Kiran Gandhi is an electronic music producer, drummer, artist and activist with a Harvard MBA. She is also known by her stage name, Madame Gandhi. Having gained recognition as the former drummer for both M.I.A. and Kehlani — and also as the iconic free-bleeding runner at the 2015 London Marathon — Kiran writes music that elevates and celebrates the female voice.
Describe your self-care ritual.
Yoga, transcendental meditation, breathing exercises, a sound bath, chanting, organic natural incense made of palo Santo, applewood and sage — plus lots of pillows and blankets to lounge on.
What are your favorite supplements, herbs and healthy necessities?
Leafy greens, turmeric, ginger, sage, honey, garlic, tomatoes, avocados, berries, walnuts and WATER!
What is one piece of advice you wish you could tell your younger self?
Focus on mastering one thing at a time. You have time.
What does "self-love" mean to you?
Self-love means taking the time to invest in yourself and do something joyful.
How do you take care of yourself on the road?
For mental health I love to surround myself with people who genuinely care about my well-being. My usual tour party includes my best friend Lara, my partner Michelle, and a young up-and-comer in the industry whom I mentor and who also serves as my day-to-day manager, Noor Khan.
"I think it is important for each person to know what they need in order to thrive, and because I am a very sensitive person and need to be surrounded by positivity, keeping my inner circle with me at all times is very important."
In terms of physical health, I enjoy taking time to find the local boxing gym or yoga studio, or finding a 6+ mile run in a city so that I can do that to explore. We also tell the venue well ahead of time to provide raw, cut fruits and vegetables backstage during the day of the show and we refrain from drinking when touring.
Do you use CBD or cannabis for wellness?
I like the occasional hemp milk latte but that's it.
M.I.A. and Kehlani are such interesting, talented women. How is it different creating art with women than men?
I find my partnerships with women artists tend to be more collaborative, uplifting and tend to form a longer lasting bond on an emotional level that I really value. I tend to find that male artists are more comfortable with work or financial exchanges being purely transactional, whereas I find that many women artists I know only want to work or collaborate with people they genuinely love and respect.
We have to ask: what did you learn from bleeding freely at the 2015 London Marathon and what gave you the courage and the idea to do that?
I knew I had a mission to do that day, which was to run a marathon in the way that I felt was most comfortable to my body. To that end, I didn't want to put any foreign object like a tampon in my body and run 26 miles uncomfortably.
"Though I knew it was radical, free bleeding was the best option for me in that moment and it ended up being not only the right and most comfortable option, but also an option that sparked a viral conversation about how we treat menstruation in various cultures. I learned that day that the bravest thing you can do is own your voice and not be afraid."
Editor's notes: interview conducted on October 10, 2018 and edited for length and clarity.