One day after Mariah Carey returned to the stage of the Billboard Music Awards for the first time in 15 years, her label boss L.A. Reid expressed skepticism about the chart-topping prospects for new single, "Infinity."
Epic Records CEO L.A. Reid said in a far-ranging interview with Billboard published Monday: "To even be on the radio at this point in her career is a huge accomplishment, because radio doesn't cater to veteran artists or legends. Radio caters to in-the-moment stars."
Mariah Carey's label boss L.A. Reid on her chances of another No. 1 hit: 'It's not realistic'
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon attend MTV First: Mariah Carey's 'You're Mine (Eternal)' music video world premiere at MTV Studios on February 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18: Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon (R) arrive at the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on January 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 05: Nick Cannon (L) and Mariah Carey attend Lee Daniels' 'The Butler' New York premiere, hosted by TWC, DeLeon Tequila and Samsung Galaxy on August 5, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Samsung)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 17: TeenNick Chairman and HALO Awards host Nick Cannon and singer Mariah Carey attend Nickelodeon's 2012 TeenNick HALO Awards at Hollywood Palladium on November 17, 2012 in Hollywood, California. The show premieres on Monday, November 19th, 8:00p.m. (ET) on Nick at Nite. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images For Nickelodeon)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 15: Mariah Carey leaves the Beacon Theater on December 15, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 14: Mariah Carey (L) and actor Jussie Smollett attend the Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles Gala 2015 at JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE on March 14, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Human Rights Campaign)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 03: Mariah Carey performs at the 82nd Annual Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center on December 3, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 03: Singer Mariah Carey performs at the 82nd Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting on December 3, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
SHANGHAI, CHINA - OCTOBER 19: (CHINA OUT) Singer Mariah Carey performs live during her 2014 China Tour on October 19, 2014 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
NEW YORK NY - AUGUST 26: Mariah Carey sighting on August 26, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JULY 23: Singer Mariah Carey and actor Dwayne Johnson attend the after party for the premiere of Paramount Pictures' 'Hercules' at the Roosevelt Hotel on July 23, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage)
CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - JUNE 17: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Mariah Carey performs during Clear Channel Media And Entertainment And MediaLink Dinner at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on June 17, 2014 in Cap d'Antibes, France. (Photo by Tony Barson/Getty Images for Clear Channel)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 09: Singer Mariah Carey announces the launch of her Go N'Syde bottle 'Butterfly' at the Saint Regis Hotel on June 9, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29: Singer Mariah Carey attends the 2014 Fresh Air Fund Honoring Our American Hero at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on May 29, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/FilmMagic)
Mariah Carey performs during the World Music Awards at Monte Carlo Sporting Club, on May 27, 2014 in Monaco. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Mariah Carey appears on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 06: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Singer Mariah Carey attends Mishka B's Epic Bat Mitzvah at 1OAK on May 6, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 06: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Stella Bulochnikov (L) and Mariah Carey attend Mishka B's Epic Bat Mitzvah at 1OAK on May 6, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
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Reid was quick to point out that Carey is not the only legacy artist to have trouble cracking the charts these days.
"Nobody that put out records 25 years ago is going to have a No. 1. Not Paul [McCartney], Stevie [Wonder], Bruce [Springsteen], Mick [Jagger] or Keith [Richards]. Not Prince, not anyone," he said. So if she can get on the radio, we've done damn good. Would we like to have a No. 1? F– yeah, I'm greedy. But it's not realistic."
Maybe it's that kind of honesty that brought Carey back to Reid, who signed the 45-year-old star to Epic in March and immediately packaged a greatest-hits collection, "#1s," to accompany her Las Vegas concert residency. While at Universal's Island Def Jam records, Carey felt she was languishing without Reid's support.
"I felt really abandoned by him. I was lost. I really didn't like being at a place without a family. You've gotta have people that actually care about you as an artist, that's first and foremost, and as a person as well," Carey recently told the L.A. Times.
"That's what you get with him. I was kind of like floundering, doing some work that I'm still really proud of."
Carey's residency at Caesars Palace includes two more dates in May, with nine shows scheduled for July.