Two-time Grammy winning music publisher Tony Mercedes has made the transition from radio and records to film and TV. His first major motion picture film production is “Athena Saves Christmas” and is directed by Josh Webber and is starring Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. The film follows Samuel and his friends along with his trusted dog Athena in an adventure of a lifetime. Matching wits with the mob and solving a series of riddles allows them to save Christmas for their town.
Mercedes’ vibrant award-winning career as a music mogul and visionary has set the night ablaze with a dynamic and shimmering flickering light like that of the Aurora Borealis or the might of the majestic Zambezi as it drops like a curtain of Victoria Falls. He clenches accolades for a barrage of number 1 hits on the Billboard charts, which exceed 100 million in career record sales. He is the publisher for TLC’s “No Scrubs” and Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.” He also manages 5 of the top rising superstars in the music industry, pop artist Kylie Marshall, Country recording artist and TikTok phenomena Jarvis Redd, Elidjah Diallo, The Wicker Twinz, and beautiful hip hop artist Roxanne Luciano. With a music career as triumphant as his one might wonder….why the evolution into TV and films?
In a dramatic turn of events Mercedes met director Josh Webber …and they lived happily ever after…not exactly….
Tony how did you become involved in working with Josh Webber?
I met Josh Weber in a pretty hostile setting. I was a small investor in his film “Secrets of Deception.” I was brought in through one of the films EP’s and would come to learn that Josh knew nothing of my investment. My initial conversation with Josh was anything but pleasant and things on my end became heated. Josh remained calm and requested time to speak with his partner and try to rectify the situation. Long story short I received my investment back as promised, and was convinced that Josh Webber was a stand up guy, and we have been rocking with each other for years now. His ability to pivot on the spot under extreme chaos clearly illustrates that he will be a force to be dealt with in Hollywood. “Athena Saves Christmas” it’s one of many projects we have in the pipeline.
You and your wife Tamara became Executive Producers on the film?
Making the decision to self-finance this project was a tough one. I sat with my wife Tamara and said “this goes against all the rules of filmmaking, but I think we should take some of the money from the music catalog sale and become executive producers on this kid’s Christmas film. I’ve never been one to invest in projects, I invest in people. We prayed on it, and we were in agreement, and as opposed to trying to convince some suit to share our vision, or waiting around for some magical angel investor to drop off a bag of money, Tamara and I just decided to walk into this venture by faith, and not by sight.
What helped convince you to invest in the project?
Athena Saves Christmas checks all the boxes. It has kids, music, mobsters, dogs, Christmas, and an Oscar winning actor leading the charge. It also gave me the opportunity to bless a few up and coming kid actors in the process.
Now that the film is in post-production how do you feel regarding your decision?
Aside from Academy award winner, Cuba Gooding Jr.s, the movie also includes a powerful cast including Robert Miano (Fast and Furious), Richard Portnow (Hitchcock), Mars Callahan, Glenn Plummer, Kaitlyn Raymond, Paxton Kubitz, Kylie Marshall, Santiago Ramos, and Jarvis Redd. It also features composer Randy Edelman (Last of the Mohicans, My Cousin Vinny) who will be creating the soundtrack. However, I cannot tell you what the future holds, but what I can see is working with Josh Webber on this project was a chess move, and we just put the industry in check.
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Photo Credits: Tony Mercedes