M.I.A., one of the coolest and most revolutionary artists of her generation, has had a spiritual transformation. In a conversation with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam said that she had a vision of Jesus in 2017 that convinced her to become a Christian.
Since then, my head has been in a totally different place. Being a Tamil and being a Hindu, I was very comfortable that I’d arrived finding myself. Which is, I think, going to be weird for America to process. But I had a vision and I saw the vision of Jesus Christ. It’s very, creatively, it’s a very crazy thing because it turned my world upside down. Because everything I thought and believed was no longer the case. And I think that was maybe a sign that something major was going to happen in the world and that people were needing to be introduced to this concept. But I always found the concept of Christianity quite basic compared to… wow, this is gonna be shocking if people go, “Maya calls Christianity ‘basic.'”
Lowe then interrupts her and says, “I think people are going to be more focusing on the fact that, I think, and, correct me if I’m wrong, you’re saying that you’re a born-again Christian now.”
She confirms that that is the case.
I am. I’m not going to lie. Then when I had this vision, it turned my world upside down. I kind of couldn’t let go of the Tamil side. I think that’s why 50% of the record is sort of like that. Because I’m still me. That’s still my language. And those are still my tools to be able to create beats like that or a sound like that. But I think the message was just to get to a peaceful place. Watch the space. The history is, even if it costs me my career, I won’t lie. I will tell the truth, and I will tell you what’s on my mind and my heart. If I’m coming back now saying Jesus is real, there’s a point. Basically all of my fans might turn against me.
M.I.A. was born in London to Sri Lankan Tamil parents who raised her as a Hindu. Throughout her career, she has become a global icon for refugees. In addition to championing the cause of Sri Lankan Tamil like herself, she has also been an advocate for justice for Black Americans and Palestinians living in Israel’s West Bank. Her work has attracted so much attention that U.S. has restricted her access in and out of the country.
M.I.A.’s new album MATA will release soon. You can listen to the first single “The One” below.