Music Stars Making a Social Impact: Why & How Tony Mantor Is Helping To Change Our World

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Music is universal. It can bring back memories, it can create memories, and it can change the way one feels at any particular moment in time. That power can unite people in ways that spoken words may not be able to do.

As a part of our series about stars who are making an important social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tony Mantor.

Tony Mantor is an established and successful American singer-songwriter, pianist, podcast host and record-charting music producer who is celebrating working in Nashville for more than 30 years. The Madison, Maine native first arrived in Nashville as a touring sideman for country music sensation Ronnie McDowell in 1976. Since that time, Mantor has progressed into an award winning music producer, recording and placing 33 songs into the Top 40, and 16 songs into the Top 10 of various U.S. based major music charts including Billboard, Indicator, Mediabase, Cashbox & Music Row Magazine. He’s worked with the likes of Debby Campbell (daughter of Glen Campbell), Bobby Brooks Wilson (son of Jackie Wilson), Happy Days star & singer Donny Most, country artist Sam Austin, and country artist Mila Mason. Inspired to have his music make a difference in the lives of people, his recent self-produced song “Why Not Me” has became the inspiration for launching his brand new podcast in June 2023, dubbed Why Not Me The World, which will focus on Autism awareness, acceptance and understanding, and will feature one-on-one interviews with celebrity guests, subject matter experts, parents and those who’ve been touched by Autism. To learn more about Tony Mantor, his music, or podcast, visit

Thank you so much for joining us on this interview series. Can you share with us the backstory that led you to this career path?

I was in a local band in my home town of Madison, Maine. I played shows with them and had aspirations of recording, releasing songs to radio, and ultimately, touring throughout the country. I traveled to Nashville with friends and was very surprised at how great the atmosphere was here in the recording studios. I was on a session and a label executive heard me. He then asked me to talk to the manager that needed a singer and piano player for his artist. That artist was Ronnie McDowell, who I toured with and then went on to pursue my own career. After having several records in the charts I had the opportunity to move to Nashville and work in production, development, and management.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

This is not a music related story but it helped me in so many other ways. I was traveling back and forth to Nashville from my state of Maine. I made the mistake of not knowing where I was when I got here. I ran out of gas and back then there were not any cell phones, but I did have a CB in my car. I asked directions to a gas station and here wasn’t one very close. This man brought me gas and it turned out he had got his wife out of work to bring it to me because he was quite inebriated. The lesson I learned was one of the biggest at that point in time. I found there was good in this world outside of my hometown and it gave me faith in others that are willing to help people.

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

I tell everyone to always do their best and to make sure the quality is at the highest level possible. You never know who is watching and what is around the next corner, so make sure your project stands tall and will compete wherever you may take it.

Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?

Bob Milsap, who worked around many legends in the music business and published the song “You Needed Me” recorded by Ann Murray was half of my production team. I always would ask Bob many questions about the music business because he was the guru of the team on the business of music. He gave me the perspective of how the major labels would do music deals because he worked with them on so many projects during his lifetime in Nashville. Because I was an independent, and that is a completely different business mindset than that of a major label, I now had to take his advice and adapt it to what I could do to help better and further my own music career.

Also, Gary Paxton, the lead singer of the Hollywood Argyles was the mad scientist on engineering and getting the best possible production for the Singer he was working with. I would ask him questions about what he did engineering wise to make a song stronger. He explained to me the way he looked at things from a production standpoint to give the best possible project for the singer.

So I’ve benefited from having a duo for a production team that knew both the business and production side to help build a better career for myself and eventually the singers that I would work with production and management.

How are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you’re working on right now?

I am currently working on a podcast project called Why Not Me The World that supports autism awareness, acceptance and understanding around the world. It stems from my current song project called “Why Not Me”. The video for it is dedicated to the Autistic community, and has essentially inspired my new podcast which features various people from the Autistic community & entertainment world telling stories of their life challenges, and how Autism has touched their lives on a daily basis.

Can you share with us a story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?

I was working on my personal CD for my own enjoyment, and to give to close friends and family. My song “Why Not Me” was pitched to me and I felt it was for me since it was about positivity and never giving up on your dreams. This is what I always post on my social media. My promoters in New York, LA, Nashville, and London heard it and convinced me to release it as a radio single. The initial version was more country, but after that, I made a video to pay respect to our first responders. When it was finished I thought my artist career was complete.A few months after that a lady called me to ask if i would consider doing a video to help Autism awareness. I re-recorded the song as an adult contemporary version and did a video with Autistic people from the Nashville area to bring more awareness to them.

Are there three things or are there things that individuals, society, or the government can do to support you in this effort?

  1. For individuals with whom Autism has touched their own lives — either because they work in a related medical field or because one of their close friends or family members is Autistic — can help us spread the word of how my podcast can bring change and offer hope to others.
  2. Society can learn from this to bring change in the way we look at others.
  3. Our Government could help by passing laws which make it easier for people to get real & affordable treatment with any kind of mental health challenge, so that all people may have a chance at a better life.

Why do you think music in particular has the power to create social change and create a positive impact on humanity?

Music is universal. It can bring back memories, it can create memories, and it can change the way one feels at any particular moment in time. That power can unite people in ways that spoken words may not be able to do.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started”?

  1. Be prepared for rejection
  2. Overcome rejection
  3. Be very selective of who you let in your circle of friends
  4. Be careful on who you trust with your career if it sound to good to be true it could very possibly be
  5. Check, double check and the triple check to make sure what you do makes good sense to give you possibilities of success.

You’re a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

My project I have now that can give hope to those that may need a helping hand to get a better perception of what their life truly is.

Can you please give us your favorite life lesson quote? And can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

“There are possibilities and probabilities.”

I had to understand what I wanted to do in life was possible. I also had to know the probabilities of what to expect. Could it really happen or was it just a dream? One needs to understand the differences, so to work towards the goals with expectations that are realistic.

We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

Daryl Hannah, TV Actress

She is a great actress and is on the autism spectrum. I would love to have her on my podcast and talk about how she dealt with it since childhood..

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!

Music Stars Making a Social Impact: Why & How Tony Mantor Is Helping To Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.