Discover the next Northwest sound
Sound Off! 2021
Now in its 20th year, MoPOP’s Sound Off! is the premier 21-and-under music showcase in the Pacific Northwest. This year, we’re celebrating a milestone anniversary of the program, which has built upon an incredible legacy in the local music scene.
Things may look a little different this year, but rest assured audiences and performers alike will still have the opportunity to experience the heart of where music is headed in the Northwest. With the help of our talented production team, eight selected artists recorded live sessions in MoPOP’s Sky Church, which we’ll broadcast in a single, standalone livestream, hosted by KEXP DJ Troy Nelson, and featuring two-song performances and brief artist interviews.
What makes Sound Off! so special? This rockin’ showcase exemplifies MoPOP’s mission to make creative expression a life-changing force by offering experiences that inspire and connect our communities. Sound Off! empowers tomorrow’s visionaries by giving participants the opportunity to showcase their original music in MoPOP’s Sky Church, connect with peer musicians, receive mentorship from industry leaders, and join an artistic community invested in welcoming them as full-fledged members of one of the nation’s most vibrant music scenes.
MAY 15, 2021
This program uses a pay-what-you-can ticket model — every little bit helps! All proceeds contribute to MoPOP programming, along with the preservation of our collection and our educational initiatives, all of which support our mission of making creative expression a life-changing force.
Web Presence: instagram.com/aurora.ave.the.band
Aurora Avenue is proof that necessity is the mother of invention. Forming a few months into the pandemic, the J-pop-influenced indie outfit with a 3-piece horn section has honed their bright pop songs in backyards and under carports. A culmination of the diverse music tastes of its members, Aurora Avenue blends their influences seamlessly into a sprawling, unique sound.
Web Presence: instagram.com/trevoreulau
Trevor Eulau is a composer and guitarist based in Seattle, Washington. He is equally at home in the classical, jazz and pop realms, writing music for string quartets, voice, jazz combos and rock/pop bands. Above all else, Trevor makes music that is visceral and that freely combines ideas from his disparate musical backgrounds.
Web Presence: cannxnmusic.com
CANNXN is all about blurring the lines between glitter and grunge. Mixing high-energy guitar riffs with sparkling synths and vocal melodies, their music transcends the pop genre by creating something organic. Starting as the solo project of Megan Cannon, CANNXN has since evolved to a collaboration between friends who want to capture lighting in a bottle.
Web Presence: instagram.com/brennabruce
Brenna Bruce captures a folk sound that makes you nostalgic for voices from the past. Moved by the honest writing and soothing melodies of Americana, she is inspired by the universality of telling stories through song and sound. She has one of those voices that captures all the air in the room, leaving the listeners stunned, curious, and viscerally connected to the present moment.
Federal Way, WA
Web Presence: soundcloud.com/kiddusfecto
The first thing you hear when Kiddus Fecto takes the stage is the deep bass of his voice, and though he immediately commands a space when he sings, you’re also drawn into the depth of his craft as a songwriter, producer, and performer. Swinging naturally between hip hop and R&B, and fiercely devoted to the music community, Kiddus lifts his listeners up.
Web Presence: instagram.com/sundust_music/
Rooted in Seattle, electronic duo Sundust combines the intensity of dance music and the melodicism of orchestral music to create new, yet accessible sonic landscapes. Building upon danceable beats, Xander Johns and Sam Clement lay down dazzling synth lines with bright bursts of saxophone and vocal melodies into songs that are impossible not to move to.
Web Presence: instagram.com/aurelioxvaldez
Aurelio Valdez is a Mexican-American, Seattle-born hip hop artist with a potent style. With songs about a range of topics, spanning from politics and history to identity and his upbringing, Aurelio’s music focuses on what it means to truly embody hip hop culture by empowering himself and his people. Influenced heavily by those who pioneered the culture such as Nas, 2pac, and KRS One, his alluring lyrics provoke thought with every track.
Web Presence: instagram.com/lexilalauni
Lexi Lalauni describes herself as a dreamer, lover, singer, songwriter, and performer. Her soaring, dynamic voice and contemplative lyrics show that she is all those things and more. Drawing inspiration from the natural world and a desire to connect directly to her listeners, Lexi’s brilliant mix of dream pop and indie style invites you along for a musical adventure.
THANKS TO OUR GENEROUS PARTNERS
Highlights from Sound Off! 2020
Seattle, WA — Singer/songwriter
A former concert pianist in-training and native of Seattle, Ry Lucia has been writing songs since age 14. With clever piano hooks, soft guitar, and honest lyrics, her music conjures up a feeling as cozy as sitting by the fireplace on a rainy day, and as raw as reading straight from someone's diary. She has been involved in Rain City Rock Camp for 11 years and has released one single, “General Welfare.” She is in the process of recording her debut album.
Edmonds, WA — Indie R&B
Raw and soulful, Seattle-based singer-songwriter Kaia’s vocals float effortlessly over melodic guitar and piano instrumentals. Drawing influence from artists like Clairo, Kehlani, and Jimi Hendrix, Kaia manages to deliver sultry, digital-age R&B laced with old school vibes. Having played the guitar since she was eight, she applies her technical experience throughout the creative process, and her authenticity can be felt and heard throughout each song.
Seattle, WA — Jazz/Fusion
Fusing jazz harmony, metal-inspired rhythm, chill vibes, funk, and traces of cyanide, Tiny Planet's sound is full of exciting musical contradictions and surprises. Since forming to play a benefit concert for refugees, the quintet has become not only a metaphorical spaceship for exploring far-reaching musical terrain, but also an excuse for them to simply hang out, go on adventures, and, as they explain it, be idiots together.
The Human Missile Crisis
Tukwila, WA — Punk/Experimental
Your first thought when listening to The Human Missile Crisis? There’s no way just two people could make a sound that big. The drum and bass duo blast out constant noise that swells, chirps, and moves with such frenzy that you expect it to come from a stage full of people.. Incorporating Hispanic and islander culture into raw, energetic, and heavy riffs, The Human Missile Crisis pushes the envelope of what experimental hardcore can be.
Portland, OR — Singer/songwriter
Searows is an indie pop/folk/rock project created by Alec Duckart, a 19-year-old singer-songwriter from Portland, Oregon whose lush vocals and reverb-drenched soundscapes could soothe the most savage listener. Alec began writing music in middle school (in lieu of doing any schoolwork) and never seemed to be able to stop. Alec names artists like Phoebe Bridgers, James Blake, Soccer Mommy, and Tamino as significant influences.
Bainbridge Island, WA — R&B
Armed with a few years of piano lessons and a love of confessional songwriting, Thomas Crowley (thom.ko) began creating beats and melodies in his bedroom, and released his first demo while still in high school. Since those formative years, he has traded his bedroom melodies for a more focused approach and continued to grow as an artist, carving out a distinct sonic niche for himself. With a distinct ear for arrangements, thom.ko deftly mixes genre and mood, creating songs that are unpredictable and endearing.
Seattle, WA — Hip-Hop
49th Parallel is a rap collective comprised of five friends who have been hanging out for as long as they can remember. Fun and friendship are at the core of everything they create, and their goal is to share that collective passion with everyone. Their debut album was the result of an artist residency on Lopez Island and a partnership with YouTube channel Yes Theory. Since then, 49th Parallel has set themselves on a path to build their community and share their music.
Seattle, WA — Punk
Mr. Dinkles is a power punk duo made up of Mac Rettig and Gretchen Elliot. Having met at School of Rock in Seattle, the two were always more interested in rocking out than high school drama. So they linked up and started writing songs about it. With influences like the Dead Kennedys, TacoCat, Bikini Kill, Rush, and SWMRS, these two bring classic punk together with current pop melodies, loud crunchy guitars, and plenty of catchy lyrics you can scream all day long.
Seattle, WA — Singer/songwriter
Mirabai Kukathas is a storyteller, playwright, spirited conversationalist, and singer-songwriter. She loves nothing more than telling an absurd story with an honest emotional core. People often tell Mirabai she was born in the wrong millennium, but she’d much rather be in this one, where she can vote and marry who she likes and watch WALL-E for the millionth time. But she does pull plenty of musical inspiration from the past, finding ways to blend ‘60s folk with contemporary pop and everything in between. Mirabai’s music is an act of healing; a confusing celebration of her culture, identity, and life.
Seattle, WA — R&B
Talaya. uses space and time as a three-dimensional canvas, painting depth into her music with powerful instrumentation, lyrics, and a keen ear for production. After joining The Residency in 2017 with no formal training and YouTube as her teacher, she embarked on what is now a life-long journey of connecting ears with hearts. As a testament to her quickly developing artistry, in May of 2019 she released a five-track self-produced EP titled “The Space Between.”
Seattle, WA — Jazz
For Seven Sky Spillios, life is music. He plays saxophone in eight Seattle-area bands, teaches 20 students a week, and still finds time to work on his own music, which is a dynamic fusion of classical composition and jazz-influenced improvisation and harmony. Not content to simply rest on his own work, he also writes music for other groups — including chamber and jazz ensembles— to perform, living out his belief that music is about connection and communicating where words often fail.
Woodinville, WA — Metal
David’s Van bring a lighthearted yet seriously technical approach to their comedic metal originals. The three met at School of Rock Seattle, leading their house band at local shows on national tours. They formed David’s Van in Spring 2019 to “put the fun back in metal.” No strangers to the stage, the three self-described “nice, goofy fellas full of shenanigans” are fresh out of the recording studio with a forthcoming release that is sure to delight their head-banging fans with their serious musical chops, infectious lyrics, and unmatched volume.