Tina Turner, Ryan Tedder, Justin Timberlake, the Backstreet Boys, ’N Sync, Reba: these are just a few of the names multi-platinum, award-winning songwriter/producer Anthony Little has worked with throughout the span of his diverse and impressive career. Not only a “jack of many trades,” he’s a “master of many” as well, from songwriting and production to jingle writing, artist development and music business management, Anthony exudes equal amounts of passion and enthusiasm for every element of the business he touches.
Anthony graduated from University of North Alabama, getting his degree in Commercial Music. While attending there, he formed a relationship with Nashville-based music executives John and David Briggs. In 1987, Anthony accepted an internship with David Briggs’ publishing company Will and David Music and the House of David Recording Studio, and moved to Music City, where he later landed a position with the world-renowned Emerald Sound Recording Studios. As Bon Jovi, Whitney Houston, and others flocked in and out of the studio, Anthony rose to manager of the four-million dollar complex, achieving unprecedented success throughout his seven-year career there.
During this time Anthony was also churning out his own songs, and it wasn’t long until major publishers began to take notice. A tune he co-penned with Sandy Knox, “The Last Time I Saw Us,” turned ears at Reba McEntire’s publishing company, and a year later, another song he co-wrote, “He Wants To Get Married,” landed on one of Reba’s triple-platinum selling albums. Anthony soon found himself writing full-time for Texas-based powerhouse Hamstein Publishing, and the time spent during this period working with Nashville songwriters served him well.
“I started out as a pop and rock guy,” explains Anthony. “I never considered myself a country songwriter. Melody and arrangement were my strong suits and country music is a lyric-driven format. However, I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to work with some of Nashville’s top songwriters, and I learned so much about what it takes to be a great lyricist during that time. I was forced to rise to the occasion being surrounded by so many great songwriters in Nashville, and the education really paid off.”
Anthony elected to start his own publishing venture, and began working and writing songs for Trans Continental Records, a company owned by music mogul Lou Pearlman, (the man responsible for the success of artists like the Backstreet Boys and N’Sync.) Through his association with Trans Continental, he landed an N’Sync cut, “Forever Is For You,” and that song opened the door to additional production work in Florida with Pearlman and Johnny Wright on acts like Take 5 and Angel-La, who at the time were enjoying international success. Having signed a worldwide administration deal through Warner Chappell, Germany during this time, Anthony also managed to parlay his success into a U.S./Canada administration deal with Chrysalis Music and CAA, which yielded, among other things, a cut on Tina Turner’s album “24/7” called “Go Ahead.” During the next few years he would find himself writing with all sorts of pop and rock heavyweights, including Justin Timberlake, Nick Lachey, Kevin Richardson and Howie D of the Backstreet Boys, and Gary Baker, (the co-writer of hits like “I’m Already There,” and “I Swear”.) He and Baker collaborated on a Christmas song, “If Every Day Could Be Christmas,” that became a hit for 98 Degrees and was later recorded by the hugely successful country cross-over band Lonestar.
“I believe what I do best,” explains Anthony, “is discovering talent, taking the time to understand what makes them special, and looking at how I can assist the artist in creating something that’s exceptional, and most importantly honest and believable. Like any business, it’s a collaborative effort that requires knowing your target audience and knowing your competition. My job is to help artists’ define who and what they are that is unique to the marketplace. I love all of it...producing and writing, and it’s all a process. It’s a new age in the music industry, and I think it provides a great opportunity for guys like myself who are passionate about working with artists on every level.”
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