Shani Gandhi: Empowering Women in Audio Engineering

Shani Gandhi: The Australian Visionary Behind Nashville's Hit Records

In the vast, echoing halls of Nashville’s music scene, Shani Gandhi stands as a beacon of inspiration and talent. A native of Perth, Australia, Gandhi’s journey to becoming a celebrated music producer, engineer, and mixer is a story of passion, resilience, and unwavering dedication to her craft.

Early Beginnings and Bold Moves

Shani Gandhi’s love for music began in her hometown of Perth. With an ear for intricate sounds and a heart set on creating music, she made the bold decision to move to Ithaca, New York, in 2007.

Pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree at Ithaca College was the first step in her remarkable journey. This move not only broadened her musical horizons but also set the stage for her future in the bustling music industry of Nashville.

Rising in Nashville

Nashville, known for its rich musical heritage, became Shani Gandhi’s new home and playground. Her career in this vibrant city has seen her collaborating with some of the industry’s most respected producers, including Gary Paczosa, Michael Wagener, Neal Cappellino, and Marshall Altman.

These collaborations have been instrumental in shaping her career, providing her with opportunities to work on diverse projects and hone her skills.

Gandhi’s talent and dedication soon led her to engineer and mix albums for legendary artists such as Alison Krauss & Union Station, George Jones & The Smoky Mountain Boys, Kelsea Ballerini, Sarah Jarosz, Parker Millsap, and Sierra Hull. Each project showcased her versatility and keen ear for detail, solidifying her reputation as a top-tier music professional.

Breaking Barriers with Kelsea Ballerini

One of Gandhi’s notable achievements came in 2015 when she mixed three songs on Kelsea Ballerini’s platinum-certified album “The First Time.”

Among these tracks was “Peter Pan,” a song that not only received platinum certification but also topped the Billboard US Country Airplay and US Hot Country Songs Charts simultaneously. This accomplishment highlighted Gandhi’s exceptional ability to bring out the best in the music she works on, setting a new standard in the industry.

Grammy Recognition and Beyond

The pinnacle of Shani Gandhi’s career came in 2017 when she received a Grammy Award for Best Folk Album as an engineer for Sarah Jarosz’s “Undercurrent.” This accolade was a testament to her technical prowess and dedication to her craft.

Furthermore, she was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, alongside Gary Paczosa, for the same album. This recognition placed Gandhi among the elite in the music production world, proving that her skills were on par with the best in the industry.

In 2020, Shani Gandhi’s excellence was once again acknowledged with a Grammy nomination for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, as an engineer for Sierra Hull’s “25 Trips.” These accolades reflect not only her technical expertise but also her ability to consistently deliver exceptional work across different musical genres.

Thriving in a Male-Dominated Industry

Shani Gandhi’s success is even more remarkable given the male-dominated nature of the music production industry. According to Women’s Audio Mission, less than 5% of the professionals in audio engineering are women.

Gandhi’s journey has not been without its challenges. She has faced discrimination and preconceived notions, often being mistaken for a personal assistant rather than a skilled engineer.

However, Gandhi’s response to these challenges is nothing short of inspirational. “If they’re going to hold me to a higher standard because I’m young and a female, that’s fine with me,” she says. “Hold me to a higher standard. I’ll meet you there.” This mindset has driven her to excel and break barriers, proving that talent and dedication know no gender.

Also Read:Anand Yankarran: The Musical Prodigy and Chutney Pioneer

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