One Ahwatukee Foothills teenager was recently signed to a major record label and is having her pop music dreams become a reality.
Anna Iannitelli, who goes by her stage name, Avery, is a 15-year-old singer, songwriter well on her way to having a major musical career. Earlier this month Iannitelli signed with Universal Records, a deal that came fairly quickly after she was discovered around a year-and-a-half ago.
She got her start in music locally, performing at the Ahwatukee Children's Theater, 5051 E. Elliot Road. Her father, Claudio Iannitelli, said the theater is where she really got her foot in the door.
Iannitelli began performing at ACT when she was 10, and performed in productions such as Aladdin, Rent, School House Rock, and also High School Musical, in which she played the starring role of Gabriella.
Claudio said around age 13 Iannitelli began to focus more on her own music, and started to veer away from the theater scene.
A year later when Iannitelli was 14, Claudio said he began receiving e-mails from Aton Ben-Horin, a music manager and producer from Orlando, Fla., that had seen Iannitelli on a singing comedy skit video on YouTube. Iannitelli said her parents ignored Ben-Horin's e-mails about her music for nearly nine months.
In February of this year Ben-Horin called Iannitelli's parents saying he was headed back to Orlando after being in Los Angeles for the Grammy's, and wanted to stop in Phoenix to meet with them and their daughter.
After realizing Ben-Horin was a serious music manager and producer, Claudio said he and his family decided to finally meet with him to discuss Iannitelli's musical career.
One month later, during Desert Vista High School's spring break, where Iannitelli attended school before starting online school in August, she and her family flew out to Orlando for the weekend to meet again with Ben-Horin, and to also work on a couple of songs together.
In April, Iannitelli was off to Orlando again, this time to shoot a music video for her single "Love me or Let me go," which currently has more than a million views on YouTube.
Iannitelli said filming the video for "Love me or Let me go" has been one of her favorite times since she started working with Ben-Horin.
"That probably was the best weekend of all of this," Iannitelli said.
In May, on the day after school got out for the summer, she flew to L.A. with her mother to meet with a record company about signing her. From there, she flew to New York City to meet with another record label, and then back to Orlando to spend some time writing songs with Ben-Horin, who is now her manager/music producer.
Iannitelli said she spent most of the summer continuing to write and record songs in Orlando with Ben-Horin, and also flew back and forth between LA, New York City and Orlando to attend different meetings regarding her music, which she describes as being pop-rock with a little bit of an edge.
In August, she finally got her big break, and began working on signing a record deal with Universal Records, a deal that would become official two months later.
When asked how her life in Orlando is now, compared to when she was in Ahwatukee only a few months ago, Iannitelli said things are very different.
"It's completely different," she said. "It's unpredictable."
On Oct. 4, she officially signed with Universal Records, a moment that can be viewed on her YouTube page. She was signed by Chris Anokute, the same man who signed singer Katy Perry to a record label.
From here, Iannitelli said her next step is to make another music video and continue writing songs. Currently, she has about eight or nine songs written and recorded, and is ultimately working toward putting together a full-length album.
Claudio said during this process of writing and recording, Iannitelli has been very involved, and co-writes most of her songs with Ben-Horin.
"She is very hands on," Claudio said.
In November, Iannitelli will be moving to LA with her mom, where she said she'll be able to have more opportunities to perform and meet her fans. She recently signed with Creative Artists Agency, a talent agency that will help her further her dreams of pop stardom.
When asked what she loved most about making music, Iannitelli said performing, traveling and being able to "inspire people with music."
To learn more about Iannitelli, or listen to her music, visit www.AveryOfficial.com.
Chelsea Brown is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a senior at Arizona State University.