In a recent article in the British music magazine, NME, [lastfm]M.I.A.[/lastfm] discusses the direction of the music industry, what’s next for her career, and her adamant dislike of [lastfm]Lady Gaga[/lastfm], [lastfm]Ke$ha[/lastfm] and avoiding the Twilight soundtrack.
It looks like she and our very own Kevin have something in common!
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We live in a time where originality becomes increasingly tougher to come by, and many musical acts are accused of being carbon copies of other acts
In pop music, there’s a limited time frame as to what’s popular, and if you don’t jump on the trend right now, you’re going to miss the boat. Three years after releasing her album, Kala, M.I.A. plans to have a new album out this summer. The time between albums has been spent raising her one-year-old son, Ikhyd, and trying to get back into her native country of Sri Lanka. She has publicly accused the government of genocide and, in retribution, the country has made it difficult for her to return – travel visa applications have gone missing, email and twitter accounts have been hacked, etc.
When asked about whether record labels were still needed, M.I.A. replied, “Are they even interested in making money from music anymore? Gaga plugs 15 things in her new video. Dude, she even plugs a burger! [pullquote quote="Gaga plugs 15 things in her new video. Dude, she even plugs a burger!" credit="M.I.A. in NME magazine, April 2010"]That’s probably how they’re making money now – buying up the burger joint, putting the burger in the video and making loads of burger money.”
She continues later on in response to another question about the effects of TV and internet on the music industry by saying, “Again, there’s Gaga – people say we’re similar, that we both mix all these things in the pot and spit them out differently, but she spits it out exactly the same. None of her music’s reflective of how weird she wants to be or thinks she is.[pullquote quote="None of her music's reflective of how weird she wants to be or thinks she is."] 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 f*cking do! That’s a talent and she’s got a great team behind her, but she’s the industry’s last stab at making itself important – saying ‘You need our money behind you, the endorsements, the stadiums.’ Respect to her, she’s kept a hundred thousand people working, but my belief is you Do It Yourself.”
M.I.A. considers herself to be an artist rather than a performer, and four different people to sing her breakout single, “Galang”, off of her 2004 debut album Arular, before finally deciding to release it as her own demo.
There’s definitely irritation when it comes to studio/label manufactured pop music. In the US, our big talent-search show is American Idol. In the UK, it’s the X Factor. M.I.A. states that she would be terrible on the show. “I’m so bored by it already, people need to get over it. X Factor sh*t’s irrelevant. I’m more concerned by how someone like Ke$ha can so blatantly copy [lastfm]Uffie[/lastfm]. [pullquote quote="I’m more concerned by how someone like Ke$ha can so blatantly copy Uffie. "] Everyone’s fine with it. No f*cking lawsuit in sight.”
The pop music industry is a much tougher genre to tackle with originality. There’s a little bit more freedom in rock and roll. Pop acts are the ones that are more likely to go on giant tours with overpriced tickets so that everyone involved can make their pretty penny.
In regards to the Twilight soundtrack, she was asked to record a song for the soundtrack, but the chairman of Interscope (M.I.A.’s US label), Jimmy Iovine stepped in and shot down the offer since he had beef with the Twilight people. She had no complaints. She did, however, contribute to the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack, for which she was Oscar nominated alongside [lastfm]AR Rahman[/lastfm].
In the future, M.I.A. just hopes to continue to be an artist, whatever “artist” may be. When it comes down to it, if there were ever a fist fight between M.I.A., Lady Gaga and Ke$ha, my money is most definitely on M.I.A.