Personal Struggle in a Global Crisis

Amit Heri

‘Entertainment is the first thing to be cut’

Ask Amit Heri how the recession has affected him and he’ll answer without missing a beat: “fewer corporate gigs.”

Mr Heri, a professional musician who grew up and lives in Bangalore, studied jazz and composition at Boston’s Berklee College of Music on a scholarship. He now composes music for film and theatre and dance productions, but says that before the downturn crashed into India 60 per cent of his income came from performances at corporate events for the likes of Toyota, Google, Dell and other global giants.

“The restriction on travel for corporate executives has affected my income,” he says.

“When there is a money crunch, entertainment is the first thing to be cut.”

His second DVD, Jhoola, or Swing in English, was recently released, but his label is having trouble finding sponsors for an album tour.

Mr Heri says the club gigs are “still rocking”, even though venue owners are only paying about US$500 for an evening’s performance, less than they paid last year.

In a nod to frugality, he has cut back on buying designs by Indian fashion labels, and he and his partner, Tracy, who is an American, are travelling domestically rather than taking trips abroad.

“When you are an artiste, you have to find creative ways to do what you do and adapt to changing times,” says Mr Heri. “You have to stay true to your art, even though art is a luxury and that’s the first thing people will cut.”

* Shoba Narayan

Subscribe to my newsletter