Q&A with 2018 MoPop Sound Off! Champion Micaiah Sawyer

Singer and songwriter since she was 12 years old, Micaiah Sawyer offers a glimpse into her career and what’s next after Sound Off!
| Updated: November 27, 2018

Micaiah Sawyer was this year's winner of the Museum of Popular Culture's "Sound Off!" competition, the region's top under-21 battle of the bands. Runners-up include Strawberry Mountain, Misundvrstood and Maiah Wynne. Following her win, Sawyer talked with Seattle magazine. Here's what she had to say.

When did you fall in love with music?
It wasn’t just one moment. When I was 18 months my parents told me they heard me singing in the back of the car, "Ode To Joy." It’s funny, but it says a lot about me. I wanted to be like my mom; she has a beautiful voice and plays the piano. I played the violin since I was really little and everything that I had seen about music, I loved. I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life when I met my high school band. I’ve always had a passion for music and I realized the members weren’t as serious about it as I was.  I can’t see myself doing anything else.

What is your impression of the Seattle music scene?
I moved to Seattle when I was 18, so Sound Off! was my first real taste of Seattle’s music scene. Everyone in the competition was incredible; they all had their own style that was unique to them. I could find something about each band that I liked even if it wasn’t in a genre I typically listened to. Actually, I am going to be working with Sound Off! contestant, Maiah Wynne in the future. She has a hauntingly beautiful voice and I am really excited to collaborate with her.


Who are your musical inspirations?
My music is really influenced by my faith; I am a big believer. Beyond that, my favorite band is called NEEDTOBREATHE and most of my style comes from them. You can hear it in my music. I do really take a lot of inspiration from life and my own experiences and those around me as well.

What music genre do you feel your music falls under?
I’ve been saying it’s blues-folk rock. A lot of it you could consider to be folk, but I also write a lot of pop music. I am all over the place because I listen to a lot of different music. Whatever I am into at the time, genre-wise, it comes out in my music. I have a lot of instruments that I delve into. I listen to music that uses a lot of different instruments, so I try to familiarize myself with various instruments so I can use them to write. I am not this prodigy that can play them all.  I wish I was, but I can play the cello, banjo, guitar, mandolin, violin, and the ukulele. 

What is it like to influence others with your music?
Amazing and so surreal. A woman I knew through a mutual friend called me a few years ago and said my song "Perfect in Progress" drastically changed and pretty much saved her life. I know music has that effect on people, but to have your music be the one to do it, it’s surreal.

What’s next for you?
My manager has already booked nine gigs for this next month. I have a lot more going on after winning Sound Off! I am getting busier and it is starting to seem more real. I am also going to be recording an album soon, which is really exciting because I don’t have an album recorded yet. Hopefully, the album will be out this summer. I am going to be playing a lot of festivals. I would love to have a lot of support there, plus I love music festivals.

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