Madame Gandhi is an electronic music artist, singer and activist based in LA. Having gained recognition as the former drummer for M.I.A. and as the iconic free-bleeding runner at the 2015 London Marathon, Madame Gandhi now works to create art that elevates and celebrates the female voice. Her new EP “Voices” was just released here.
London Marathon… How did you train for it?
I signed up for races, almost every month, so that I had the pressure of having to train. A half marathon, a triathlon, a 16 miler and I didn’t tell people because I was not doing it for the competitive benefit. I was doing it for the instilled discipline and because it felt good to work towards something. The other thing I did is I really didn’t drink. It was such a powerful year spent making sure that I was completely without alcohol. Those were the main things I did and I felt really proud of it.
You are super busy, what is your recipe for self care?
I do love my 7 a.m. yoga. I love having full days where we don’t schedule any meetings. I love days when I’ve lost my cellphone because I don’t feel bad about not hitting people back and I feel like I can just focus on the present and my music and writing. When my head is clear, all my thoughts come to the present and I can actually write them down, whereas the majority of the time I’m fielding interactions, meetings, future planning, and that detracts from the very thing that I’m here to do, which is to create inspiring music.
Cannabis and creativity, give us your take.
I really prefer cannabis when I’m about to create something in my studio or just play drums or hours. You hear things on different levels. You hear how different sounds and different melodies interact with each other. Never been much of a smoker, but I will say that if I’m in good company, and I’m with friends who I really love, I’ll always have a little bit. Also it’s really good that we have more liberal views around marijuana because it is something people enjoy and it helps people and it helps anxiety. I just hope that whatever rules and regulations come with it, they actually benefit those who grow it and produce it, and it doesn’t create economic burdens for those involved in that part of the supply chain.
What leadership advice do you have for young women?
To young women, I would say we’re socialized to apologize all the time. Before we speak, we often say, “Sorry.” “I’m so sorry, but can I have this?” “I’m so sorry, can I say my opinion?” instead of delivering it with confidence. The best thing you can do is give your opinion, not for yourself, but as a selfless way to contribute to the larger conversation and stimulate other ideas. The humility of recognizing that, is powerful and something that we don’t think of as young women.
Rikers Island Jail, why are you going there?
Being able to go and visit the young women at Rikers, I feel that I get to learn how they feel, what they want out of life, and why they feel systems of oppression have affected them in the way that they have. I’m looking forward to sharing my passions and my gifts, with the hope of inspiring joy, positivity, and passion in their day to day life. When women see themselves as empowered agents of change, the world becomes a better place. To be a leader of cultural change, you have to be well informed about how the change that you are seeking has the potential to affect all people. Also by learning from these young women, I am more equipped to go back into my line of work and make a difference more effectively.