The New Music Business: Oprah’s Drummer Madame Gandhi on Feminism and Music Video Budgets

By Ari Herstand for The New Music Business Podcast

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Today’s guest is with Madame Gandhi (birth name Kiran Gandhi). She’s an incredibly inspiring person, an activist, and feminist. She started her career drumming for M.I.A., Thievery Corporation, and recently embarked on Oprah Winfrey’s Vision 2020 tour. Gandhi is also a recording artist and speaker. She also holds an MBA from Harvard University. We talk about release strategy, how she creates her music and high production value music videos as an independent artist.

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2:25 – Madame Gandhi’s tour with Oprah Winfrey.
7:00Kiran getting her MBA and how she did it with her touring schedule.
8:50 – Kiran’s Indian heritage and culture.
15:12 – When Kiran Gandhi came up with the name and project Madame Gandhi.
18:04 – What Madame Gandhi thinks an activist is.
19:30 – How Kiran chooses which companies/brands to work with.
27:15 – Switching sides: Going from employee to employer and what the responsibilities are like.
31:10 – How often Madame Gandhi does high production music videos.
31:46 – Staying healthy on the road and when you’re away from home.
33:28 – Madame Gandhi’s viral moment running the London Marathon.
36:27 – The ‘Visions’ EP’s story.
38:04 – Madame Gandhi’s creation process – is there a lot of collaboration? What DAW Madame Gandhi uses.
41:50 – Maintaining Gandhi’s sound and why her drumming skills are vital when writing music.
43:33 – Gandhi’s independent career and why she hasn’t signed to a major label.
47:20 – How many shows Gandhi has performed as Madame Gandhi.
48:20 – The independent musician hustle – Gandhi’s Instagram strategy and understanding your brand.
56:40 – The release strategy for Madame Gandhi and the thought process behind her methods.
59:30 – Remaining close to the original message of the song when creating music videos and visuals.
1:01:38 – What it means to Madame Gandhi to make it in the new music business.