Without a sign outside the door, one would never know in the heart of downtown Franklin is a boutique record label, a one-stop shop that works with branding some 3,500 A-list artists.
Elton John’s “Million Dollar Piano” is on big screens across the globe this week, and the local company Yamaha Entertainment Group is at the center of it.
Chris Gero is the founder of the company, that opened its doors less than two years ago.
“Our clients are Elton John, Paul McCartney, Alicia Keys and Norah Jones,” Gero said.
Gero has been producing live shows for decades, but he can now add director of a full length film to the resume.
“It’s a really amazing calling card to say that our first client out, the first client we started working on as a world wide release you know is one of the biggest artists in the planet,” he said.
Iconic rock legend Elton John has a long relationship with Yamaha and Gero, but this latest project takes it to another level.
“This particular event was about making this piano and then ultimately building a show around it,” he explained.
Gero spearheaded the idea to create a one-of-a-kind piano, that’s ultimately a piece of art.
“We originally came up with the idea for it to be this living, breathing piece of work.”
The “Million Dollar Piano,” which actually cost $1.4 million features more than 68 LED video screens, which display images to complement the show’s songs.
Gero started documenting the piano process.
“It goes through this very long, four year process from the first meeting to the first note of the show.”
That ultimately led to his first full length movie, “Elton John: Million Dollar Piano.” Gero brought about a 50 person crew to film the Piano Man’s revue at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
“He’s very serious about connecting with his audience, so cameras can get in the way of that and can be very distracting. So you know it’s a very, a very complex ballet of not getting in the way but getting the feel that you are at a live event when you are seeing it on the big screen. You are acquiescing to an artist who has a remarkable 45 year career who is being gracious to you and so you really want to make sure you accommodate him and don’t turn him upside down and that was probably the biggest challenge of directing and producing that film.”
The movie is being shown in 1,200 movie theaters in 40 countries around the globe. There is a special limited U.S. engagement March 26.