James Gaddis is a singer, composer, author and pastor.
He has the distinction of being the first male winner in a local pageant. He sings at community events, family celebrations and at his church, King Star Baptist Church. He has even performed with the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra.
“Basically, I have been singing, performing and preaching for over 50 years,” Gaddis said. “I am still composing classical, gospel and popular music.”
His talents go beyond music, however. Gaddis has written an inspirational poetry book entitled “Emotional Transitions” along with an inspirational music CD “Simply Gaddis” which is available on Amazon.
Gaddis said his grandmother discovered his singing talent at the age of seven. He studied voice lessons while in high school and became the choir lead soloist for which he won many awards.
After graduating from high school with academic honors in 1968, Gaddis left his hometown of Leeds, Ala., and joined the U.S. Navy.
He sang with the U.S. Navy Choir while in boot camp. He also sang in local clubs while stationed in Newport, Rhode Island and Naples, Italy. He said he met the manager of the Beatles while in Italy, but was not allowed to meet the band.
“When I accepted my calling as a preacher, I went totally with gospel music,” he said. “I have been classically trained in vocal performance and have written for both secular and gospel artists.”
His favorite songs are “I must tell Jesus,” and “His Eye is on the Sparrow.”
J.R. Miller, King Star Baptist Church Pastor, said Gaddis is very hard working and does whatever is asked of him.
“He shows a spirit of humility,” Miller said. “He is classified as one of the lead singers and is often called by families’ loved ones to sing at weddings and funerals.”
Two years ago, Gaddis made history by being the first male winner of the DIVA, Divinely Inspired Virtuous Angels, Scholarship Pageant. He won in the Mr. DEVO category. This pageant includes multi-age male and female contestants who must also perform on stage. He sang “I Believe I can Fly” and won in the talent portion of the contest.
“I was honored to win the Mr. Devo title,” he said. DEVO stands for Divinely Empowered Virtuous Overcomer.
In spite of all the accolades, he continues with religious studies.
“We were pleased that Rev. James Gaddis became the first Mr. DEVO in our pageant because he is a very talented and spiritual man,” Idotha Battle, DIVA Association founder said. “He does a lot of community outreach and goes out of his way helping people. He is very powerful and a good role model.”
“The more I learn about God and the older I get, I realize how much I need him,” Gaddis said. “My whole existence is God.”
Gaddis majored in psychology with music and theology minors. He has degrees from Ohio colleges. He is currently doing online course work with MIT. Gaddis has pastored churches in Ohio and Alabama, and has also worked in a mental health facility and as a chef in Ohio.
Gaddis, who is the father of four grown children, has a brother, Henry Gaddis, in Kingsville. He married Betty Houston, an elementary school teacher, 10 years ago.
Gaddis said he helps by doing all the cooking and likes to fry food, especially fish. He makes banana pudding and peach cobbler desserts.
Meanwhile, his next goal is to audition for the San Antonio and Nashville Symphonies as they have shown interest in him, as soon as the pandemic subsides.