M.I.A. returned to work for her first show since giving birth to her son in February.
The Sri Lankan rapper performed on the main stage at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., on Saturday. Decked out in Day-Glo with a No Limit Records T-shirt, acid-washed jeans, sneakers, and sunglasses, she ran through selections from both of her albums, including “Galang,” “Pull Up the People,” “Bingo,” “XR2,” and “Boyz,” during the glow-in-the-dark set.
“Thanks for having me on the main stage,” M.I.A. told concertgoers at her first gig since the Grammys. “They tried to make me do the Oscars, I said no, no, no. They tried to make me do the Oscars, I said no, no, no!” she sang in reference to Amy Winehouse, whom she filled in for after the troubled singer pulled out last month. M.I.A. had been invited to perform “O… Saya,” her Oscar-nominated song from Slumdog Millionaire, at this year’s Academy Awards.
The new mother referred to her 2-month-old son Ikhyd several times during the evening. “My baby’s waiting,” she said, while infant cries echoed over the music. It was a family affair as her fiancé Benjamin Brewer ushered fans off stage following a “stage invasion,” where the audience was invited to join her during a rousing rendition of “Bird Flu.”
Since performing last year at Coachella, M.I.A. has amassed mainstream success, even receiving a Grammy and Oscar nomination (“I want to let you know just ’cause I did the Grammys, it doesn’t mean I’ve gone all sold out”). But as she closed with her chart-topping hit “Paper Planes,” she told fans that she preferred the previous year’s smaller stage. “Next time I’m back in the tent. I prefer feeling the sweat.”