Italene news articles

Newcastle writer, musician proves age is nothing but a number

by Keegan Prosser Bellevue Reporter Staff Writer posted March 15, 2013

“I’m not 87, I’m Italene,” Italene Gaddis said. So is the mantra of the Newcastle resident, who has been writing songs since she was 14 years old – but never made them public until she was 62.

For Gaddis, music has always been an important part of who she is, but she got so distracted by life she forgot to make it a priority.

That is, until she promised her two sons she would do something with her songs – eventually. When a friend told her about a local songwriting competition, she knew she had to get involved.

“I thought it sounded like the dumbest thing ever,” Gaddis said. “But it was a good way to keep my promise to my sons.”

When she won the competition – and a recording deal – Gaddis found herself performing on a variety of local news and radio programs, at retirement homes and senior centers and even the University of Washington.

“A man called me from the university and said he heard me on the radio,” Gaddis said. “And asked me to come perform.”

When Gaddis arrived, and the booker noted her age, he asked if she wanted to skip the performance.

“He was worried the students would heckle me,” Gaddis said.

That wasn’t an option for the musician, who took the stage to play a three-song set. When she finished, she received a standing ovation.

Inspired by things that make her smile – like the goodness in people, her faith and love – Gaddis said she has written approximately 300 songs. Each song took about 10 minutes to write.

“If I can’t write them in 10 minutes, I throw them out,” Gaddis said.

For the most part, Gaddis’ songs carry a theme of positivity and encouragement, both of which she hopes her listeners take to heart.

“Everybody needs to be encouraged and hear something positive.”

Gaddis admits she doesn’t have the best voice ever, and that in the beginning it wasn’t her intention to sing at all. Even so, she wants to share her message of compassion.

Ultimately, Gaddis said her goal is to change the world and teach people to love each other for who they are. That’s why she recently published a book featuring the lyrics to her songs and original poems, entitled “From My Heart To Yours.”

“People were always asking me for the words,” Gaddis said about the decision to publish her work.

She says she’ll continue to write, and share her words with others for as long as she’s able.

“I don’t run out of energy,” Gaddis said. “I run out of time.”

Dressed in a glittery performance vest, her autoharp in hand, it seems that time is a long way off.

To find out more about Gaddis’ songs and poetry, go to italene.com.