Port Chester’s Anthony Valbiro isn’t a huge Katy Perry fan. He’s not even into today’s mainstream pop music for the most part (“except for Bruno Mars”). Explaining why he chose Perry’s Dark Horse to cover in his now-viral YouTube video, “Katy Perry – Dark Horse (Sang in 20 Styles),” in which he mimics the singing styles of 20 artists spanning disparate genres, from Nirvana to John Mayer to The Doors, he says he heard the song and knew it was doable and “hot,” with both a universal melody and the crucial rap verse he wanted to include in the one-man vocal metamorphosis, which he dreamed up to promote his Port Chester-based company, Ten Second Songs, a custom-jingle service for small businesses.
“I didn’t really think about it too deep, but maybe subconsciously it’s like, here’s all my influences, and it was my way of infiltrating a pop song and showing people some really good music they’re not exposed to on a day-to-day basis,” Valbiro says. “I’m honored to be responsible for having people search for a name like Type O Negative. Whether [it’s] Iron Maiden or Frank Sinatra, or even Pavarotti, if you’re in this generation coming up, you want to be searching for those names. A lot of the music out there right now, it’s not giving these new kids a chance to identify with something of substance.”
The project, he says, took a couple of weeks to complete after he first heard the track, but only because he was limited to working on it piecemeal in between “actual paying jobs.” Knowing the importance of striking while the song was still fresh, the Archbishop Stepinac High School alum created a new YouTube account for Ten Second Songs, posting the 3:55-minute video on March 15. In less than a week, it rang up more than 3 million views, then scored a priceless spot on reddit’s front page. (Two weeks later, the channel had 150,000+ subscribers.) “It’s ridiculous. I never thought it was going to happen,” Valbiro says of the attention, which rushed in from outlets like Rolling Stone and the featured artists themselves. (Boyz II Men tweeted their admiration.)
Besides their main gig, Valbiro and his brother make up rock band Set The Charge. “The local music scene has been brewing for at least a couple years. Now it’s getting to a point where it’s about ready to explode,” Valbiro enthuses. “There are so many great acts here: Valence, And The Traveler, DangerHole—and you’ve got The Capitol Theatre getting artists like Rob Zombie coming through. I’m telling you right now, if we do this the right way, we can make Westchester the new Seattle.”