Tommy Mottola

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Thomas Daniel Mottola, Jr.
Born (1949-07-14) July 14, 1949 (age 70)
Bronx, New York, US
Lisa Clark (m. 1971–1990)

Mariah Carey (m. 1993–1998)

Thalía (m. 2000)

Thomas Daniel "Tommy" Mottola (born July 14, 1949) is an American music executive, co-owner of Casablanca Records in a joint venture with the Universal Music Group. He is the ex-husband of Mariah Carey, and is married to Mexican singer Thalía. He headed Sony Music Entertainment, parent of the Columbia label, for nearly 15 years.[1]

Apart from his experience in managing music outfits, Mottola is known as a mentor and former talent manager. His most famous proteges were Hall & Oates, Carly Simon, John Mellencamp,[2] Diana Ross, and Taylor Dayne in the 80s, Mariah Carey (his second wife) in the 1990s, Gloria Estefan, Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Lopez in the early 2000s.

Early career[change | change source]

Mottola was born in The Bronx, New York. He graduated from Iona Grammar School in 1962 and Iona Preparatory School in New Rochelle, New York in 1966. He briefly attended Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York before dropping out. He initially had aspirations of a music career, and released with CBS Records, but his singing career was short-lived.

Wishing to stay in the industry, Mottola started Champion Entertainment Organization Inc. to manage other artists. While working at the Chappell music-publishing company, he became the mentor to Philadelphia-based soul/rock performers Daryl Hall and John Oates.

His belief in the duo led him to push them relentlessly to do appearances and advertising promotions, including some of the first specialized music videos and one of the first modern "sponsored tours," for Beech-Nut's Care Free Gum, Panasonic, and Pontiac.

Hall & Oates paid tribute to him in their track "Gino (the Manager)" on their self-titled 1975 RCA release, better known as the Silver Album. Mottola also figured—this time, being mentioned by name—in "Cherchez La Femme," the 1976 dance hit by another Mottola act, Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band. ("Tommy Mottola / Lives on the road ...")

Raised as a Roman Catholic, Mottola converted to Judaism shortly before his marriage to Lisa Clark. That marriage, which ended in divorce in 1992, produced a daughter (Sarah) and a son (Michael, who is now a production assistant with MTV).[3]

Brisbane rock band Regurgitator wrote a tribute song to him called "I Love Tommy Mottola" for their 1999 album "...Art".

CBS[change | change source]

In 1987, Mottola was chosen to run CBS Records at the age of 37.

Soon afterward, Sony Corporation closed on its deal to buy the CBS Records group unit from CBS, naming him President and CEO of the music division, where he succeeded his former mentor Walter Yetnikoff, who had originally brought Mottola into CBS. Mottola served as Chairman and CEO Sony Music Entertainment.

Sony[change | change source]

During his tenure, he transformed Sony into one of the most successful global music companies, expanding its businesses into over 60 countries, while creating one of the strongest management teams in the industry. He revitalized Sony Music's publishing division by making such acquisitions as the Beatles catalogue and enabled Sony to become the first major music company to make available commercial digital downloads. He is widely well known for signing, developing, and nurturing the careers of Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Destiny's Child, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Gloria Estefan, the Dixie Chicks, Marc Anthony, Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, among others. He also worked with Michael Jackson from the time he began recording his "Dangerous" (1991) album. Jackson would later state that his relationship with Mottola dissolved based on corruption in his working practices, publicly referring to him as a "racist" and "devil". "The recording companies really, really do conspire against the artists." Jackson said.(source: Vh1).[4]

Mariah Carey[change | change source]

In 1988, Brenda K. Starr, a Columbia artist, handed Mottola a demo tape from one of her backup singers. Initially he tossed it aside, but later decided to listen to it. He was impressed by the demo and tracked down the singer, a then-unknown Mariah Carey, and eventually signed her. Mottola is seen as the main architect for Mariah's success in the early years of her career.

In June 1993, Mottola and Carey married in a lavish ceremony, but the marriage was short-lived with the couple separating shortly before Christmas 1996 and divorcing in early 1998. In 2000, Carey, at the time Columbia's biggest selling artist, signed an $80 million contract with Virgin Records, but after the commercial and critical failure of her first album for the label, the Glitter soundtrack, Virgin dropped her from the company and it rescinded the $80 million contract. Carey later signed with Island Records.

Thalía[change | change source]

Mottola later went on to date other stars before dating Mexican singer Thalía, whom he married December 2, 2000. They have a daughter together, Sabrina Sakaë (Oct 7, 2007).[5] Their second child, a son, Matteo Alejandro was born on June 25th 2011 . He also is credited with creating the Latin Explosion in popular music by championing such Sony artists as Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez and Gloria Estefan[source?]. Additionally, Mottola was the architect for some of Sony's biggest global brands such as Celine Dion and Mariah Carey. During his 15-year tenure, Mottola built Sony up from a company with revenues of 800 million dollars a year to one with over 6 billion dollars of annual revenue by the year 2000. In June 2010, he decided to sell his Ranch in Colorado, for an amount of 27.5 million dollars, as he was not spending time in it anymore and wanted to be closer to his family.[6]

After Sony[change | change source]

Tommy Mottola was the head of Sony Music Entertainment until January 2003. Since leaving his post as chief of Sony Music, Mottola has been building a new entertainment company, complete with recorded music, television production, theater, and fashion, alongside a branding and management company launching[source?]. He was instrumental in re-launching the various careers of such artists as Grammy winner and Latin pop star Marc Anthony[source?], and teen sensation Lindsay Lohan.[7] Later signings included Cassie Ventura[source?] in 2006 and Mika[source?], who in 2007 had a #1 single in the UK.

A collaboration with former Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein has them teamed on two current projects for live theater, namely producers of Pink Floyd's The Wall. Mottola's TV production arm is currently producing and developing many shows for cable and network television.

Mottola bought out the rights to Casablanca Records (a then-diminished imprint of Polygram), and resurrected it, signing actress Lindsay Lohan, and singer Mika.

Philanthropy[change | change source]

Known also for his many philanthropic activities, Mottola has served on the Board of Directors of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Police Athletic League of New York City, T.J. Martell Foundation for Cancer, Leukemia and AIDS Research, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation and Museum, and the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation.

Cultural references[change | change source]

The character of Gene Balboa in the Channel 101 Internet TV Series Yacht Rock is loosely based on Mottola, in particular his time as manager of Hall and Oates.[8]

The Australian band Regurgitator include the song "i love tommy mottola" on their 1999 album "".

Notes[change | change source]

  1. "Sony picks NBC president to replace Tommy Mottola". USA Today. January 10, 2003. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
  2. "Sony Chairman Tommy Mottola Steps Down."
  3. "CityFile New York: Tommy Mottola". Retrieved March 23, 2011.
  5. "It's a Girl for Singer Thalía and Tommy Mottola". People. October 8, 2007. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
  6. L. M. - ©2011 "L'ex-numéro un de Sony music met en vente son ranch - People". Retrieved March 23, 2011.
  7. "Lohan to testify in mother's case." contactmusic
  8. ""Yacht Rock"". "Yacht Rock". Retrieved March 23, 2011.

Other websites[change | change source]