Panamanian singer-songwriter Sophía Valdés has had a whirlwind start to her career. At only 20 years old, the young artist just released her debut EP Ventura in the middle of the pandemic after being forced to return home from her university in the UK. Only a few months earlier, on a trip to Los Angeles over Christmas break, she signed to Warner Records. Her dreamy, melancholic pop has garnered considerable buzz since Ventura’s February release, and the project’s opener, “Handful of Water,” is Dan’s DJ Pick of the Week.
Valdés comes from a musical family— her great-grandfather was Cuban musician Miguelito Valdés, and her great-great-grandmother, Silvia De Grasse, was a renowned Panamanian singer who performed with Louise Armstrong. It’s no surprise that she first picked up a guitar at the early age of eight, or that her first original song followed shortly after when she was just thirteen. After becoming obsessed with making music, she applied and was accepted to a fine arts high school in Michigan. Here she would master the English language before moving on to the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, founded by none other than Paul McCartney, for college.
As a sophomore, she found herself back home in Panama after the onset of the pandemic shut down universities the world over. It is from here that Ventura was remotely co-produced by Valdés and Oscar Schiller (Charli XCX, Connie Constance), which she described on her Instagram as feeling “like we are all in a long distance relationship.” The product of their collaboration is natural and intimate in direct contradiction to the logistical challenges they faced while working together.
On the catchy opener “Handful of Water,” Valdés sounds casual yet honest. The song’s breezy atmosphere has repeatedly been described as “beachy,” which she leans directly into on the track’s visualizer. Simultaneously lulling and captivating, “Handful of Water” is irresistible.
Be sure to tune into 100.1 FM or lightning100.com to hear “Handful of Water” by Sophía Valdés featured as Dan’s DJ Pick of the Week. Be sure to let us know your thoughts! Tweet at us with #L100DJPick and share your take on the track.