Madame Kiran Ghandi
A few years ago Nat was at a TED Talk and was thoroughly impressed by Kiran Gandhi who is a total badass at just makin’ it work (Instead of choosing between Harvard biz school and touring with M.I.A she did both) and who recently bled freely during a marathon to bring attention to the issue of period stigma around the world (Reminder: you wouldn't be here without em!) During our interview with our other favorite period pioneers, Nat was reminded of Kiran’s talk and in particular her theory of Atomic Living (we think it can be applied to labor quite beautifully- take a listen!). So, between her can-do approach to just about everything, and the new music project, Madame Gandhi, she is currently birthing, we thought this major creator would be the perfect person to sit down with and learn more about how she was born.
so tell us, How were you born?
KG- My mom told me that she and my dad were both staying in a Harvard dorm (they were both in Business school- my dad at Harvard and my mom at Boston University) when her water broke.
BB: Ha - born at Harvard, born again at Harvard. It was meant to be!
KG- She said it was easy, that it’s amazing how the body just completely opens up and then closes. They would shift taking care of me. My dad would go to class in the morning and my mom would go to class at night.
What was the experience of asking about your birth like?
KG- My mom is very matter of fact. If it were me telling the story it would be all emotional, I’d remember small significant details, but it’s just not her style. She was more like “We got to the hospital. Birth was awesome. You popped right out. We had class the next day.” Very much my mom.
BB: It's funny- it sounds like your approach to life mirrors your mom's attitude and the circumstances around how she birthed you- that wanting it all attitude and really special ability to just therefore make it work- going to biz school and touring, being in biz school and having a baby.
KG: Yeah. That's cool. I never thought of it that way. It would have basically been this year that my mom would have given birth to me and I could never imagine giving birth now. They were going to graduate in May and I was born in Feb. of that year.
DId your birth story taught you anything about yourself or your relationships today?
KG- Yes, my mom is always able to find the positive of any situation, and I have definitely learned how to do that, no matter how difficult it can be at times!
When thinking about birth what are the first things that come to mind?
KG- Excitement. Love. Nourishing someone. I like the idea of it a lot. I think it would make me feel righteous, elevated, like I have purpose, that I want to be protective. It definitely excites me. I think it's because my mom was so strong about it. Her saying “Oh yea of course - it's beautiful” makes me feel excited instead of afraid.
Tell us about what you are currently birthing.
I’m birthing my music. I’m moving to LA. It feels very good and I am very excited. My producer is out there and she and I work together really well.
BB: That's Madame Gandhi?
KG: Yea! I call it Madame Gandhi because the notion of a 'madame' is someone who is female, and who is respected for her female qualities; not because she’s trying to become masculine, or hard, or change herself to fit in, but really just being a female leader.
So this is the notion of a 'madame', the idea that you are leading based on your feminine qualities and they should be as valued, loved, and welcomed as we love, value, and welcome male qualities.
Check this out. It’s a meet the band type thing. It’s cool. It’s a clip from when we played this pro-choice party in DC.
What is the connection between the pro-choice movement and your music?
KG: Being able to make and perform music that speaks about gender equality and liberation. I want Madame Gandhi to stand as a project that celebrates women, that celebrates women’s voices, that makes other women feel confident to do whatever they want to do. I feel like everything that is related to women is often so strange and taboo and awkward and I'm so over it. There aren’t that many artists that want to champion women's causes. I don't know why. Maybe because they are trying to work on their own career and many times their careers fall in the hands of men because they are the ones running the industry and so it's difficult to actively forward any gender equality cause.
What’s the labor been like?
Bewildering. It's a great parallel to giving birth. Everyone acts like its so easy and when you actually do it you realize there's a million unknowns - why didn’t they tell us this?!
Theres a lot of finding your own path. There’s no set answer. There are a couple things you can do that are set like "Use this program" or "Upload to Soundcloud", "Post to Facebook." And maybe that’s a parallel to "Going to the hospital", "Finding your Dr." etc. But the actual making of the music, the creative birthing process, is difficult. You have to catch yourself at moments when you are ready to be raw and vulnerable and that’s hard.
My process has been that, when I’m walking around the street and I'm just thinking or singing or whatever, I record it quickly because I know that if I am the studio, that authentic song/melody/lyric wont happen as easily. This allows me to have a sound bank of ideas to build off of when I'm in the studio. Had I not recorded it in it purest form- when it was created from my brain and body, it would be gone. To just come up with something in the studio for the sake of it- it never works. It just sounds shitty.
What gave you the final push to just focus on your music- and to start using your voice?
It was after I ran the marathon and felt lucky to have been given a megaphone to speak. It felt like a gift to be able to have an audience who valued and resonated with my views on gender equality and liberation- so I took this gift and have been running with it ever since. I have written articles, songs and speeches this year that I never thought I'd have the chance to do in a life time.
Any #brilliantbits you want to share?
The heart is a beating drum!