M.I.A. was born to Sri Lankan parents in London, England, in 1975. She got her start in the arts as a graphic artist and filmmaker before transitioning into music and releasing her first single, "Galang," in 2003. With each subsequent release, M.I.A. further climbed the charts with her danceable yet message-driven music, and in 2009 a song she co-wrote for the film Slumdog Millionaire was nominated for an Oscar. With her fingers in many pies, M.I.A. started her own record label, N.E.E.T., and when not releasing mixtapes and remixes stays busy with her philanthropic work.