M.I.A. is no longer MIA. In fact, the British rapper is officially making her powerful return with a brand new song called “The One,” released Thursday (May 26) — and she also announced that her sixth studio album is on its way at last.
Her first release since 2020, “The One” marks the beginning of an era of M.I.A.’s music that’s much happier and more spiritual than what she’s done in the past. “I was in a really happy place,” she told Apple Music 1’s Zane Lowe of the new track. “And I know that it was the pandemic, and kind of everything was hitting the fan, but I’d got to a place that was really happy. I did want to make that nice, happy record.”
“In a way, it’s kind of rebellious,” the 46-year-old producer continued, explaining that people typically expect her to release songs that are as chaotic and sad as those on her 2007 album Kala. “It’s about the battle of the ego versus you finding yourself and you finding the spiritual leader. Spirituality within, whatever form is given to you. I think that’s really interesting, when you think everything, you get challenged by the universe. And that happened to me. Really I’m just here to share that.”
Along with the new track comes the announcement that M.I.A.’s first studio album since 2016’s AIM is coming soon, though no release date has yet been revealed. It is, however, confirmed that the record will be titled MATA, and the “Paper Planes” artist will release it with her new record label, Island Records. The artist teased that like “The One,” her new album is a bit of a battle.
“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 told Lowe of MATA. “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 through gospel or something. For me, it was like to have that journey, and also, it was a significant time to discuss like Islamophobia … talking about wars in the Middle East, and things like that.”
Stream M.I.A.’s new single “The One” below: