As WGNA prepares to welcome American Idol's Kellie Pickler, Albany Area singer Anthony Gargiula takes a moment to share his life-changing experience of meeting Kellie Pickler on one of his Ellen show appearances.

Anthony Gargiula is an Upstate New York favorite who's appeared at every high profile event in the area, including WGNA's Countryfest. The young star also made the Capital Region of New York proud when he was invited three times to appear on the Ellen show.

Anthony on Kellie:

Q: How did meeting Kellie Pickler change your life?

A: Watching American Idol was how I learned how to sing. Meeting Kellie was a dream come true for me. She was so sweet and was a real person. After she hugged me and we took pictures and I was walking away she said to me " Hey Anthony, I have a feeling we are going to work together in the future" that was a huge inspiration for me in my career as a singer. I love to meet fans after my shows now and I try to give them a little of the same feeling that Kellie gave to me that day. That was about 7 years ago but last summer when Kellie performed at the Fonda Fair, I had the honor along with my dancers to open for her. After my set, we ran to the front and watched Kellie perform. She was awesome.

Q: How did you meet Kellie Pickler?

A: When I was on the Ellen Degeneres show she asked me who my favorite American Idol was. I said that Kellie was my favorite, so Ellen gave me and my family tickets and back stage passes to see Kellie when she opened for Rascal Flats at the TU Center. The cool part was that Kellie was watching the Ellen Show when I said that she was my favorite Idol so she kinda knew that I was coming to the show.

Q: Describe her personality?

A: Kellie has a huge heart. I love the fact that she gives so much time and love to our troops. When she shaved her head for her friend who had cancer, that was amazing. It's so nice to see someone in the music biz who is a great person as well as an amazing singer. My dream would be to do a duet with her.

Q: What is the one thing you'll always remember about being on the Ellen show?

A: Being on Ellen was incredible. After the first time I was on and I got the tickets to see Kellie, Ellen had me on her show two more times. My favorite memory is when she asked me to be her red carpet news broadcaster at the American Idol top 12 party. Unfortunately, it was not Kellie's season. But it was still a ton of fun.

Q:  Where would you like to see yourself 5 years from now?

A: In five years I'd like to be a well known singer. My main goals are to spread my anti-bullying message through my music, and go on a tour and perform for the troops and their families, just like Kellie does! I want to be able to make a difference through my music, and inspire people.

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