(Photo credit: Xiomara Apicella, 2011)
Singer Anthony Gargiula made a splash at the age of seven, when a video of him singing the National Anthem went viral and caught the eye of Ellen DeGeneres. Two ELLEN appearances were followed by TODAY and singing the Anthem for the New York Knicks, the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction, and the Belmont Stakes. He recently released his first album, FINALLY DONE, on i-Tunes.
Anthony C.: Hi, Anthony! First of all, thanks for agreeing to “sit down” for this interview. It was great meeting you a few weeks ago. You’ve had some amazing experiences since the video of you singing the National Anthem went viral. Ellen, Today, meeting the American Idols, singing at a number of major sports events. What would you say is the most exciting thing that’s happened so far?
Anthony G.: The most exciting thing that has happened to me so far was when I went on The Ellen Degeneres Show. It was such an amazing experience and I definately SOON hope to be returning.
Your album “Finally Done” has been available on i-Tunes for almost nine months now. People seem to be responding well to it in the comments on i-Tunes. How long did it take you to put the album together?
I went out to LA 3 times. Once in February 2010, Once in April 2010, and then one last time over Memorial Day weekend 2010. We worked very hard everyday but knocked out all 10 songs in about 2 weeks.
And how involved were you with the song-writing and choosing what you would record?
I wrote one of the songs, “Finally Done,” and cowrote “BackGround Tracks” with my brother Louis and also helped write “Game Over.”
Speaking of song-writing and song-choice: I’m sure you get asked this a lot, but who are your musical influences (both famous and not famous)? And if you could co-write a song with anyone out there right now, who would you choose?
My huge musical influences include Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, The Jonas Brothers and All Star Weekend. My non famous musical influences are my family members. Especially my Mom, Dad, 2 Grandfathers and my brother Louis. I’d love to co-write a song with Kara DioGuardi, the former Idol judge.
Most of your songs deal with universal concerns that anyone of any age can relate to, butI think my favorite song on the album is the title song, “Finally Done.” It’s a song about self-empowerment, about using the negative comments to make you stronger and motivate you to be better. Was there any personal experience that inspired the song?
Yes, there were many bullying situations that have happened over the years in school. I sometimes still have to deal with these situations currently and it just inspires me to write more songs which will hopefully be on my second album.
I think that “Finally Done” could rank with Greyson Chance’s “Waiting Outside The Lines” as an anthem for the anti-bullying movement gaining strength across the country, and I think it’s important for teenagers to hear that message from their peers even more than they need to hear it from adults. You recently organized a bowling fundraiser for an anti-bullying program. Tell us a little about the program, about the event, and about plans for next year’s event.
First off, thank you for the compliment. The organization is called Teens Against Bullying (teensagainstbullying.org) and their current spokesperson is Demi Lovato. We were assigned at school to try and change the world for the better and I chose to do a “Bowling Against Bullies” event in my home town. We had 28 bowlers and raised $352. Next year I hope to do this event again and make it even bigger.
I know you’ve done some telethon performances. What other charities have you been involved with?
I have been involved with The Center For Disabilities Telethon and a local charity called “Hannah’s Hope.”
At the end of this interview, readers can find links to your Facebook fan page, your Twitter, and of course your website and i-Tunes. I know you have goals for the number of followers and “likes” you get — I’m already connected to you on all those platforms, so tell my readers why they should Like and Follow.
Your readers should “LIKE” my facebook page because I talk about my upcoming events and things that I am doing. We also want the numbers to grow as quickly as possible because the record labels like to see big numbers. I am also trying to grow my Twitter following as well.
If people want to send actual fan-mail, is there an official address they can use?
PO Box 433 Glenmont, NY 12077
In between family and normal middle-school life, are you working on new music?
I am writing new songs by myself and also with my brother.
What projects or appearances do you have coming up?
Last night I sang the National Anthem for an awesome sports award ceremony and this Friday I am also singing the Anthem for Albany, New York’s Tulip fest. This summer will most likely be very busy as most of the previous summers have been.
And the question I ask everyone, since I am a writer: What is your favorite book and what would you say to recommend it to someone who hasn’t read it yet?
The Percy Jackson Series . Its very interesting and there are many ties to Greek Mythology.
Thanks for taking part in the interview, Anthony! Looking forward to seeing you soon and hearing new music!