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Call Her Original: Sound Off! Alumni Artist Spotlight

Sound Off! Alumni Zari Alexandria
Sound Off! Alumni Zari Alexandria

It’s Sound Off! season again, and we’re reconnecting with previous SO! participants to see where they are now, how they’re doing, and what amazing things they have in store.

Zari Alexandria was just nineteen when she joined Sound Off! 2023, and this indie pop singer-songwriter was an immediate fan favorite with her catchy, genre-bending sound,  commitment to advocacy, and indisputable talent for lyrical storytelling.

We were lucky to get a chance to catch up with Zari given her wildly busy life earning two majors (and a minor!), growing her music career, and diving into a new love for content creation.

We’ll let her tell you all about it, but don’t forget the next wave of incredible young Northwest artists takes to MoPOP’s Sky Church stage Saturday, February 17th for the first Sound Off! showcase of 2024! 

Can you share some background information on your band such as your artist/ band name, what genre of music you play, and what year you participated in Sound Off!?

My stage name is Zari Alexandria. Fun fact: It’s my first and middle name. Alexandria would be a cool last name, but this is a good middle ground. I’m an indie pop artist who takes influences from other genres such as R&B, alternative, and 80s dance music. I participated in Sound Off! in 2023!

What are two of your biggest achievements since participating in Sound Off!?

Achievement 1: Opening for R&B artist Baby Rose at Concerts at the Mural on August 3, 2023. It was the first CATM since 2019, and I played a 30-minute set on the Mural Stage at the Seattle Center. It was free for all ages, and as someone who works to make shows more accessible, this was a huge opportunity to perform and to be a part of something many people could watch. My friends and family saw the show, and it was one of my favorite performances. Also, Baby Rose is AMAZING. Her voice is soulful and unique, and she’s sweet and hyped me up a lot. It was an honor to support her and work with KEXP. 

Achievement 2: Getting to work on things outside of performing! I signed up for Sound Off! to improve my performing skills, but also to learn more about the behind-the-scenes of the music and entertainment industry. Jordan Leonard, Sound Off!’s Producer, shared an opportunity to apply to the Bumbershoot Workforce and Development Program with me, and I got accepted, which led to me finding a love for content creation and social media thanks to an internship placement with TeenTix. I now work as a social media associate at my university as well as making music. It’s fun to use my creativity in different ways, and I plan to utilize my skills to promote my own and others' projects in the future. 

Can you describe your best show since Sound Off? What made it memorable?

My favorite show since Sound Off! was Concerts at the Mural, for sure. I practiced so much for that show, and it paid off. People cheered as I did some riffs and runs and held notes for freaking ever (I surprised myself, too). I was confident asking for crowd participation for the first time, and it was a success! Shoutout to people clapping along to the music and yelling, “Hey, hey, hey!” My mom, brother, and friends were all dancing to “Be Gone,” the last song I played in my set. A kid and their father danced together, too, which was so sweet! A few of my friends from high school brought a poster that I now have on the wall of my room. My amazing friend and creative director, Karli, helped me make my first merch item: magnets that said, “I went to CATM, and all I got was the magnet!” It was so much fun, and I enjoyed the energy.

Was there support you received after Sound Off! that helped you further your career?

I absolutely received support! Jordan and I had a meeting to help me plan out the release of my latest EP, Do You Like My Songwriting? Making a reverse schedule from the day of release backward was super helpful. I didn’t think I would release it in 2023, but thanks to his help, I got it out in September. He’s such a great mentor and cheerleader. And now I know the benefits of a reverse schedule. Thanks, Jordan!

What areas did Sound Off! help you grow in?

Sound Off! helped me get accustomed to talking to people helping with the shows I’m in, from the talent buyers in the beginning process to the audio engineers and the crew during soundcheck. Turns out you can ask to turn yourself up in the monitors?! Crazy. Also, Sound Off! helped me practice networking. I used to find it hard to put myself out there and connect with people. Working with the MoPOP team and other artists made me more comfortable talking to and building relationships with like-minded artists.

What are your plans for the future? 

  • Graduate college in May 2025. That’s the biggest thing. I love what I’m studying. I’m a Communication (film and media studies) and Gender, Sexuality, and Race Studies double major with a music minor at Pacific Lutheran University. Yes, I’m doing that all in four years. I’m also ready to apply it to my life outside of academia.
  • More music! I finished producing a song I wrote in 2022 that I’m excited to release. Hopefully, it’ll be out by the end of Q1 or the beginning of Q2.
  • I also want to book more shows, particularly during the summer when I have more time to focus on them. I have quite a few venues I want to reach out to, but my ultimate goal for this year is to do a show at Chop Suey.
  • Long-term goals: Be a full-time musician, learn how to mix and master my music, and be a content creator for other artists! Again, that’s after college.

Do you have any specific memories of Sound Off! that you'd like to share?

  • Bonding with defsharp over both of us being in a cappella groups at our respective universities.
  • Walking around the different MoPOP exhibits during our free time with lavenderhayez and Sadie Hale.
  • Interacting with MidPak any chance I had. They’re so chill and hilarious. They’re super talented and so in tune with each other when they perform together. It’s amazing.

Is there anything else you'd like to mention that we didn't ask?

Support creatives and people in the music and entertainment industry, especially locally and those in minority groups!  Whether that’s musicians, producers, engineers, or concert venue staff members, support us!

Follow along with Zari Alexandria on Instagram: @zari_alexandria

More about Sound Off!:

See the Sound Off! 2024 Showcases  

Read more about Sound Off! ▸

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