M.I.A. says she’s taking a break from music: “I have to find another way”

The British artist expressed frustration with music industry “censorship” during an interview on Canadian radio.

October 10, 2018
M.I.A. says she’s taking a break from music: “I have to find another way” M.I.A. attends the UK Premeire of MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A at The Curzon Mayfair on September 19, 2018 in London, England.   Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty

M.I.A. has said that she is no longer interested in releasing new music as she feels her music is being "buried" and she can't speak about the issues that matter to her. The artist, whose most recent album AIM was released in 2016, spoke about her concerns over censorship from the music industry to Canadian radio show The House of Strombo. During the interview she said she is “not motivated to put [her music] through the system” as it currently stands. “For me, I have to find another way."

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“For 15 years, I had to fight the battle where I didn’t have a genre… and that became my genre, that I was a mashup of many genres…I just don’t exist like that," she said. “Sometimes it’s just ’cause I’m an outsider that doesn’t fit in with the diversity of America…all of that is just not digestible.” She later added “If I want to be bigger, I kind of have to say nothing.”

M.I.A. admitted that one form of political dissent in her music would be accepted: “I might have to make an anti-Trump record, but if I make anything else, it’s not going to wash…But if I want to talk about Tamil women wearing uniforms and eating cyanide pills because they didn’t want to be raped by the Sri Lankan army…I know that both of these extremes of women exist.”

Later in the interview she went on to claim that the music industry has sidelined her because of her political views. “I have been pushed out for five years or something, and I haven’t been able to successfully release a record at all within this system…Or get my voice heard in terms of the Tamil plight, or get credit for anything I did. That’s been completely erased. And people know, but no one is allowed to say it. Everyone says ‘you have a platform,’ but what do they mean? Because my records are buried because of the labeled issues with me.”

Check out the full interview below. M.I.A. documentary MATANGI/MAYA/M.I.A. was released last month. Read a review of the film here.

M.I.A. says she’s taking a break from music: “I have to find another way”