Meet The Power Couple Redefining The Entertainment Landscape Within The Middle East

Winford Hunter

Unless you have been living under a rock for the earlier few weeks, you would have read about the lavish spectacle that happened at the Grand Reveal of Atlantis The Royal’s extremely-luxurious vacation resort in Dubai on January 21. The most talked-about minute was no doubt the more substantial-than-existence Beyoncé performance, with her electrifying return to the phase, the night’s vibrant backdrop and a stunning fireworks display across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) sky.

The unforgettable night was surely a collaboration of quite a few creative minds functioning collectively. Motivated to get the job done with primary entrepreneurial ladies in the Middle East location, Parkwood Leisure, the leisure company started by Beyoncé, partnered with IAM Amusement Founder/CEO Sonal Vara-Parmar. With Sonal now working IAM alongside her Managing Lover Ash Parmar, anyone associated here joined forces to produce this definitely historic celebration.

IAM Amusement credits itself as a house-grown, Dubai-primarily based enterprise, established with the mission to make, evolve and remodel the cultural and industrial hole between the Middle East and the West. Facilitating cross-border collaborations for artist-led enterprises, they are the alchemists building cultural shifts in the Center East throughout reside, Television set & movie productions, endorsements and manufacturer enlargement by means of effective storytelling and immersive experiences.

To entirely value how this ability couple received to where they are nowadays, you have to have to greater understand their skilled journey up to this interesting minute in world leisure.

“Growing up, there was generally foods and audio in the dwelling,” Sonal shares with me, who was born and elevated in Zambia, Africa and is of South-Asian heritage. “Entertainment was a pure route for me to observe – the key A-Record hideaway, The Hempel Lodge in London, was my doorway into the environment of music and entertainment. If you did not start at The Hempel, you did not start at all – was the saying in London in the early 2000’s. As the ‘gatekeeper’ of the hotel, the likes of Elton John, Amy Winehouse, 50 Cent, Usher, Black Eyed Peas and Victoria Beckham would come by way of my doorways with unreleased product and products, inquiring me to curate showcases for them. We when experienced to knock out a complete flooring of walls to host Michael Jackson all through a continue to be again in 2006.”

Sonal adds, “At just one this kind of listening occasion for the album launch of the Black Eyed Peas with Elephunk, I fulfilled a younger govt producer by the name of Venus Brown, who introduced me to the nuances of producing audio and navigating the sector. He would later on go on to come to be the advisor to the Chairman & Head of U.S. Creative for Sony BMG and Founder of Buddah Brown International – and for me, my mentor.”

Immediately after the opening of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, the only 7-star hotel in the world in 1999, Dubai commenced to make its mark and demonstrate to the globe its somewhat untapped potential.

In 2006, Sonal gained a call that would alter the trajectory of her job, the exact year she recollects Ash relocating from Singapore to Dubai. Somewhat even now underground, Sonal remembers a new power making in Dubai at the time, with fashion, enjoyment and songs commencing to generate a cultural shift in bringing individuals alongside one another.

The catalyst for IAM’s origin started when Sonal was able to lengthen her solutions to multi-billion greenback assignments in The Center East, these types of as The World Islands and the unique Atlantis, The Palm, attracting leading star talent to many assignments, which elevated the specialist popularity of IAM Enjoyment. Even inside the manner world, video game changers these kinds of as Karl Lagerfeld, Donna Karan and Valentino had been introduced to the area by IAM to style and design very first-of-a-type industrial assignments valued involving $15 to $20 million.

Ash, who officially joined IAM Enjoyment in excess of 7 yrs in the past, arrives from a absolutely distinct qualified route than Sonal. “I was born and brought up in London,” Ash tells me. “I worked on a investing flooring for above 10 a long time in London, Singapore and Hong Kong. It was like residing in The Wolf of Wall Avenue. When Sonal and I sat down and manifested how we want to consider IAM to the future degree, we both of those understood that an business of this measurement needed a whole corporate composition to expand into multiple divisions and have all the sides that would empower us to provide the full suite of professional opportunities to every expertise and artist we do the job with. Celebrities are increasing their manufacturers globally and the Middle East is an exponential and untapped development marketplace. We deliver the fantastic bridge and system for brands to enter and increase into a new market, with IAM as a reliable partner, backed with our historical past and integrity. Obtaining, developing and escalating corporations is in my DNA.”

Sonal and Ash are now married and reside on the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, just a number of minutes down the road from Atlantis The Royal, wherever they experienced their greatest accomplishment to date.

Ash provides, “Staying accurate to our eyesight to this working day of storytelling and developing first-of-their-variety assignments for the Center East is the cause we are entrusted with big-scale governing administration-led initiatives and multi-million dollar budgets currently.”

In 2021 and 2022 on your own, IAM included reside demonstrates with Mariah Carey and stay-streamed performances with Alicia Keys and Black Eyed Peas, alongside a best-tier client roster. IAM has labored with and has partnered on video clip commercials with influential Hollywood figures such as Kevin Hart, Coldplay, Tony Robbins, Ciara, Leona Lewis, Hilary Swank, Nicolas Cage, Adrien Brody, Eva Longoria and Steve Harvey, as properly as a slew of A-Record Bollywood talent.

IAM’s illustrious consumer record is also expanding, at this time partnering with the likes of Vogue Arabia, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, FIFA, Qatar Tourism, Dubai Tourism, Dubai Entire world, Atlantis, the Saudi Arabia Royal Fee and the UAE Authorities. In between their in-individual and are living-streamed shows in excess of the earlier few yrs, they have developed above five billion impressions throughout 52 nations.

Ash states of IAM Amusement, “As we go on to develop, the focus is on making IP and commercial earnings streams for the artists and expertise that have reliable us, and open up a entire new marketplace share for a host of other people. As the location opens, so has the chance for touring. Around the future 18 to 24 months, we will be targeted on bringing in tour structure reveals to amplify the audience expertise. There is an underestimated fanbase that want to see their preferred stars on the phase.”

Sonal and Ash are also performing to provide far more films and tv reveals to the Center East region. They not long ago made a film titled North of the 10, filmed in Abu Dhabi with acclaimed writer/director Rhyan LaMarr. They have also been doing the job with Oscar winners John Battsek and Alex Gibney on a two-component documentary about tennis legend Boris Becker, which is expected to be produced later this year on Apple Tv+.

Circling back again to that exclusive Beyoncé functionality at Atlantis The Royal in Dubai, I puzzled how Ash and Sonal would ideal describe the experience that they ended up able to witness firsthand in the course of that quite unique possibility.

“I’ve in no way noticed an audience in my many yrs in this business enterprise that ended up as emotional as this viewers was,” Ash recalls.

Sonal proceeds, “Witnessing both of those guys and women of all ages crying was testament to the effectiveness, the production and the spectacular backdrop.”

With equally of these hardworking gurus determining as business people at this phase in their professions, I asked Sonal and Ash what they would say are the traits that make an successful and profitable entrepreneur in 2023.

“Resilience,” Sonal states to start with. “I think resilience, knowing specifically what you want to reach and how to carry forth your vision.”

Ash provides, “Agility. The pandemic shook a good deal of men and women up. Right before the pandemic, we didn’t have a Television and movie division. It forced us to pivot from reside reveals that couldn’t transpire and in a pair of a long time now, we have a documentary less than our belt and we have the motion picture which is unveiled.”

As I started to wrap up my conversation with this ability couple, I puzzled what will proceed to make them and their IAM Entertainment agency exclusive, as they retain earning trailblazing moves that raise the bar on how we seem at the options of leisure in our contemporary globe.

Sonal suggests, “Whatever we choose on at IAM Amusement, it’s under no circumstances pressured. It is a quite purely natural, natural and organic tactic to the company and we think which is what sets us apart.”

Currently, Ash and Sonal have been generating the time to occur stateside, networking with other top professionals and in-demand famous people, most not long ago all through Grammys weekend in Los Angeles. They explain to me that they are currently being approached by U.S.-centered enjoyment fund supervisors and hedge fund proprietors, wanting to commit in their newest round of fundraising for IAM Amusement. It is very clear to see their scarce kind of superpower, if you will, as they continue on to effectively connect the West to the Middle East.

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