MIA’s 20 Sharpest Quotes

MIA’s back with a new single, with rumours of a new album on the horizon. 2013’s ‘Matangi’ was a vicious, vibrant electro-weirdness party, so we can’t wait to hear what’s in store this time. Till then, here’s some of the pop agitator’s most memorable soundbites on life, politics and shitty reality TV…


On that video for ‘Born Free’: “I did nine hours of phone interviews yesterday and all anyone wanted to know about was the meaning of the video. It completely baffles me that everyone seems obsessed with deciphering the meaning to it, in the same way as the Brick Lane riot for American Apparel leggings baffled me.”


Also on that video: “If I’m honest, I find the new Justin Bieber video more violent and more of an assault to my eyes and senses than what I’ve made.”

M.I.A., T.I., Lil Wayne, Jay Z

On too much fame: “When I woke up in hospital after giving birth there were four people standing over me on cellphones. One said: ‘I’ve got the Oscars here and they need to know right now whether you’re going to perform’.”



On other wannabe stars: “I feel there’s even more artists coming through that are willing to do anything for fame. That’s got worse.”


On her decision to ditch party music for the third album: “I saw firsthand where the music we made ended up. It turned up in sterile bullshit clubs in LA, seperated from the spirit we made it in.”


On serial producers: “They’re making 100 tunes a day for all these pop stars now. Those guys are like ‘Yeah yeah yeah, I got beats all day, maaan. Hey, Christina, sure. Oh yeah, MIA? Whatever’. I’m like, fuck all that shit.”


On dealing with her issues: “Don’t worry, I’m not going to become a suicide bomber and fly into Chase Tower. That’d be aiming low. It’d be the Federal Reserve bank.”



On the future of music: “I’m not sure, but music now should be like sonic massage. You want to really feel it, internally. The police should use sound cannons at public protests that explode people’s insides with a single note – human beings have to come up with the opposite of that.”


On Lady Gaga: “She models herself on Grace Jones and Madonna, but the music sounds like 20-year-old Ibiza disco, you know? She’s not progressive, but she’s a good mimic. She sounds more like me than I fucking do!”


On the internet: “Google’s more powerful than any government now – people think it’s God. They’re storing all our data and one day they’re going to turn against us.”


On The X Factor: “I’m so bored of it already. People need to get over it, (The) X Factor shit’s irrelevant. I totally would’ve flopped on it. Are you serious?!”



On selling out: “When I did my ‘selling out’ show for MTV they paid me a hundred grand and I built a school with it in Africa.”


On terrorism: “You can’t separate the world into two parts like that, good and evil. Terrorism is a method, but America has successfully tied all these pockets of independence struggles, revolutions, and extremists into one big notion of terrorism.”


On the music of Africa: “We have all these preconceived ideas of a kid in Africa…dudes in their African cloths singing under a tree with a stick, you know, and it’s not like that. It’s way more progressive. It’s way more progressive than music in the West.”


On the Third World: “The Third World deserves freedom of speech just like everyone else. We want to fight the battle to say what we want, whether to be serious or just make fun of ourselves. That’s what ‘Worldtown’ is about, that’s what ‘Paper Planes’ is about. It’s what people in the third world live through.”


On punk: “‘I came at the end of punk. It had trickled down, like culture eventually does, from the inner cities. Spitting on the street was normal and acceptable and I took the brunt of it. My friends in Britpop talk about how important their first punk album was. But beer spat in my face aged seven: that’s how I got introduced to punk.”


On her move to the West Coast rap scene: “I’m glad I went that far into it. I was the best hoochie on the West Coast at the time. I had the best clothes ‘cos I was coming from England and really good at shoplifting. I had Versace on before Lil’ Kim started rapping about it ‘cos the only place I could steal at was Harvey Nicks, where it was sooo easy.”


On nutrition on the cheap: “In Britain no one can afford to live. You know how miserable bad food makes you? I found that out in Notting Hill when I discovered the secret of how rich people feed organic chicken to their cats. I was like, ‘Your cat has got better skin than me ‘cos I eat fucking trash chicken from the petrol station’.”