Nimo Gandhi #021
Looking for the Green Stick
In this episode, we throw away the tequila and enjoy Dry January with Actor and Songwriter, Nimo Gandhi as we discuss the local music scene in New York City, the rise of sidewalk cafe’s, and expecting a new music renaissance in the city. Then, we go deeper into tv and movie character roles, acting outside an ethnicity, filming during COVID, and the fun of collaboration. Finally, we talk about acting auditions over zoom and performing with fans over Instagram and Facebook Live.
Events and their venues are the lifeblood for many touring artists. We sat down with one of them, singer-songwriter and actor Nimo Gandhi about the creative ways artists have been trying to reach their audience with the current event closure.
A common thread we have been learning from these interviews have been the previous competitiveness has eased in the industry for collaborative efforts. Here too, Nimo found friends asking him to join a writers group where they met weekly and forced him to write anything to share. “I wasn’t performing obviously and it turned out like after doing about eight weeks of this, I had work. I had a spoken word poem I’d written, and one of the people in the group turned it into an animation video…it just got me connected with some other people who do Instagram live charity events for the Innocence Project.”
Instagram Live got Gandhi performing again as a singer and the writer’s group returned him to his writing, but more than that, he was connecting with creatives and fans in another way and another medium for charity organizations that meant something to him. But the new network was inspiring and motivated further collaboration with peers. Gandhi continues,”Most of the projects I’ve done are one-on-one working with a producer, architecting seven songs and then hiring the band and putting all of that together. It’s almost like having too much control. Whereas with this writer’s collective, you just go in and it’s like improv, you have no idea how they’re going to receive what you did and you don’t know how you’re going to respond to what they did. Inevitably like every session, something valuable would come out for someone…And I have all this work now that came out of it.”
You could find Gandhi singing solo at coffee shops and art galleries around Brooklyn and Queens, sometimes with his band at indoor venues, but with the closing of indoor performances, he has gone to social media for performances, but is hoping New York City will adopt the cafe culture the pandemic has created and bring the musicians to the sidewalks with them, much like the music scene in New Orleans. “When I moved here, there was a scene in the East village. It was a scene, an actual scene down there. And then there was one in Williamsburg later. But I feel like this idea about the sensorial experience of a town and embracing its musicians, it hasn’t been so conducive in America as it has been in Europe or some of the other places. I think recently there’s been more openness, but it could be a real Renaissance period.” The sensorial experience is the experiential marketing of a town or city. You walk its streets and see its architecture, hear musicians, smell fresh food, and taste a signature cocktail. A town can embrace its culture and share it with the simple move of pushing the sounds, smells, and tastes out to the sidewalk where it can be experienced by passersby.
But like most artists, music is a side gig to express Gandhi’s creativity and hone his stage performance. His true focus is as a television and film actor, who has been on multiple commercials, television shows, and movies filmed around the Greater New York area. When asked about how the pandemic has changed his acting process Gandhi explained Zoom became the answer for auditions. Calls for auditions were light until the Fall months, “Then in September, all the auditions started coming because LA and New York opened up again. They were very few shows, but then I got a role actually in a Hulu movie. It was like the second half of the year I was getting auditions and you do them from home with a taping. And anyway, I booked that role and it was like, wow, how they’re going to do this?”
With the shoot scheduled in upstate New York, Gandhi found the whole process to be stop and go. “We would all travel upstate to the shooting location…then the lead got sick…so then we all had to go home and the shoot was shut down for 2 weeks. Then he was better and we all came back upstate to start filming again.” But once filming was ready to roll, Gandhi got to experience the new COVID protocols. “You get tested as soon as you arrive at the hotel, and then you do a rapid test when you’re on the set, and then they give you a colored stick you’re carrying around to be on set. It’s quite a sterile laboratory kind of environment, but they’re getting it done.” Gandhi continues, “If you’re allowed to be on the set, then you’re carrying that…glowy stick from raves. Like green was a go, and there were different colored sticks, but I was basically just looking for a green stick.”
To learn more about the topics discussed during this episode, check out the below: