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June 16, 2015

Flash of Genius

Carlos Valdés's career is taking off in a...flash.

Jon Matsumoto

With Carlos Valdés’s acting career flying along, it’s fitting he was cast in The Flash, the CW series about a superhero with blinding speed.

Valdés, who plays mechanical-engineering genius Cisco Ramon, moved to New York in 2011 after graduating from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s in musical theater. By the fall he was touring with the cast of the Jersey Boys. Then came a year-long stint with the Broadway musical Once.

When Valdés began auditioning for television in January 2014, he immediately hit pay dirt.

“My first audition was in New York for The Flash,” he recalls.“In less than two weeks, I was in Los Angeles auditioning for the studio and the network.”

Now, with the successful drama — an Arrow spinoff — approaching season two, Valdés happily reports that the drama’s producers (they include Greg Berlanti) are committed to bringing more cultural depth and backstory to Cisco.

Born in Colombia, Valdés moved to Miami at age five with his mother and brother. He spent his teen years in Marietta, Georgia, where his love of music and theater blossomed.

“Being part of a Latin American culture, especially the one that I come from, music and dancing are principal elements,” notes the multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. “It’s in our blood. I didn’t notice my musical abilities until I was 14 or 15. Then I went off like a rocket. Suddenly, I was composing, playing and singing.”

Under the moniker Tha Los, Valdés has contributed to two albums of songs that offer elements of pop, funk and soul. 

Music may be in his blood, but Valdés is relishing his work on the The Flash, based on the DC Comics superhero.

The Flash isn’t just about doing television,” he points out. “I am thrilled to be able to delve into a complete comic-book mythology.”

And just as thrilled that it came together so quickly. As he notes, “It all happened in a flash, so to speak.”

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