M.I.A. Net Worth (Updated 2024)

What is M.I.A.’s Net Worth?

M.I.A., a British singer and artist, has a net worth of $6 million. Her stage name stands for “Missing in Action” and “Missing in Acton.” She’s known for blending various music styles like alternative, dance, electronic, hip-hop, and world music.

Born in London to Sri Lankan Tamil parents, M.I.A. moved to Sri Lanka at six months old and returned to London as a refugee at age 11 due to the Sri Lankan Civil War. This influenced her art greatly. She started as a visual artist, filmmaker, and designer in 2000, then switched to music in 2002.

Her breakthrough came in 2004 with “Sunshowers” and “Galang.” Her albums “Arular” (2005) and “Kala” (2007) were praised for mixing hip-hop, electronic, and world music. “Paper Planes” from “Kala” was a huge hit, reaching number four in the US and selling over four million copies. Her third album, “Maya” (2010), was also successful.

M.I.A. continued to do well with “Matangi” (2013) and its hit “Bad Girls.” Her fifth album, “AIM,” came out in 2016. She featured on Travis Scott’s “Franchise,” her first Billboard Hot 100 number-one in 2020. Her sixth album, “Mata,” with the single “The One,” was released two years later.

M.I.A. has won numerous awards, including two ASCAP and two MTV Video Music Awards. She was the first South Asian to get Oscar and Grammy nominations in the same year. Rolling Stone named her a defining artist of the 2000s, and Time listed her among the 100 most influential people of 2009. Esquire included her in its list of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century. Billboard recognized her as a top dance/electronic artist of the 2010s. In 2019, she received the MBE for her contributions to music.

Here’s the breakdown of her net worth:

Name:

M.I.A.

Net Worth:

$6 Million

Date of Birth:

Jul 18, 1975

Salary:

$500K Per Year

Source of Wealth:

Singer, Record producer, Composer, Singer-songwriter, Photographer, Fashion designer, Rapper, Model, Visual Artist, Music Video Director

Learn more: the richest singers in the world

Early Life

Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam was born on July 18, 1975, in Hounslow, London. Her parents were Arul Pragasam, a Sri Lankan Tamil engineer, writer, and activist, and Kala, a seamstress.

When she was just six months old, her family moved to Jaffna, Sri Lanka, where they faced upheaval due to the Sri Lankan Civil War. Her father became politically involved with the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students (EROS), and Maya’s childhood was marked by hiding from the Sri Lankan Army and living in difficult conditions. Nevertheless, she treasured her early years in Jaffna.

Maya attended Catholic convent schools, where the war posed constant dangers, with soldiers even targeting their school. In search of safety, her mother relocated the family to India, where they endured precarious circumstances.

In 1986, seeking refuge, they returned to London, while her father worked as an independent peace mediator. Growing up on the Phipps Bridge Estate in south London, she learned English and faced racial tensions as one of the few Asian families in the area.

Her mother converted to Christianity and worked as a seamstress, including sewing for the Royal Family. Maya had a complex relationship with her father due to his political involvement and absence in her life.

She attended Ricards Lodge High School in Wimbledon and later gained admission to Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, where she graduated in 2000 with a degree in fine art, film, and video.

M I A Net Worth

Career

Visual Art and Film

While studying at Central St Martins College, Arulpragasam focused on creating realistic art and films that were widely accessible. She wanted to offer a different perspective from what she saw among her peers and in the curriculum. She found the fashion courses at the college more contemporary and engaging than her film studies.

Arulpragasam was inspired by “radical cinema,” drawing from the works of Harmony Korine, Dogme 95, and Spike Jonze. She even caught the attention of director John Singleton with her script, leading to a film project offer, which she declined.

She made friends across various departments, including fashion, advertising, and graphics. Collaborating with Justine Frischmann, she created the cover art for Elastica’s 2000 album and documented their American tour.

In 2001, she started a documentary in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, focusing on Tamil youth. However, she couldn’t complete it due to harassment. Her London exhibition in 2001 at the Euphoria Shop mixed graffiti art with themes of urban life and consumerism. This exhibition earned her a nomination for an Alternative Turner Prize, and actor Jude Law was one of the early buyers of her art.

Musical Beginnings and “Arular”

M.I.A.’s musical journey started in the late 1980s when she listened to radio broadcasts from her neighbors, exposing her to early influences like hip-hop and dancehall. She admired the rawness of artists like Public Enemy and the unique styles of acts like Silver Bullet. Her college years introduced her to punk, Britpop, and electroclash, with influences from The Slits and The Clash.

In 2001, she designed Elastica’s single cover and toured with them, where electroclash artist Peaches encouraged her to explore music. While on a Caribbean vacation, she began experimenting with music using the Roland MC-505 and adopted the stage name “M.I.A.” as a tribute to her missing cousin and Acton, London.

Back in West London, she started collaborating with a basic setup, creating a demo tape featuring tracks like “Lady Killa,” “M.I.A.,” and “Galang.”

In 2003, “Galang” gained attention and made M.I.A. an underground sensation through file sharing, college radio airplay, and popularity in clubs. She signed with XL Recordings in 2004, leading to her debut album, “Arular.”

Her 2004 single “Sunshowers” explored themes of guerrilla warfare and asylum-seeking, with its music video shot in the jungles of South India. “Galang” was also re-released, and both singles received critical acclaim.

M.I.A. made her North American debut in 2005, performing songs that were already popular among concertgoers. “Arular,” released in March 2005, addressed topics like the Iraq War and life in London, earning critical praise. Singles like “Galang,” “Sunshowers,” “Hombre,” and “Bucky Done Gun” received attention, even airplay in Brazil. She embarked on an extensive tour, garnering accolades for “Arular.”

“Kala” and Global Recognition

In 2006, M.I.A. started working on her second album, “Kala,” which she named after her mother. Due to visa issues, she recorded it in various places around the world. She blended live instruments with electronic dance sounds, incorporating traditional dance styles, rave music, and bootleg Tamil film music. The album explored themes like immigration politics and personal relationships.

“Kala” produced hits like “Boyz” and the satirical “Paper Planes,” which became commercially successful and earned her a Grammy nomination. M.I.A. received critical acclaim, performed at music festivals worldwide, and collaborated on projects, including a documentary with Spike Jonze.

In 2008, she launched her independent record label, N.E.E.T. Recordings, signed artists, and announced her pregnancy. Despite plans to take a break, she created the Oscar-nominated song “O… Saya” for “Slumdog Millionaire,” making history as the first person of Asian descent with simultaneous Oscar and Grammy nominations.

Maya

At the 2009 BRIT Awards, M.I.A. received a nomination for Best British Female Artist. She used her N.E.E.T. label to promote emerging artists like Blaqstarr, Sleigh Bells, and visual artist Jaime Martinez.

In 2009, she started working on her third album, “Maya,” recording it in her Los Angeles home studio. In 2010, she released a video for “Space” and collaborated with Christina Aguilera on “Elastic Love.” The controversial video for “Born Free” stirred some controversy.

“Maya,” released in June 2010, marked a stylistic shift, incorporating industrial elements. The first single, “XXXO,” achieved success in multiple countries. M.I.A. directed videos and collaborated on projects, including Rye Rye’s “Bang.”

In December 2010, she released the mixtape “Vicki Leekx” and followed up with an EP, “Internet Connection: The Remixes,” in January 2011. She remained active with collaborations and paid tribute to Amy Winehouse with the song “27” in July 2011.

Matangi

M.I.A. co-wrote the song “Give Me All Your Luvin'” with Madonna and Nicki Minaj for Madonna’s album MDNA. She performed this song during the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show. However, M.I.A.’s gesture during the performance led to a lawsuit by the NFL. M.I.A. defended herself by highlighting the league’s own issues.

Her fourth album, “Matangi,” featured the track “Bad Girls,” which gained significant attention and was nominated for major awards. In 2012, she signed with Roc Nation management and collaborated with Jay-Z at the Radio 1 Festival.

M.I.A. also released an autobiographical book in October 2012, which included her artwork and essays. “Matangi” was recorded in various locations around the world with different collaborators. The album was released in November 2013 after some delays and controversies. It received positive reviews but faced challenges on the Billboard charts.

On New Year’s Eve in 2013, M.I.A. announced she was leaving Roc Nation.

AIM and Matangi/Maya/M.I.A

In July 2015, M.I.A. released a five-minute video called “Matahdatah Scroll 01 Broader Than a Border.” This video included songs from her “Matangi” album like “Warrior,” and a new song, “Swords.” It was filmed in India and West Africa, showing various dance styles from these regions.

In November 2015, she brought out “Borders” as a single. The song discussed global refugee issues, and its self-directed video highlighted the struggles of refugees fleeing conflict zones.

In early 2016, M.I.A. released “Boom ADD,” an extended version of “Boom Skit” from “Matangi.” She used this song to address the lawsuit from the NFL over her performance at Super Bowl XLVI. Then, in September 2016, she released her fifth studio album, “AIM.” She followed this with the song “P.O.W.A” in February 2017.

The documentary film “Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.” was released in 2018. It’s about her rise to fame and her activism during the Sri Lankan Civil War. Directed by Steve Loveridge, the film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won awards. It was later shown in theaters in the U.K. and the U.S. The film’s digital release included the music video for “Reload,” an unreleased track from her “Arular” album.

Mata

In January 2020, M.I.A. started a Patreon page to fund her upcoming music and shared that her new album was almost finished. In March 2020, she released “OHMNI 202091,” her first song in three years, indicating that an album was expected later that year.

On September 9, she released a new track called “CTRL” on her website. Later in the same month, she worked with Young Thug on Travis Scott’s single “Franchise.” This song reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming M.I.A.’s first chart-topping single.

In November 2021, M.I.A. announced her sixth album, “Mata,” describing it as a personal reflection and representation of her goals.

Also in November 2021, she released “Babylon” and reissued her 2010 mixtape “Vicki Leekx.” Both were sold as NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) to support the Courage Foundation. The “Babylon” music video included footage from M.I.A.’s early life.

In May 2022, M.I.A. debuted “The One,” the lead single from “Mata,” on The Zane Lowe Show. The second single, “Popular,” along with its music video, was released in August 2022. The album “Mata” was officially released on October 14, 2022.

Social Causes

Activism

M.I.A. is known for her vocal stance on the mistreatment of Sri Lankan Tamils, a cause close to her heart due to her own experiences as a refugee during her childhood.

She frequently uses social media platforms to highlight human rights violations in Sri Lanka. She focuses on the government’s actions, censorship, and propaganda related to the civil war. As one of the few Tamil figures in Western media, she feels a sense of duty to represent the Tamil minority.

Her activism has led to negative reactions, including hate mail and death threats. These experiences have influenced her music, particularly in her album “Maya.” Additionally, M.I.A. has raised concerns about how video game violence might affect young people.

She has also been critical of news corporations and search engines, questioning their role in shaping news and public information. M.I.A. advocates for the importance of having alternative news sources and supports the concept of internet freedom.

Anti-Vaccination and Anti-5G

M.I.A. has made controversial statements about COVID-19 vaccines, expressing that she would prefer not to take a COVID-19 vaccine. Her concern, she clarified, is primarily about profit-driven companies rather than the vaccines themselves. She has also commented on the conspiracy theory that connects 5G technology to COVID-19, although scientific consensus dismisses this theory.

Politics

M.I.A. has endorsed political candidates and causes, including her support for Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in UK elections. She has voiced criticism of government responses to events like the UK riots and austerity measures.

She is a strong supporter of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, even composing the theme for Assange’s television show and advocating for his cause. Additionally, she has called for the renunciation of President Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Media

M.I.A. has had a challenging relationship with certain media outlets, feeling they’ve treated her unfairly due to sexism and racism. She once openly criticized The New York Times for publishing an article about her that she found negative. To address this, she turned to social media to engage her followers and discuss the issue.

Philanthropy

M.I.A. is actively involved in charitable work. She supports numerous humanitarian efforts, such as:

  1. Funding projects in African regions affected by war.
  2. Building schools in Liberia to help educate children.
  3. Donating money to cancer research and supporting children with cancer.
  4. Helping refugees through advocacy and support.
  5. Assisting victims of war crimes and survivors of genocide in Sri Lanka.

Legacy

M.I.A. has left an enduring impact on music culture, standing out for her provocative and unconventional approach. Her record artwork, videos, and lyrics pushed boundaries, creating an enigmatic and unpredictable image. She skillfully played with stereotypes, defying conventions.

Her talent for channeling displacement into creative expression earned acclaim. Her early albums, “Arular” and “Kala,” disrupted the sanitized portrayal of violence in Western music. “Kala” influenced contemporary hip-hop, with M.I.A. seen as a precursor to “fashion-rap” acts.

While facing criticism for her “radical chic” and art school background, advocates like Robert Christgau argued that her experiences uniquely connected her to global issues such as poverty. Her work challenged perceptions and continues to have a significant influence in the realms of music and art.

Personal Life

M.I.A.’s romantic journey included a relationship with DJ Diplo, whom she met in 2003 at London’s Fabric Club. They were together for five years.

Between 2006 and 2008, M.I.A. lived in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, where she met Benjamin Bronfman. Benjamin, part of the Bronfman and Lehman banking families, became her partner. They got engaged, and in February 2009, M.I.A. gave birth to their son, Ikhyd Edgar Arular Bronfman, just three days after her Grammy Awards performance. Unfortunately, the couple announced their separation in February 2012.

M.I.A. was raised as a Hindu, but in a surprising turn, she revealed in a 2022 interview that in 2017, she became a born-again Christian after having a vision of Jesus Christ.

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