The Greek who sang with Britney Spears
Annet Artani is a Greek-American singer and songwriter known for representing Cyprus in the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 with the song “Why Angels Cry”, as well as the co-writing of the worldwide success “Everytime” sang by Britney Spears.
She was born on September 6, 1976, in Flushing, New York, by Grigoris and Julia Stamatelatos. Her family comes from the village of Karavados of Kefalonia, while she has been named after her mother’s grandmother, Anneta, and she chose to use her paternal grandmother’s first name, Artani, in her stage name, as a dedication to both of them. She graduated from Queens College and received an associate’s degree from Five Towns College.
Annet and her older sister Diana formed a rock band called Nootropia (Mindset), singing in Greek at the National Television (NGTV) and Aktina FM. The band was singing Greek rock songs that were combined with classic elements.
Artani expressed her interest and love for music at a young age, particularly in offerings of such greats as Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, and Madonna. After her early days singing with her sister, Artani decided that a solo career would suit her best. She received a scholarship from BMG for writing and performing her original song titled “Summer Days”, and has also won several talent titles in America’s Favorite Pageants, the New York Star Pageant, the Ophelia Devoure Talent Connection, and has been featuring in both Pageantry and Billboard Magazine.
Even though she was a step before Broadway, because she loved acting and theater as well, among that and singing, she chose the second, as she has said in an interview. She received a scholarship from BMG for writing and performing her original song titled “Summer Days”, and has also won several talent titles in America’s Favorite Pageants, the New York Star Pageant, the Ophelia Devoure Talent Connection, and has been featuring in both Pageantry and Billboard Magazine.
Over the years, Artani incorporated influences of singing in her college Gospel choir, as well as listening to R&B, pop and rock music. She started off her singing career as an opening act for Mando, a Greek pop star, and was featured in her own summer concert in 1995. She collaborated with several accomplished writers in New York such as Jeff Franzel, who’s written for NSYNC and played with Frank Sinatra and Alex Forbes who has written for Taylor Dayne and Cyndi Lauper, among others.
While singing as a singer-songwriter in clubs all over New York City, Artani received a phone call from a friend saying that she should audition to be a backing vocalist for Britney Spears. She was called back and informed that she would be on The Rosie O’Donnell Show with Spears and would subsequently be a part of the Dream Within a Dream Tour. Her interactions with the pop star, for the most part of the tour, were limited to small conversations at the gym and vocal preheat.
At the end of the tour, Spears and Annet started bonding and forming a friendship among them, to the point where the world-famous singer invited the Greek American at her home in Los Angeles, California. According to Artani, their relationship improved because of their common romantic circumstances, as Spears had just separated from Justin Timberlake and felt she had found in the also freshly broken up Annet someone who could understand her. She stayed at the pop star’s house for a few weeks, where they started writing piano songs.
According to the Greek-born artist, “Everytime” was mostly written as a response to the “Cry Me a River” of Timberlake. The song was released as a single on May 17, 2004, and was positively received by critics, who complimented its simple lyrics and the organic feel of the song. The single also achieved commercial success, peaking inside the top five in most countries, while reaching the top of the charts in Australia, Hungary, Ireland= and the United Kingdom.
In 2004, Annett participated in the third season of Fame Story, but a month after her entering, she left the show after she refused to sign a multi-year contract, which she was being pressured into signing during her time on the show. Although she had not stayed for a long time, coming out, she had already created a great base of fans and signed with Virus Music, which led to the release of the single “Goodbye Amor”, which quickly became popular.
In 2006, she was invited by Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation to take part in the Cypriot selection show for the Eurovision Song Contest 2006. On February 22, the audience chose her ballad “Why The Angels Cry” between twenty songs, despite suffering from laryngitis. Later, she released her first studio album “Mia Foni”, which contained songs in both Greek and English, and reached the Top Ten in Greek charts.
She signed up with Ultra Records in the United States and began recording her first English language album. The first single was, “Alive” which she performed at club Duvet on December 19 for her then management company SWAP’s holiday party. “Alive” was released as an eight-track digital download on March 31, 2009, through iTunes and was accompanied by a music video in the months succeeding. It was then licensed by Ultra Records worldwide and became available in all iTunes music stores.
In 2009, she worked with the Swedish producer, Ishi Mughal, to create her second single, which she described as a remake of “You Keep Me Hangin,” a 1966 success by The Supremes. In 2010, Annette wrote the song “Nothing Lasts Forever” with the Canadian producers C2, which was a huge success in Korean pop.
In 2011, she released “Mouthful of Me”, shot in Joshua Tree National Park by Norwegian director Torgeir Ensrud, and went viral internationally, and, in 2012, signed with the American Bombshells Entertainment and sang for veterans and troops all over the world, as well as on NBC’s The Winner Is. In 2013, she signed with Notting Hill Music Publishing in the UK and wrote songs for artists internationally.
In 2015, she participated in the dramatic series “Point Society”, which has received many awards and nominations, and she is currently working as a composer, vocal and stagecoach. She is a divorced mother and she raises her son on her own in New York. In addition, she has taken the title of NPC Figure National Qualifier in America’s largest amateur bodybuilding competition, since she is a supporter of physical health, and has been actively involved in rescuing and protecting strays in recent years.