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3 Questions With Sound Off! Winner Jason McCue

Jason McCue at Sound Off! 2017
Jason McCue at Sound Off! 2017

Only eight months since Seattle’s Jason McCue won the top prize at the 2017 Sound Off! competition and already he’s performed at some of the region’s top music festivals, released a new album, and has been featured in the Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, KING-TV, KEXP, ArtZone and other media outlets throughout region.

Now, MoPOP is looking for more young artists from the Pacific Northwest to compete in the region’s premier battle of the bands. (Deadline for submissions is November 7!)

We caught up with Jason to ask him to share his journey and advice to aspiring artists looking to compete next year.

"Do it for fun! Make a ton of friends! Do it because you love music!"

What’s changed since you won Sound Off! 2017?

I'm still a college student, and I still love playing and creating music just as much as before. What's changed is that the music-activities are all kind of at a different level now. For instance, I just got to work in VERA Project to mix my home recordings because one of the prizes was two days’ worth of studio time there. That's something I don't think I would have done if not for the opportunity I received.

As far as my performances, I got to play a good amount of incredible festivals this summer, including Timber!, Bumbershoot, and Folklife. I've been getting a decent amount of media attention too, which is fantastic, but also dangerous-- I have to keep myself in check every once in a while to make sure I'm not actively looking for that. It is cool to have those connections, though! Overall, my two dominating music-goals are still the same: to have fun, and (a little bit less) to try to impress my friends.

What’s next?

In the immediate future-- I'm gonna finish this Strategic Communications paper I'm currently working on, go home, make some ravioli, tell my roommate Peter goodnight, then go to bed.

In the further future-- I'm working on a new project right now that I'm reeeaaaaaally excited about. It's a full-length album that I should be announcing by mid-November. I'm going to work my butt off to show as many people as possible. But for now, stay tuned.

"Go, play your music passionately, be kind, be humble, be real, and leave happy no matter what."

What’s your advice to aspiring Sound Off! musicians?

Do it for fun! Make a ton of friends! Do it because you love music! Do it because you're excited about what you create! 

It's way easy to get caught up in the glam of it all, and to get consumed by (1) the competition part and (2) what-will-happen-if-I-win part. And that makes sense, too! Tons of people, both affiliated with the event as well as my friends were constantly asking me about those components that I didn't consider too mentally healthy to think about. Don't take those parts, or yourselves too seriously. Your experience with Sound Off! will be a whole lot better that way. Go, play your music passionately, be kind, be humble, be real, and leave happy no matter what. You're playing music in arguably the coolest music-city in the world, and no freakin' judge with a clip-board can take that away from you.

Check out Jason’s music on Facebook, Bandcamp, or SoundCloud.

Wanna be a part of Sound Off! 2018?

Sound Off!

About the author

Adrienne is a writer and editor from Seattle and is MoPOP's Content Wizard (patent pending).