Sofía Valdés Has a Corgi With a Sour Patch Kid Personality
The musician’s pup (and love-song muse), Padmé, dabbles a bit in the art of...revenge.
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Panamanian singer Sofía Valdés comes from a storied line of musicians, including her great-grandfather Miguelito Valdés and great-grandmother Silvia De Grasse, a singer who performed alongside Louis Armstrong. Her latest EP is called In Bloom, an aptly titled release that captures her sweetly escapist introspective pop music. “I’ve been recording a lot,” says Valdés, who chatted with The Wildest during a visit to LA. “[I’m] just trying to speak my truth, you know, and find a sound for whatever it is that I’m feeling.”
Some of those feelings were inspired by her dog, Padmé, (named after the Star Wars character, who’s mother to Luke and Leia Skywalker). The puppy came to her as a surprise during the pandemic, when she was grieving the loss of another pet. The Wildest asked Valdés what it was like to raise a puppy during quarantine — while working on her first EP. And the stories are colorful, to stay the least.
You have a Corgi!
She’s tiny. She’s cute and sassy. And she’s evil, but she’s also so nice and so sweet and so smart. I feel like I’m talking about my daughter! My dog is now a year and a half. She’s a mixture between two kinds of Corgis. One of the Corgis has different colors. And then this other one looks like a very traditional Corgi. Her mom literally looks like a cow but is a Corgi with black white and brown spots all over her body. Both her eyes are bright blue like a Husky, so it’s really weird.
You said she’s sweet and kind of evil, so of course I have to know what the evil part is.
She will do this thing where if you don’t greet her how she likes to be greeted, if you don’t play with her when she wants to play…she’ll jump on my bed, look at me, and then pee on my pillow out of anger. If she sees a [travel] bag being opened, she’ll get in the bag. She doesn’t want me to leave. So, she’ll wait ’til the things are put in the bag, and then the moment you leave for a second, she’ll go in the bag and pee all over the stuff.
Corgis are back in demand after Queen Elizabeth’s death sparked so much talk about them. How did you get her?
She came into my life at a dark time. In Panama, the pandemic was really bad. You could barely go out at all. I had my little Shitzu. She was 18 years old and was passing away. We were heartbroken about her being really sick. She could barely even walk. She had doggy Alzheimer’s, so she would only walk in circles. She had forgotten how to go to the bathroom. We had to fully help her. And then I was going through a breakup.
My mom’s friend had a Corgi that was pregnant. When they had the babies, they called my mom. They didn’t want to just give them away to people they don’t know. So, they gave us one. And it’s actually so funny because we know the family. We know everyone that has her siblings. We will have, like, Corgi gatherings: mom, dad, all siblings playing [together].
When you’re home in Panama, do you take her to the beach?
Yes. Oh, my God, she’s like a mermaid. The moment we get to the beach, I’ll always just let her go. She loves swimming. And she likes playing with balls and sticks. But she also likes chasing me [on the beach]. Her best friend is Domino. He’s a bigger dog, a rescue — my mom’s cousin’s dog. And they like to go to the beach together.
What is she like when you’re working on music?
Before the first EP, I was at home all the time because of the pandemic. She was, like, four months old. It was super crazy because when I would try to talk to the producer or whatever — we’re trying to figure out a song I’m going to record — I’ll have to stop because she needed to play every, like, 30 minutes. And I had to feed her a lot. And she wanted to go outside. She was screaming and crying a lot. I was potty-training her as well. It was a lot.
When I played the piano, she wouldn’t want me to be playing...So, she would just get in front of me and start biting on the piano. Or, I have this little room in my house where I could fully close [the door], so I could practice. She would look at me outside from the window. I would try to make TikToks, and she would just lay on my lap and try to bite the strings of the guitar.
You come from such a rich musical background and started playing the guitar when you were eight. Did you know from a very young age that you would become a musician?
I remember being, like, six or five or something, and I was playing with dolls. I had a pony, and [someone was] like, “Make your pony sing.” I just remember in that moment, being very comfortable with just like, “Oh yeah, ’cause I’m gonna be a singer.” I do think my family influenced me a lot. I think about how much they love music, and how much they care. Culture is such a big part of the music, obviously. And they just did it so well. So much care goes into it. They just go for it.
How did you decided to go the singer-songwriter/pop route?
I never saw myself as pop. I wouldn’t put it in any category. I’m influenced by so many little things. There’s a Latin influence in my songs, but it’s really subtle, like the way the guitar is played.
Have you written any songs inspired by Padmé?
I actually have. It’s this sad love song. It was about how much I loved her and how I couldn’t be with her at the moment [in LA] because she was back home [in Panama]. But it sounds like I’m like singing about someone. That song is not out yet.
Is there a particular song that she likes?
I don’t think so. But I do remember her [watching] one of [my] live performances on TV. And she was about to attack the TV, barking at the TV, like, a lot. But I think it’s because she just doesn’t like TVs.
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Nisha Gopalan has been a writer/editor for The New York Times, New York magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and NYLON magazines. She currently resides in Los Angeles.