M.I.A. Talks 'Matangi' Doc, Conflict & Chaos on 'Daily Show': Watch
M.I.A. didn't realize the biopic Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. was about the three distinct sides of her personality until after she watched it. "It's kind of weird because it's backwards, because I discovered the meaning of Matangi later on," the "Paper Planes" rapper told Trevor Noah on The Daily Show on Tuesday night (Sept. 25) about the journey of discovery she went on watching the movie about her life that will hit theaters on Friday (Sept. 28).
"The first 10 years I spent in Sri Lanka that's what I was called. The next 10 years my name was Maya, but it was made up -- it's a fake name -- but it's nice because it means 'illusion,' so it kind of worked out." The controversial singer opened the interview by asking Noah if he was sure he really wanted her on his show, but then appeared to appreciate his thoughtful question about what it felt like to be a refugee fleeing the violence of a civil war in her home country only to land in a new home to face anti-immigrant sentiment.
"Conflict is, like, the subject matter there," she said of how that drama has impacted her music. "People say it's chaos but it's not. It's conflict and conflations." And that conflict has played out often in the singer's career, as Noah noted that her unabashed political statements and push back at the boxes the music industry has tried to put her in could potentially turn off some fans. M.I.A. describes a scene in the film - which won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival -- in which she listens to Bob Dylan and then draws a through line from Dylan's anti-Vietnam War sentiments to the political statements in hip-hop and her own outspoken stance. "I just felt that it was an extension and it's possible to be political."
Watch the interview and the movie's trailer below.