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Meet Trailblazer Sophia Valenzuela

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sophia Valenzuela.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Sophia. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
I was born and raised in San Diego; Mira Mesa to be exact. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I was heavily influenced by the music of those eras (as many of us were). I was surrounded by friends who were DJs, their siblings were DJs, and yes, I even dated a DJ. So naturally, my friends and I would tag along on gigs. At some point towards the end of high school, the gigs slowed down as we all had to figure out what we wanted to be when we grew up.

My friends went to SDSU or UCSD while I sporadically took college courses at Miramar and Mesa College. In early 1997, I found myself looking for a job and ended up at a financial institution. I began working my way up the corporate ladder desperate to prove myself. Fast forward to the present, I’ve proven myself and then some and am still happily plugging along at the same company. I have been with my wonderful husband for 20 years, and we have two sweet and energetic kids. But once you reach 40 years old and your kids can walk home from school together, you are allotted more time to refocus on yourself, specifically on those earlier interests that took a backseat to life.

A couple of years ago, my family and I were attending a birthday party for one of our nieces. As usual, our friend was on the turntables and was “spinning a tune as the old folks dance at your family reunion.” I didn’t know that The Fresh Prince’s ‘Summertime’ “could spark up nostalgia.” But all of a sudden the memories began flooding back, and that was when I had the aha moment. I then turned to my husband and asked him for DJ equipment for Christmas. And so DJ Sophresh was born. With the advent of the internet, a couple of great mentors and a lot of practice, I was able to pick up the art relatively quickly. What started out as a fun hobby suddenly transformed into more! I was soon playing at various birthdays and celebrations, multiple events at a couple of local gyms and even a family retreat dinner for a nonprofit organization.

Historically, the DJ world has been a male-dominated industry. However, the recent explosion of female DJs everywhere within the past few years speaks volumes to the culture, and that we too can get the party going, no matter how big or small. Whether you’re spinning for a big crowd, or simply playing jams for your kids at home, it is always a fun experience…often times therapeutic!

Has it been a smooth road?
It is always challenging yet intriguing to try something new. While I was learning the art of DJing, I was also working a full-time job and balancing my responsibilities as a wife and a mom. On top of all that, now I’m learning to manage a side business!

I’m very lucky though because my family has been very patient and encouraging; they are my biggest supporters and my loudest cheerleaders. They have become used to my spinning at odd times of the day; 30 minutes before leaving for work or in the afternoon when the kids are running through the house with their friends.

We’d love to hear more about smoov® Sound & Design.
My husband Mike, a crazy talented graphic designer with over 18 years of experience, did a lot of freelance work. It was pretty much inevitable that we would end up providing DJ and design services for the same clients. Our unique combination of services, coupled with the positive feedback and support we were receiving, encouraged us to officially open our own business — smoov® Sound & Design. We offer local DJ services as well as creative marketing & design, corporate identity & logo creation, and social media design & content.

Because of the industries we’re involved in, event planning has coincidentally became a service quite paramount to our recent success. In October, we helped our client host their first ever RUNFORCE 5K Fun Run/Walk to raise awareness against bullying. From concept to completion, we played a significant role in the overall planning of the event and handled the sound and all graphic design aspects (i.e., social media, marketing, signage, etc.). This was, by far, our biggest project to date and we can say with absolute pride and elation that it was a smashing success!

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
At the beginning of high school, my friends and I had so much fun tagging along with the DJs. We would help transport the Cerwin Vegas (speakers) and unload the record crates. Though, I don’t think we were allowed to touch or move the Technics (turntables).

I was clearly a product of my childhood environment where I was surrounded by DJs. And even now, as an adult, I’m still surrounded by them. The same friends from my childhood, who are still my friends now, are the reason that I was inspired to learn the art of DJing.

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Image Credit:

Mike Valenzuela

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