The lightning-bulb moment came when she learned that her birth name is derived from “Matangi,” a Hindu goddess who represents the expression of inner knowledge, including art and music.
“Suddenly it was like, ‘OK, I’m going to make this album for Matangi,’” she says. “I found a whole new way of looking at [music] — somebody saying it’s so important they made a goddess for it who protected the meaning of music, the frequencies, the sonics. To learn about that and take it out of the context I’m in, it was pretty dope. It’s making music without treating it as a business or as a game or as a competition.”
Largely produced by longtime collaborator Switch, “Matangi” contains its share of wobbly dance songs, but compared with the bleary-eyed rave sound of “/\/\ /\ Y /\,” it’s downright serene. “Sexodus” is a swirling R&B track that samples the Weeknd’s “Lonely Star,” while sing-songy single “Come Walk With Me” was given an animated music video starring various Hindu deities.
The road to the album’s release on Interscope has been riddled with delays, and M.I.A. notes that a handful of the songs were recorded “a long time ago,” months before she threatened to leak the album herself in August. “In order to lose and find yourself as an artist, you have to abandon your team,” she says of her mind-set at the time. “I went off to do my thing.”
“I’m happy that I made it before the shit storm with court dates and stuff like that,” M.I.A. says. “It helps me cope. I was playing it going, ‘Thank God I didn’t write it right now, because I would have gone into the studio and said a bunch of crazy shit.’ It was nice to have something very calm and relaxing.”
Via @ Billboard.com