The singer talked about the political nature of her songs while discussing her new album, ‘Matangi’, on the US TV show The Colbert Report last night (November 20).
Asked by Colbert about her decision to combine dance music with serious lyrics, MIA said she was surprised that American fans found the mix unsettling. “I was inspired by a lot of US artists like Bob Dylan, Public Enemy,” she said. “When I put out my first song and came to America I thought you guys were used to it already. I didn’t realise it was so shocking.”
MIA has become renowned for her political activism and commentary. Speaking to NME last week, she discussed the inspiration behind ‘Matangi’ as well as her relationship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who she describes as “one of the smartest people I know”.
Talking about Assange, who is living inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces allegations of sexual assault, MIA says: “That’s kind of how they get you these days. It’s your character. They don’t actually assassinate you like they used to in the ’70s. It’s not necessary these days.”
Assange himself also contributed a quote to the interview. Asked how he would describe his friend MIA, he replied via email, to say: “She’s the world’s loudest and finest rapping and dancing megaphone for the truth.”
Meanwhile, you can can watch the latest instalment in NME’s video interview with MIA, in which she says she wants people to know she’s “proud” about having to go to court in order to come back to England. You can watch the interview above.