Not many successful musicians can list a Harvard MBA on their resumé. Kiran Gandhi can. The Los Angeles-based drummer has been able to seamlessly combine her passion for music with her expertise in business and mathematics to land roles as an advisor to several music companies, such as Spotify and Bonnaroo, and as the first digital analyst studying consumption behavior at Interscope Records. All the while, Gandhi — who performs as Madame Gandhi — was developing her own musical career, touring as a drummer for M.I.A. (while in business school!), DJing, and producing her own music. Her “electrofeminist” solo EP, Voices, was critically acclaimed, and her song “The Future is Female” charted on Spotify after the 2017 Women’s March. She is currently working on a full-length album. But Gandhi’s work doesn’t stop there. An activist combatting menstruation stigma, she ran the London Marathon in 2015 while free-bleeding. She travels the world to speak about gender equality. Being queer has impacted her career, she says, in that “my queerness is my source of personal liberation. It is my way of saying I can dress how I want, think how I want, speak how I want, be with whom I want, and live freely.” And that liberation carries over into other aspects of her life, including her work, she says. “It allows me to run faster when I’m training, surf longer, box harder. It allows me to hit notes when I’m singing that I didn’t think I’d be able to get since I didn’t grow up as a singer. When we get out of our own way mentally, we allow ourselves to step into our own personal power.” —SEJ
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