Sound Off!

The Northwest’s premier 21 and under battle of the bands.

  1. Hip-hop group COSMOS took the top prize at Finals 2016, winning them performance spots at Sasquatch! Music Festival and Bumbershoot, plus a ton of new gear, professional industry consultations, and more. 

    Photo by Brady Harvey.

  2. Dre’zy and Too Smoove delivered a powerful and inventive performance that garnered their Semifinals #3 win, and the title of Audience Favorite for the evening.

    Photo by Brady Harvey.

  3. Congratulations were in order for doo-wop and R&B master artist Paris Alexa, who was the second Semifinals winner at Sound Off! 2016.

    Photo by Brady Harvey.

  4. Animal Camera took home the Wild Card title at Semifinals #2, with their dramatic performance. They were then selected by MoPOP's Youth Advisory Board as the Wild Card band to perform at Finals.

    Photo by Brady Harvey.

An annual event since 2001, MoPOP’s Sound Off! supports the all-ages scene by giving artists an opportunity to showcase original music on a large platform, launch their music careers, and connect with peer musicians, industry leaders, and other members of the artistic community invested in supporting their success and growth.

Now in its 16th year, Sound Off! has paved the way for some amazing bands and artists including The Lonely Forest, Dyme Def, Sol, Dave B, Naked Giants, Kithkin, Schoolyard Heroes, Tomten, Brite Futures, as well as members of Beat Connection, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Cumulus, Oberhofer, La Luz, Kairos and more. From Seattle and Portland to Vancouver and Boise, groups or solo musicians playing all genres of music are encouraged to submit original material for consideration.

Sound Off! judges, partners, and mentors include major music festivals, journalists, radio DJs, venues, bookers, alumni, record labels, recording studios, all-ages music community organizers, and more. Through its partners, Sound Off! has been able to connect artists with bookings at high-profile venues and partnerships across the region such as Bumbershoot, Sasquatch! Music Festival, KEXP, and the Capitol Hill Block Party.

Sound Off! Info + More

Eligibility

Participants must be age 21 or under and residents of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or British Columbia.

Selection

Three panels review all the applicants, choosing twelve bands to perform live at EMP. Panels include EMP’s Youth Advisory Board, EMP staff, and music industry professionals. Bands are scored based on song composition and arrangement, creativity and originality, technical ability and musicianship. All categories will be weighted equally. Following are examples of questions the judges may consider when rating bands:

Composition and Arrangement

How strong is the songwriting/composition (musical arrangement, lyrics, harmonies, instrumentation, rhythm, use of technology etc)?

Creativity

Does the music sound inspired? Do they have an artistic identity? Are they bringing something interesting to their genre?

Technical Ability and Musicianship

How impressive is the musicianship? Are they proficient with instruments, vocals, and in time and/or in tune?


Band selection criteria subject to change without notice.

For more Sound Off! info and to connect with other musicians in the Northwest, check out EMP’s all-ages music Facebook page, The Soundboard. Download the Rules + Regulations or FAQ (PDFs) to learn more.

Questions?

Email SoundOff@MoPOP.org