Legendary music executive Tommy Mottola is shifting gears and bringing his talents to Broadway as the lead producer of “A Bronx Tale,” based on the story by Chazz Palminteri which was turned into a film directed by Robert De Niro. Mottola, the chairman and CEO of Sony Music who was born and raised in the Bronx himself, said the story is “near and dear” to him.
“I thought the one thing that’s going to galvanize this great story and make it different than the one man show in the movie is going to be the music and that’s when we brought in Alan Menken, brilliant, a musical genius, and he really made it come to life and sing,” Mottola said Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.”
Mottola has worked with countless artists including Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Hall & Oates, and Beyoncé in her Destiny’s Child days. He also discovered Mariah Carey, whom he married and divorced in the 1990s. In Mottola’s nearly 15 years with Sony, he tripled the company’s revenue to nearly $7 billion, sold an estimated eight billion CDs, and expanded its operation to more than 60 countries.
So why Broadway now? Mottola said he was looking for a creative challenge.
“I find it extremely challenging but extremely fulfilling creatively,” he said.
“There are so many moving parts and they’re all so complicated,” Mottola also said. “When it’s all on paper, it’s one thing. But when you put it up to the stage, truly the professionals have to take over and make these great ideas work. Stage them, make them move, make them speak, make the music tie in and be complementary and so, you know, it’s different than making a record or standing up on stage and singing a song.”
He said it took five years for the production to develop.
“I thought it would never get done,” Mottola said.
The executive also weighed in on the current state of the music industry.
“People have a more insatiable appetite for music than they ever have and they have more coming at them than they ever have because of digital, but I also thinks that it makes it much harder to nurture and really embrace the process of building the next global superstars. I think the economics don’t allow it,” Mottola said.
“Adele at the Grammys stopped the whole show and took charge,” Mottola said. “So, I mean, it’s important for artists to know that they have that power, they have that ability to say, ‘Stop, I’m going to start again.’”
“I think Mariah is one of the most talented people that I’ve ever, ever come across in my career, certainly as a songwriter and a singer,” Mottola said.