Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam (born 18 July 1975) better known by her stage name M.I.A., is a British recording artist, songwriter, painter and director. The moniker "M.I.A." is both a play on her own name and a reference to the abbreviation for Missing in Action. Her compositions combine elements of electronic, dance, alternative, hip hop and world music. Arulpragasam began her career in 2000 as a visual artist, filmmaker and designer in west London before beginning her recording career in 2002.