An apocalyptic episode is playing out in Riverhead this week as rising pop star Viktoria Tocca stars in her new music video, slated to debut on Halloween.
The Swedish singer has an opera and musical theater background, which has gained her a following in Europe, and in recent years she has turned her focus to popular music. For her new single, “Ready to Run,” Tocca envisioned a music video that takes the song’s title very literally.
“I’m quite known in Europe, and over here as well, for my very cinematic looking music videos,” Tocca said, during an interview Wednesday at the Dorothy P. Flint 4-H Camp, where the video is being filmed. For this shoot, she wanted something thrilling for Halloween. “I just threw it out there in a meeting and I thought everyone was going to hate it and laugh at me, but everyone was like, ‘That’s a really good idea.’”
Tocca plays the central character, who is struggling to survive with her husband and son. The real horror of the story is being kept quiet until the music video goes public October 31.
“The song, originally, is a very uplifting song. It’s supposed to be very inspirational,” Tocca said. She wrote “Ready to Run” about her feelings on changing directions in life—breaking away from her past and moving forward in her career.
“I did musical theater training, classical singing—that was my background,” Tocca said. “I even trained in opera for a little bit, but I switched from opera to musical theater because I liked the acting too much. Acting in opera is sometimes secondary to the singing because the singing is so important and so technical.”
She did not make a conscious plan to become a pop musician, but she likes to write her own music, and that’s the kind of music that comes out when she expresses herself, she explained.
“I always write my own lyrics, and then I usually collaborate with people on the melody or the music,” she explains. For “Ready to Run”—and “We’re Still Young, which reached Number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Sales—she worked with Tony Coluccio, who is famed for his dance mixes.
Tocca said her musical theater background and Coluccio’s dance music background made for a good mix.
The “Ready to Run” music video was conceived as a collaboration among Tocca, director Steven Sage Goldberg and writer Lee Kolinsky.
The first 40 seconds, before the music starts, sets the scene. “It should startle people right from the start,” Goldberg said.
Goldberg has wanted to use the 4-H Camp as a filming location for years, and this music video finally gave him the chance. He’s worked the stage at Country Fest Long Island there in the past, on the outskirts of the camp, and he’s long suspected that there was more to see.
“I knew there was something going on inside the woods,” Goldberg said. “Once I came inside the woods on this 178-acre property, there was no doubt in my mind that not only this music video, but a whole movie, a whole TV series could take place on this property. It’s perfect”
On Wednesday, Goldberg filmed Tocca and extras inside a desolate campsite with run-down cabins that haven’t been used or maintained in years.
In the music video, Tocca stumbles upon a band of survivors living in the campsite.
The extras were selected by Michael Zinn, the Smithtown photographer behind the Women of Armageddon and Men of Armageddon calendars. Zinn said he started the Women of Armageddon calendar as a spoof of old sexploitation movie posters, and it took on a life of its own. “It became a symbol of empowerment for women,” he said. “Women love the calendar because it shows them as symbols of strength and survival.”
He applied the same principles and much of the costume design to “Ready to Run.”
Come back October 31 to see the music video and for more behind-the-scenes photos and videos.