Sofàa Valdés Signals a Season of Change in New EP 'In Bloom'
Photo: Satchel Lee
Panamanian singer-songwriter Sofàa Valdés returns with a new five-track EP, In Bloom. The record picks up where her debut Ventura left off, with Valdés growing and maturing as an artist and young woman, as told by her personal relationships and shifting outlook on life. The collection of intimate and exposed audio portraits of Valdés' evolution is strung together with smooth and relaxing melodies completed by her cosmic vocals.
Speaking about the project, Valdés says, “For me, In Bloom means standing your ground and not letting anyone take you away from that moment. I was finding myself while I was writing the songs. I was going through a roller coaster of emotions which in every phase of it, I felt like I was changing, which I needed in order to pass the page. The song ‘In Bloom’ is a character that I made for myself. Someone I wanted to be like and look up to. This person that’s confident, firm, beautiful, and proud.”
The record opens with the reflective pop ballad “I Hate The Beatles.” The track contains a soft introspection that channels the kind of poignancy that comes with the aftermath of a breakup. The minimalistic instrumentation, which includes acoustic drums and her skillful harmonies on guitar, is beguiling and masterfully conveys intimate, raw emotions. Listeners are then met with the titular bilingual track, “In Bloom.” The gentle horn section and tingly guitar riffs enrapture listeners, keeping them hooked from start to finish. The song is accompanied by a visual directed by Satchel Lee that features Valdés amongst a floral backdrop with an angelic glow that conveys the song’s sentiment - growth from situations that are no longer of value.
“Carbon Copy” is an angsty ballad rife with longing that reflects Valdés' feelings of turmoil as she watches her ex replace her with someone who is a mirror image of herself. Her signature airy lilt fits perfectly with the song’s light instrumental, emphasizing the changes in her voice as she sings her heart out to her past lover. The record then takes this angst in a dance-inducing direction with “Parking Lots.” With its funky horn and rhythm sections, the summery track is confrontational and direct, with the artist matter-of-factly singing, “ So I’m singing with the girls in the parking lot / Gabby heard you had second thoughts / Out here pulling petals, do you love me or not?"
In Bloom ultimately ends on a poignant note with the finale, "Swim.” As airy piano, bittersweet lyrics, and evocative vocals decorate the soundscape, listeners can relate to that feeling of “part of me wishes I never met you in the first place.”
With the past year seeing Valdés not only releasing some of her best music yet but partnering with renowned luxury brand, Chanel, serving as a brand ambassador for their Latin American market, performing a set for NPR “World Cafe” from her home in Panama, and completing massively successful festival run that included Outside Lands and Lollapolooza, it's safe to say the 20-year-old artist is in full bloom.
Listen to In Bloom below: