A household name in his native country, Valentino Mitaj is already a bona fide pop star. In fact, the music he makes is best identified as “popular music” in native Albania, a genre which features traditional folk beats & instruments, set to an updated contemporary tempo. Now based in Detroit & LA, Valentino is looking to change the game with his energetic tunes.
His latest music video, “Beautiful People,” is directed by Ulysses Terrero, known for helming hits like 50 Cent’s “Disco Inferno.” Terrero’s illustrious career as a casting director has seen him working with directors like Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale,) Abel Ferrara (‘R Xmas) and Jim Jarmusch (Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.) There’s a narrative thread that can be woven through these influences—one that features urban landscapes and the intricate, multifaceted people who reside there.
This is exactly the world we find ourselves in “Beautiful People”—although it’s pointedly (and refreshingly) painted with a pop brush. The video is on-brand with Valentino’s image, which is one of unabashed positivity. Vibrant people, representing many different cultures, come together to form a massive block party cum rooftop shindig. Valentino’s vision is an invitation to choose light over darkness, a plea to come together amidst divisiveness, and ultimately a call for unity—in the purest form of the word.
His upcoming album, the eponymous “Beautiful People” is Valentino’s biggest project to date, as it’s his first English-language full-length record. Like the newly released single, the album is chockfull of pure pop fun. The sound, self-described as “worldwide happy,” is meant to inspire an infectious party vibe. Essentially, it is feel good music for the grown-up crowd. Out of the eight tracks on the album, Valentino is particularly excited for “Hey DJ” and “Be Free,” both written by Valentino himself.
Predominantly dance, Valentino’s music benefits largely from pop and EDM influences. Because of his multi-cultural upbringing, he is able to blend various styles and trends in his songs. As a songwriter, he’s penned dozens of hit songs in many different languages as he’s fluent in Albanian, Italian, Greek, and Spanish.
His videos have amassed a substantial following on YouTube, thanks to Valentino’s widespread fame. An EP released earlier this year shows a honing of the genre most commonly known as world music, but it’s tentatively fashioned for a new audience—as if Rihanna & DJ Khaled had created something after living in the Mediterranean for a year.