Olympia’s Micaiah Sawyer won the top prize in the 17th annual Sound Off! competition at the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) in Seattle over the weekend, earning the 21-year-old an opportunity to perform at the 2018 Bumbershoot Festival.
Maiah Wynne from Gresham, Oregon, came in second; Seattle’s Strawberry Mountain and Misundvrstood with Gypsy Temple took third and fourth place respectively. All of the finalists will perform at Upstream Music Fest + Summit in June.
Sound Off! is a regional battle of the bands and launch pad for young musicians and vocalists. All finalists receive gear, studio time, radio airplay, and one-on-one consultations with industry professionals.
The finals competition Saturday night was broadcast live from the museum on 90.3 KEXP’s Audioasis.
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Sawyer, whose first name is pronounced “Mih-KIE-uh,” grew up in Wisconsin and Arizona. She moved to Olympia three years ago with her parents, Greg and Tonya Sawyer.
She performs regularly at the Pig Bar’s 9 p.m. Wednesday open mic and also has played at Obsidian, Le Voyeur and Alderbrook Resort and Spa. Her first EP, “Rest,” is for sale on her website, micaiahsawyer.com.
A devoted Christian, Sawyer writes songs about her life, her struggles and her faith in God. She doesn’t characterize her music as Christian, but says that even her sad songs carry a message of hope.