By Connor Beach
Replicating the iconic sound of Steve Perry, lead singer of legendary rock band Journey, is a tough task, but it’s a challenge singer-songwriter Hugo Valenti has embraced as frontman of cover band Voyage.
Valenti, who signed deals with record labels like Columbia and RCA in the ’80s, said his voice was always compared to Perry’s, and he decided to take advantage of the similarities 17 years ago when he founded Voyage.
Valenti, 54, of Islip, is joined on stage by bassist Greg Smith, guitarist Rob Hoffman, drummer Charlie Zeleny and Al Spinelli on keyboard. And the group is set to play The Paramount later this month.
The hardest part about emulating Perry’s voice, Valenti said, is matching his vocal inflections.
The way “he cradles notes and how he sings them, it’s a different world,” Valenti said. “It’s a challenge either way… the notes will be there, but if the texture’s not there, you beat yourself up.”
Voyage has made an art out of mastering Journey’s sound, and Valenti’s success with Perry’s lyrics have brought “legions” of loyal fans to the band’s multiple shows at The Paramount in Huntington.
“It’s always a great night out,” Valenti said. “We have a great relationship with everybody at The Paramount, and they’re so happy with what we bring to them too.”
Voyage has “been around a long time,” and that experience means the band has the entire Journey catalog of incredible songs to work with.
“We’re playing this great catalog of music that everyone can sing-a-long to… It feels great, it sounds great and people respond to it,” Valenti said.
With contemporary top 40 radio stations playing “the same songs over and over again,” Valenti said Voyage offers something that a lot of people “really miss.”
Voyage’s renditions of Journey’s hits remind older fans of the “old days,” while younger fans get to hear the music their parents grew up on.
“We feed off the people,” Valenti said. “Even if it’s your first Voyage show, everybody who comes down ends up telling two or four friends.”
Voyage is slated to take the stage at The Paramount on Friday, July 27, and doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $15-$30 and can be purchased the box office or online at Paramountny.com.