M.I.A. is an artist known for constantly surprising listeners with her sound, and today’s new track is no different. Teaming up with Zayn Malik, M.I.A.’s “Freedun” is the musician at her most low-key and chill—a song she herself describes as “floaty.”
“I made the song a long time ago and it was always too mainstream sounding for me,” M.I.A. told BBC Radio’s Annie Mac. “It just seems like, if I was going to have a collaboration and have someone like Zayn, this is, like, the perfect song. It sort of takes me out of my comfort zone.”
The rapper revealed that she was just returning from the Himayalas where she was shooting a music video for “Freedun.” While it’s unclear whether Malik will also appear in the video or if M.I.A. will even use the footage, we do know there’s an oxygen tank involved. Maybe M.I.A. is taking the “floaty” descriptor literally.
The new single is part of M.I.A.’s upcoming fifth studio album, which she describes as a piece of work born from boredom.
“I came out of a relationship and I had all this time on my hands and nothing to do and all this inspiration. I realized that the last time I was single was 2007 when I wrote Kala,” explains M.I.A. “This record kind of became that. It was just sort of me, you know, finding myself again I guess and coming to terms with what your life is. I think I needed to write the record. It just kinda proves to me that I sometimes need music as well, you know, even though I used music to try to, I don’t know, say something or be there for other people. This time I kinda needed it too.”
Along with “Freedun,” M.I.A. had already released the single and self-directed video for “Borders” back in November, which featured the musician escaping war zones with refugees. She also dropped the single “Go Off” this past July, complete with a music video showing explosions throughout a rocky terrain. In August, she dropped the soaring single “Bird Song.”
In addition to Malik’s vocals, A.I.M. also features production from Skrillex, Diplo and Blaqstarr.
A.I.M. is set to be released on September 9.