Singer-songwriter Micaiah Sawyer of Olympia will compete in the finals of Sound Off, MoPOP’s 21-and-under battle of the bands.
Sawyer, 21, won Friday’s semi-final round with what MoPOP’s Anita Woo called “a fantastic show.”
“It was a crazy experience,” Sawyer said of the competition. “It was exhilarating. Everything about it was totally exhilarating.”
Sawyer, who moved to Olympia three years ago, plays and sings folk, rock and blues. Her first EP, “Rest,” is for sale on her website. She performs regularly at the 9 p.m. Wednesday open mics at Olympia’s Pig Bar, and at bars locally and in Seattle.
It’s a long way from that to MoPOP’s big stage, where she performed a 30-minute set with a band that included Olympia’s Edgewater Trio — saxophonist Kyle Summers, drummer Makenzie Summers (Kyle’s sister) and pianist Jaysen Geissler — along with violinist Caddie Derby of Lacey, bassist Ian Forster of Tumwater and guitarist Chivan Lim of Lacey. The band was assembled specifically for Sound Off, since Sawyer’s regular band members are older than 21.
“Micaiah impressed our panel of six judges, who commented on her commanding voice, emotional performance and the easygoing connection she established between her band and the audience,” said Sound Off organizer Robert Rutherford.
Sawyer will compete with Seattle psych-pop outfit Strawberry Mountain and two other groups yet to be chosen in the finals March 3 at MoPOP. The show will be broadcast live on Seattle’s KEXP 90.3 FM.
If she wins Sound Off, Sawyer will perform at Bumbershoot, the internationally known arts and music festival held each Labor Day weekend at the Seattle Center. She also will receive 20 hours of recording time at Seattle’s The Vera Project.
Her heart was thumping as she waited for the announcement of Friday night’s winner, she said. Then she heard her name.
“I’m pretty sure I might have freaked a few people out,” she said. “I literally jumped up and screamed at the top of my lungs, fists in the air. I was overwhelmed, and I couldn’t really control myself in that moment.”
She laughed. “I looked like a madwoman.”
Sound Off Finals
What: Micaiah Sawyer of Olympia will compete against three other finalists in MoPOP’s 21-and-under battle of the bands.
When: 7 p.m. March 3; doors open at 6 p.m.
Where: MoPOP Museum of Pop Culture, 325 Fifth Ave. N., Seattle
Live broadcast: The finals will be broadcast live on KEXP 90.3 FM’s Audioasis, which airs 6-9 p.m. Saturdays. Listen at kexp.org.
Watch and listen: See Sawyer performing “Dangerous Joy” at her semi-final winning performance at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHu7mIIy-0I.