While performing at a family wedding reception, Peggy was discovered by Russell Smith. Russell Smith becomes Peggy's first manager and is also assigned her legal guardian. (Her parents were not allowed to manage her finances because the Coogan Law applied in Pennsylvania and California.)
Fred Bronson, in The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits (1985), writes
'A friend of the family, Russell Smith, heard her and spoke to her father about Peggy becoming professional. "Dad wasn't too happy about it. We had a very long talk and I said, "I don't know if the opportunity will ever come up again, please let me do this. "'
Peggy prepares a demo recording of Pagan Love Song/Teasin to send to the Record Companies. Russell Smith, despite claiming falsely to having recorded Al Martino, did have connections and was able to obtain an audition for Peggy at RCA. Peggy auditioned for Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore, joint heads of RCA's pop AR team. The pianist didn’t turn up for her audition so Peggy sang a capella. Aged 13, Peggy was signed with the label and began 'recording' for RCA in the spring of 1961 (note RCA spent the rest of 1961 and much of 1962 trying to find suitable material for Peggy to record).