New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) Madame Gandhi has seen talented women being questioned, silenced and overlooked simply because of their gender, and felt belittled because of the same. The multi-talented artiste feels we have to "press mute on lyrics or visual imagery that perpetuate stereotypes about women, girls and LGBTQIA+ folks".
"It has largely been due to gender. That is why gender liberation and personal power are such deep themes in my work," Kiran Gandhi, known onstage as Madame Gandhi, told IANS while opening up about her struggle with stereotypical attitudes.
"I have felt quieted because I identify as female. I have felt small. I have seen other women who are richly talented in their work be questioned, silenced or overlooked simply because the way we understand communication is so masculine, aggressive and loud. May we all be so self-aware as to dive into the power of those who have so much to say but are often erased," added the Los Angeles-based electronic artiste, who has come out with her single "Waiting for me".
Asked how have things changed for women in the music industry, she said: "I only work with women and other queer folks. This is our biggest power. Keep putting each other on fearlessly, instead of aspiring to standards that were never designed for us!"
She feels everyone has a role to play when it comes to eliminating normalised misogyny.
"We have to change the channel or press mute on lyrics or visual imagery that perpetuate stereotypes about women, girls and LGBTQIA+ folks that hold us down! This trains the industry and the algorithms that we demand better and we will not listen to music that oppresses us! We live in a capitalist society, so moving our spending power elsewhere has hugely effective ramifications," she said.
With her roots tracing back to India, Madame Gandhi uses her music to focus on female empowerment and fourth-wave feminism. Her music is a blend of thought-provoking activism and non-binary gender views, and is embedded with cross-cultural influences.
"I have embraced my Indian roots by celebrating colour, fashion, style, and especially the fierceness of Indian women and queer folks! I am using the global platform. I have to shed light on these joyful aspects of my South Asian heritage," said the music producer, who grew up between Mumbai and New York.
Now, she has come out with her first-ever video shot in India "Waiting for me", released on Vh1 India. Through the song, she chronicles her upbringing in India. Conceptualised and produced by an all-female team, the video features queer, trans, female and gender non-conforming cast members.
Talking about the song, she said: "In this song, I explore personal and collective power! We move from the oppressed individual to the empowered collective! I had a deeply powerful and collaborative experience with the team, who worked to bring this piece to life. We are daily in communication on WhatsApp and Facetime, ironing out every detail, discussing every choice. It has been one of the best experiences of my life, and it allows me to know that healthy, major scale productions are possible!"
"I am dying to hear what my Indian audience receives from this video! I hope more radical art continues to be made, allowing all of us to question systems that no longer work for us," she added.
(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)