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M.I.A. shares new song ‘The One’ and confirms ‘MATA’ album is in the works

'MATA' is the follow-up to 2016's 'AIM'

By Charlotte Krol

M.I.A poses in a 2022 press photo
M.I.A. (Picture: Jan Lehner)

M.I.A. has released ‘The One’ and confirmed the title of her sixth album, ‘MATA’.

The singer and rapper’s new Rex Kudo and T-Minus-produced single was written when M.I.A. was “in a really happy place”, as she revealed to Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 earlier this week.

‘MATA’ is the follow-up to 2016’s ‘AIM’ and will arrive via Island Records, with which M.I.A. has signed a new global record deal. The album does not currently have a release date.

Speaking to Lowe about ‘MATA’, the artist – real name Mathangi Arulpragasam – said that the forthcoming album “has two sides to it”.

“I think there’s a bit of a battle on the record. There is a bit of a clash, but the clash is, like, your ego and spirituality. Those are the clashes because, as a musician, you need some ego, otherwise you can’t do it,” she said in the interview.

“Also the genre of music that – genres I should say – is all very much like egocentric. It’s not like I’m an artist that came from gospel or something. For me, it was, like, to have that journey, and also, like, it was a significant time to discuss like Islamophobia… talking about wars in the Middle East and things like that.”

M.I.A. also discussed spirituality with Lowe, saying: “I had, like, a weird spiritual experience. One of the first people I told was Richard Russell actually. And it was back in 2017. And, since then, my head has been in a totally different place… being a Tamil and being a Hindu, I was very comfortable that I’d arrived finding myself. Which is, I think, going to be weird for America to process. But I had a vision and I saw the vision of Jesus Christ.

“It’s very, creatively, it’s a very crazy thing because it turned my world upside down. Because everything I thought and believed was no longer the case. And I think that was maybe a sign that something major was going to happen in the world, you know, and that people were needing to be introduced to this concept. But I always found the concept of Christianity quite basic compared to… wow this is gonna be shocking if people go, ‘Maya calls Christianity basic.'”

Lowe responded: “I think people are going to be more focusing on the fact that, I think, and, correct me if I’m wrong, you’re saying that you’re a born-again Christian now,” to which M.I.A. answered: “I am. I’m not going to lie. And then when I had this vision, it turned my world upside down.

“I kind of couldn’t let go of the Tamil side. I think that’s why 50% of the record is sort of like that. Because I’m still me. That’s still my language. And those are still my tools to be able to create beats like that or a sound like that, you know. But I think the message was just to get to a peaceful place.”

Additionally, M.I.A. said: “The history is, even if it costs me my career, I won’t lie. I will tell the truth, and I will tell you what’s on my mind and my heart. So if I’m coming back now saying Jesus is real, there’s a point, you know?”

In 2020 M.I.A. secured her first Number One with the Travis Scott ‘Franchise’ collaboration. Since her last album, she’s shared several songs including ‘P.O.W.A.’ and an NFT track, ‘Babylon‘.

See M.I.A.’s tour dates for 2022 below:

01 – Stockholm, Sweden- Grona Lund
02 – Funen, Denmark – Heartland Fest
10 – Barcelona, Spain – Primavera Sound
11 – Dijon, France – VYV Festival
12 – Marseille, France – Marsatac Festival
17 – Lyon, France – InVersion Festival
18 – Montendre, France – Freemusic Festival

08 – Oeiras, Portugal – NOS Alive
09 – Biscay, Spain – BBK Bilbao Live