a reputation for controversy due to her activism and outspoken social and political commentary. While M.I.A. has received much criticism over the years for encouraging change in the cultural landscape, the 42-year-old wondered why her words were shut down, yet initiatives such as Time’s Up anti-sexual harassment movement have been widely accepted and glorified.

Right now


« Right now it’s the marketable thing – revolution, » the singer-songwriter said in an interview with website High Snobiety. « Everybody who spoke at the Grammys is like ‘OMG, so powerful’ about things that are still within a sphere of acceptableness, but when I said things like that before… it was like the biggest thing. »

The Grammy-nominee


The Grammy-nominee, who is of Sri Lankan Tamil origin, was previously married to American environmentalist Benjamin Bronfman and gave birth to their first child Ikhyd in February 2009 before the pair split in 2012. Yet no matter what state she found herself in, M.I.A. felt as though she just couldn’t win over her commentators.

« The whole cultural system of entertainment was so grossed out by me, » she shared. « When I was trying to settle down and be normal and get married and have a baby, they were like ‘WTF are you doing? Why are you in Beverly Hills?’ And then the year after when I’m just totally kicked out of that whole system and I’m poor, everybody says ‘You’re a s**t artist and no one likes you because you’re not a billionaire… » she recalled.

The musician is the focus of upcoming documentary Matangi/Maya/M.I.A., which admitted she found a difficult process and is treating as « free therapy. »

Greta Van Fleet Lands Second Straight Mainstream Rock Songs No. 1

The act is the third in the 2010s to lead with its first two charting singles.

Greta Van Fleet sends its second straight single to No. 1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart, as « Safari Song » rise 2-1 on the ranking dated Feb. 24.

« Safari » marks the Michigan rockers’ second No. 1 of two charted singles, as « Highway Tune » ruled the Mainstream Rock Songs chart for five weeks, beginning on the list dated Sept. 16, 2017.

Greta Van Fleet

Greta Van Fleet becomes the latest act to top the tally with its first two entries, with just two other acts having done so in the 2010s: Red Sun Rising (with « The Otherside » on Oct. 31, 2015, and « Emotionless » on May 7, 2016) and The Pretty Reckless (« Heaven Knows, » March 22, 2014, and « Messed Up World, » Sept. 13, 2014; the group’s subsequent two entries also reached No. 1, with its four leaders in its first four tries a feat unmatched by any other act in the chart’s 37-year history).

The ascent of « Safari »

The ascent of « Safari, » which concurrently climbs 17-15 on the all-rock-format Rock Airplay chart (4.7 million audience impressions in the week ending Feb. 15, according to Nielsen Music), is the latest triumph for Greta Van Fleet. In addition to its No. 1s on Mainstream Rock Songs, the band’s first two releases – 2017’s Black Smoke Rising EP and From the Fires double-EP – have made inroads on Billboard’s rock album charts, with the latter having debuted at No. 1 on the Dec. 2, 2017-dated Hard Rock Albums ranking with 15,000 equivalent album units.

Black Smoke Rising

To date, Black Smoke Rising has moved 70,000 units (including 47,000 in traditional album sales) in the U.S., while From the Fires has earned 104,000 units (74,000 in album sales). Both sets feature « Safari. »

The four-piece is currently at work on its debut full-length, with an anticipated release date sometime in mid-2018.