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home : features : people of faith

5/3/2012 11:42:00 AM
Teen songwriter hopes for stardom
Lyrics from Louis’ song “One Day:”
He gave us the gift of music sent from up above
He gave us the gift of life and the gift of love
He gave us the gift of passion so we can be on our way
He gave us the gift of freedom so we can have our say
I make my choice/I spread my voice
So the whole world now will know my song
I spread my spirit, just hope they hear it
And they all get up to sing along
I'll make you proud/And sing out loud
And spread this feeling every day
It can be done/To get everyone
And make peace in this world one day


Louis Gargiula could sing before he could walk. Now, he's a finalist in the National Catholic Youth Conference talent competition.

The 15-year-old from St. Thomas the Apostle in Delmar awaits a trip to Chicago, where he'll record his original song, "One Day," for an album featuring the competition's top 10. It will be released on Heart Beat Records, a Catholic label based in Iowa, and sold in September to raise money for an NCYC scholarship fund.

Louis performed in front of 22,000 people at the Indianapolis conference last fall, but he's no stranger to the stage.

"I love being able to see the smiles on the faces of the people in the audience," he told The Evangelist. "That energy is just the best thing in the world. I say, forget drugs and forget drink. The crowd is definitely my natural high."

Louis and his brother, 13-year-old Anthony Gargiula, have traveled the country for years, singing and dancing at fairs and events. They've opened for artists like Kellie Pickler, the Jonas Brothers and Lady Antebellum.

Anthony became an internet sensation in 2007, when he was taped singing the national anthem at a Siena College basketball game in Loudonville. The clip was viewed more than four million times, and Anthony has since appeared on national television.

Louis backs up his younger brother, who's now a recording artist and actor, in the "AG Dance Crew." They've never liked talent competitions because "we don't like the trophies," Louis said. "We just do it for the love of what we do."

Anthony is "a huge inspiration" for Louis: "He pushes me to do more and to help him." The older brother said he's not jealous of his sibling's stardom, either: "We're brought up to support each other no matter what."

The brothers like different musical genres: Anthony, pop and country; Louis, rhythm and blues and hip-hop.

"We look totally different; we act totally different - and music is the one thing that brings us together," Louis said.

He wants to study voice in college and believes he has the skills and experience to make it.

"Every time I listen to a music piece, I feel something that other people don't feel," he explained. "I'll take in every single drum, every single type of synthesizer."

The young musician is inspired by God, family and Christian music, but also by hip-hop artists like Chris Brown and Ne-Yo - minus the bad language.

"All my talents are God-given," Louis said. "I want people to look up to me as a person sharing God."

Louis started writing songs in the fifth grade and began playing the baritone horn. He also learned piano, guitar and bass.

"Everything that can make music, definitely I've tried," he said. When he was younger, Louis played in a folk group at St. Thomas with his mother, a voice and piano teacher, and his father, a guitarist.

Now a sophomore at Bethlehem Central High School in Delmar, Louis has penned about 50 songs; he saves raps on his cell phone when ideas spring to mind.

In school, he's in choir, band, two select vocal groups and musicals. He scored 98 out of 100 for voice at a New York State School Music Association festival.

Louis also loves sports, especially basketball, but recently began filling his free time with hip-hop break-dancing lessons.

"It's one of the most extreme sports," he said. "When you're spinning on your back and you're on your hands instead of your feet, it takes a lot out of you."

The Gargiula brothers have "high hopes" for this summer and beyond.

"We're always on the edge of our seats to see what's next," Louis said, hinting: "A lot of things are really close to exploding.

"Every single day is a surprise," he continued. "'This is the day,' is our saying. 'Something great is going to happen today.'"

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