What It Takes to Be Madame Gandhi

In today’s hectic, social media-driven world, the percussionist asks us to look inward in her latest album Visions — and succeeds.

Snigdha Sur

October 31, 2019

What It Takes to Be Madame Gandhi
(Maggie West)

When Madame Gandhi’s “Waiting for Me” opens, you can’t help but think of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s sampled speech on Beyonce’s “Flawless.” But Madame Gandhi, former M.I.A. percussionist and solo artist, is sampling her own words: “We always assume our own powerlessness but never our own power.” What does it look like to find power within yourself? The very first song in Gandhi’s second album, Visions, sets the tone to answer this question: it looks inward and forces us to examine ourselves in a world overrun with social media and signs of external progress. Sometimes, it’s about shutting out the world and, well, focusing.

“This has been a big scene for me in all aspects of my life, which is looking inward in order to reimagine a better future outward, and what did that mean for my own personal goals and mental health and wellness and relationships and love and career,” Gandhi told The Juggernaut. “For the activist side of things, I'm looking inward to say, ‘Well, what is it that I want to lead outward? What do I want people to aspire towards? What do I want for our world?’” 

In Visions, Gandhi goes several layers deeper than her mission to elevate and celebrate the female voice. One of the biggest problems of our social media-driven world is that others often see the end result of one’s journey, and miss the difficult moments in between that led to that point. Visions is an ode to the precious time people need to create, to build, to fight.