Sure, the Morristown tween attends the Assumption School like many area children, but that is where the similarities to the average child ends. Katie Gallagher is a singer/songwriter whose talent and dedication has garnered her national attention as well as a slew of local gigs. Recently, Gallagher won an national songwriting contest held by Tween Girl Style Magazine and performed at the Gran Fondo racing event in Morristown.
But another one of those local gigs is a standing Thursday night appointment with the open mic at Anthony’s Pizza and Pasta in Morristown.
“These kids are wonderful,” said Anthony’s owner Rudy Ioppolo. “I’m a musician myself and they come in and are so respectful if myself or some of the other older guys want to play. And that isn’t common.”
Ioppolo credits that respect to the fact that the majority of the performers come from the Original Music School in Morristown and are taught by the same guy, Anthony Vitale.
“The school has been open almost eight years now and we have really taken off since coming to Morristown from Cedar Knolls,” Vitale said. “What I did before opening the school was basically develop artists. Which is basically what I do now.”
According to Vitale, each week the audience is different at the open mic nights and Gallagher says that is a good thing.
“The audience really lets you know if you are doing good or bad,” Gallagher said. “They really are the show.”
Gallagher, and her band the Originals (which includes Steve Hawthorne, Riley Cocchi, and Jordan Green) came together to compete as part of Morristown’s Got Talent.
“I needed a band so we sort of threw a band together,” Gallagher said. “We ended up liking each other a lot, which is great.”
Gallagher said she entered the Original Music School on a whim.
“Me and my mom were going to get a dress hemmed and we popped in,” Gallagher said. “I loved it and it was everything I ever wanted.”
“Everything she ever wanted” included the tutelage of Vitale.
“Katie is elite. She is one of my elite students. And what we do is we learn to write strong songs arrange them and sing them well,” Vitale said. “ We also work on production with pro tools.”
Gallagher says she is fortunate to have a support system that includes her mother and her “crazy aunt.”
“My aunt is crazy. She sends texts with the likes I have on Facebook. But she does a lot for me and is a huge supporter,” Gallagher said. “And so is my mom. She pays for me to take lessons and no matter what the activity is she says to me ‘you are a kid and you can stop whenever you want.’ But she is at every single one of my shows.”
As for her future, Gallagher would love to follow in the footsteps of Taylor Swift.
“I want to go to Nashville. I am determined to get there and to sing at the Blue Bird. That is where Taylor Swift was discovered,” Gallagher said. “But I don’t want to be her. I want to be original. I write songs to be original.”