We had the good fortune of connecting with Soledad and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Soledad, why did you pursue a creative career?
I have grown up surrounded by creativity since I was a little girl. From creating full music videos and performances in my basement with my three sisters, to watching my uncles play in their rock bands, to dancing in the living room listening to our grandmother sing her eclectic array of Mexican polkas, Motown records, etc., I knew nothing but this beautiful lifestyle of music. I can remember times back in elementary school screaming Christina Aguilera and Paramore in my garage until 2 a.m. on school nights. I look back at my sisters and me making cover videos and always being the only one not to burst out in laughter after the second verse. I remember trying to imagine what I wanted to be when I grew up, and of course, I thought about being a paleontologist, or an air force pilot, or a veterinarian, but being a performer was always above the rest. Being a singer was always the only thing I felt was made for me. I started posting covers of my favorite songs to get more comfortable sharing my voice and ended up joining my first singing competition at 13. My passion for performing grew throughout middle school and into high school, continuing dance at “Gotta Dance Studios” and joining theatre at the “Warren Consolidated School of Performing Arts”. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college (2019) that I finally started taking my music and songwriting seriously. “Get Fresh Studio” in Detroit, MI. was the first time I got to experience recording music in an actual studio. I’ve never felt so nervous yet so entirely ready for anything until that point. I’m sure every artist can relate to the indescribable release you get stepping into the booth. The sense of vulnerability hearing your voice let out your thoughts. That feeling beyond exhilaration when your finished track is booming through the speakers in the studio. There is no proper way to explain the light that came to life inside of me when I made my first song. But that…That is what pushed me to completely dive into this passion of mine. That feeling has been my rock for about four years now, and I can’t see myself living without it. This path has given me my own type of therapy, letting me speak from my soul and to others. It has built up my confidence from being a shy little girl to someone eager to go on stage in front of my loved ones that believe in me and gain the support of those I get to share my music with along the way. I pursue being an artist because of the route to growth and the fulfillment following my dreams has given me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My full name is Racquel Soledad Tompkins and I grew up in Metro Detroit, MI on what my family likes to call, “Zapinski Street”. My parents and 3 sisters grew up in a lil house right across from my beautiful grandparents and surrounded by my aunts, uncles, and cousins- in a world full of music, love, and fiestas! I spent a lot of time across the street with my grandma Soledad, she was basically a second mother to me. She’d chase my sister and me up & down the halls, make us salsa around the living room, and sing us to sleep like an angel. She blessed me with a different type of love for music. Her incredible talents fell upon all her children. Giving my uncles-who formed a band together growing up- their gifts. Every holiday growing up we got to listen to them jam out in our backyards or at a party in the basement where one of us always got pulled up to play the tambourine, sing some background vocals, or be backup dancers. (Those were the best times!)
A lot of people have asked me why my artist name is Soledad (Soh-Lay-Dahd). Being named after my grandmother, I remember being younger and learning that my middle name meant solitude, (the state or situation of being alone), and I wondered why I was named after something that I’ve never felt before. I was surrounded by my loved ones all the time- I didn’t know what it was like to feel alone. To feel lonely.
Until 2009. My grandmother, my angel- passed away. The same person to give me my name, made me understand the meaning of loneliness to the fullest.
Going back to school after losing her, I began to write a lot- just write and write- Poems, stories, my thoughts, and some of my first songs. These things became my way of expressing myself and communicating what was going on in my head, they just poured out from the heart. My mother says she thinks my grandmother’s soul went into mine once she passed away, and I wouldn’t doubt that a piece of her is living through me.
I go by Soledad because-that day I did start to feel everything a little bit deeper. I found peace in the solitude of expressing myself this way and made something beautiful out of it. Music has developed into my ultimate form of expression. It is where I find myself my most comfortable yet most vulnerable. There is a different side to me when music is involved- it truly is Soledad.
I hope I make her proud every day and that she is staring down at me performing, just as bright-eyed as I was watching her perform for me growing up.<333
After graduating high school, I jumped into the world of music, without any idea of where to start really. I chose this dream, caught on, and made it happen- whether it was picking up on little engineering tips in the studio, collaborating with other artists around me, or throwing myself into uncomfortable situations. I started by competing in singing competitions, performing my music around Detroit, then eventually packing my car to move to Los Angeles.
I’ve already had to fall and get back up a million times- growing through the pandemic, coming back from tonsil surgery, leaving my loved ones & hometown, etc- these challenges tested my ability to push through and changed my course drastically. I have gone through the highs and lows of following my dreams yet it’s done nothing but make me fall in love with the rush more. Failing and finding my way out of the difficulties has taught me more than any class/mentor/or advice anyone could’ve given me.
Dance was my first love growing up and this career has given me the chance to showcase that in myself and the amazing dancers/choreographers in my community. I’ve started merging my movement into my songs, music videos, and performances by collaborating with the most creative minds, Olivia Bonich [choreographer/dancer] on my upcoming music video for “High” feat. 3amsoundz and assistance on stage at the “Fio Show” by Ronuelle Teodoro [choreopgraher/dancer] for my performance of “Faded”. Dance is a huge factor in why I began singing in the first place and being able to intertwine the two has been truly fulfilling.
[Extremely grateful for the help from these dancers as well: Zoie Stratton, Hannah Pefley, Amelia Lewis, Emily Hooper]
From the start of my career, to now, I have managed to grow my network, knowledge, and connections around the world, book wonderful shows in and out of state and reach the hearts of soo many people by sharing my experiences and my soul through music. I am forever proud of all the achievements I have accomplished on my own this early in my career and beyond thankful for the help from my family, friends, producer, and those following my journey- making countless hours, sleepless nights, and stressful days all worthwhile. The support, feedback, and appreciation from those keeping up with this crazy adventure has been unreal and I wouldn’t have these opportunities without you all (THANK YOUUU!!). This has been a rollercoaster full of exhilaration pumping through my body and my stomach dropping with nerves- but I know, without a doubt, that this is the life I will put my all into. I am truly excited for the road ahead of me – for the wonderful memories i’ll make, the people I’ll meet, and to just grow and have fun with my circle.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Every time I’ve had a loved one come visit me in LA, you know gotta do your round with em’! Starting with all the touristy things, of course, like seeing the Hollywood stars, walking along the Santa Monica pier, or browsing through the stores on Rodeo. Yet, everyone’s favorite spot is always on top of a view or beside the ocean. Malibu has definitely become one of my favorite spots to lay by the water and release with my crew.
If it’s a Sunday, Melrose is the place to be! Stores and restaurants along the street are poppin’ and lead you directly to the Melrose Trading Post (Located at Fairfax High School). This weekly market has an abundance of one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted, and unique fashion/furniture/vintage goods/etc. You can catch the perfect vibe by grabbing some brunch at Fratelli or Blu Jam Cafe, stopping by the Pure Heart collection to say what’s up to my boy Wave, and browsing through the endless selections at the Trading Post! (You might even catch some fire performances in the back!)
I also love showing my people a great dance floor!!!
We all know, the dancefloor doesn’t mean a thing if the music ain’t right and that’s why I’ve found my FAVORITE DJ in Los Angeles, Mr. Dominic Carter. A beautiful and insanely talented soul- When he’s around you know the vibe is ON and he will bring you LIFE. Coming from a dance background himself, he knows how to get the people movin’. He has experienced my friends and I dance the night away beside him at places like- Nightingale and Poppy- & he never-ever disappoints!!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give the BIGGEST shoutout to my favorite supporters, my #1 fanbase; my amazing family. They have seen this passion grow in me since I was a little girl putting on shows for them in the living room, now being front row at every show, singing my songs word for word.
To my momma, I wouldn’t be the singer I am today without you. I have very vivid memories of my mother singing her heart out during our long car rides or on holiday mornings when she’s making a big ol’ meal. I couldn’t help but sit and admire the feeling, the soul, the depth in her voice. (I used to secretly know all the words to her country music that I would tell her to turn off, shhh!) She has introduced my mind to a plethora of music and allowed me to see passion built through them.
To my pops, who wants to be my tour bus driver one day! Thank you for doing your absolute best to make this journey easier for me. From airbrushing my own merch (he is the greatest artist), to building me a home studio and learning about everything that comes with that, and being someone to bounce creativity off of always. He has supported my art every step of the way and will always be the first to jump when I need a helping hand. This man would build me a flying stage if wanted one!
I couldn’t imagine being at the level of dance and performance I am at all, without my oldest sister Ciara. She was my first and forever favorite dance teacher, pushing me out of my shell and letting me find my own style. We both grew up in dance, but being far apart in age, we learned to dance through different lenses and different techniques. I would watch her on stage at competitions and be in awe, hoping one day I could be as talented as her. Cici was one of my biggest inspirations growing up, giving me the motivation to explore dance, even outside of a studio. We eventually joined minds and started choreographing and teaching together, giving us both the opportunity to be inspired by each other’s styles.
To my Angel, my bodyguard, the loudest at my shows. She was one of the number one people to push me to take my career seriously. My older sister believed in me to the fullest, ever since we were little making music videos in the basement and enough to convince me to move to Los Angeles to follow my dreams. Whether I’m 2,000 miles away or right by her side, she has forever made sure I am doing what I love and that I am happy. Thank you, Angel, for being my favorite sound right before I perform. Always. “THAT’S MY SISTER” -Angel
and to my youngest sister and best friend for life, the one who pushes me the most without even knowing, CaraLena. We’ve been attached at the hip since she was born and I’ve forever wanted to be the greatest influence on her. She has been my ride or die – right by my side at every event, staring back at me smiling. From assisting me at music video shoots, to sitting in on hour-long sessions with me in the studio, to working through show orders and everything behind the scenes before a performance, she has been riding alongside my journey since the beginning. Ever since we used to live our dream lives through our Bratz Dolls. My greatest motivation.
Christine Purdy Ari Smith Devohn Piercefield