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MoPOP Checks In With Artists From Sound Off! 2020

Though we had to cancel the Sound Off! 2020 finals after the museum closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic this past spring, the artists who came through the Pacific Northwest's premier 21-and-under music showcase and competition did not sit on their laurels or simply go into full hibernation. Many of them immediately started strategizing on ways to stay connected and keep creating in the new reality of socially-distanced recording, releasing some of their best work yet.

Our call for entries for Sound Off! 2021 is open now, and to celebrate we’re catching up with all 12 Sound Off! 2020 artists and padding out your playlists for the end of the year. We’re looking for the next Northwest Sound, so if you're an interested musician or you know an artist who's bound to be the next big thing, we encourage you to learn more about our nonprofit museum's program! Head to

49th Parallel

Hip-hop powerhouse 49th Parallel has stayed busy throughout the year, releasing a shutdown-focused solo track by Cormac Liotta capturing a very relatable emotional state in its title and refrain: "I Miss My Friends." And, you can pre-save their new EP Muah! which is being released this Friday, December 11.

David's Van

Released this summer, David’s Van debut record Intervention is a welcome dose of humor and headbanging riffs, and they closed out this year with a fantastic performance of Alice In Chains’ song "Dam That River" as part of MoPOP’s Founders Award honoring the grunge icons.

The Human Missile Crisis

This drum and bass dynamo plays so big and so commanding that it makes them seem bigger than a duo might imply. They have a freshly released EP, palette, and also contributed a cover of Alice In Chains’ song "Swing on This" to MoPOP’s Founders Award event.


Kaia is one of those rare artists who controls all aspects of her musical creation, from writing and singing to production. She released a collaboration with redWine on Soundcloud back in March, a sultry track called "Between Us."

Ry Lucia

The cinematically evocative lyrics that Ry Lucia writes are matched only by the power of her voice, which is soaring on her new song "Santa Fe." And it’s always a good time to revisit her Sound Off! set, which brought pin-drop silence to an awestruck audience in MoPOP’s Sky Church.

Mirabai Kukathas

Folk songstress Mirabai Kukathas has launched a new website (with super sweet merch!) and has a new single called "Candyland" dropping on December 25. In the meantime, you can dig back into her Instagram feed for home recordings, links to livestream events, and virtual collabs she has done with other musicians.

Mr. Dinkles

Punk duo Mr. Dinkles released their Self-Titled EP right as things were shutting down in March, and went straight to work on a follow-up, Titled-Self, which was released last month and builds on their singular snark and punchy hooks. Give them a follow on Instagram for news on an upcoming video.


Portland based singer-songwriter searows dropped a beautiful, plaintive cover of Phoebe Bridgers song "Punisher" this summer, which will instantly transfix you and send you back into his catalog to see that beauty translated on his original works.

Seven Sky

Multi-instrumentalist and composer Seven Sky has gone all in on quarantine collaborations, releasing videos like "I Roam and I Bloomand others featured on his Instagram page.


R&B producer, singer, and songwriter Talaya. is busier than ever as 2020 wraps up, performing consistently online, recording and producing the work of countless other artists at a Hillman City studio and now at Ruby Room Studios. Talaya. also released a phenomenal video of her collab with Noah called "Need3," and performed an emotionally-charged cover of Alice In Chains’ song "All I Am" for MoPOP’s Founders Award fundraiser.


With a series of singles released steadily throughout the year, thom.ko has continued to build a dedicated fan base and refine his melodic synthesizer pop. If you need an antidote to the December doldrums, give his latest, "90 MPH," a spin while driving (and pretending you had the top down).

Tiny Planet

Jazz/funk/metal juggernauts Tiny Planet have masked up and performed during several livestream events to hype up the release of their self-titled debut album. You can watch several of the rump-shaking livestream recordings on their Instagram.

Learn more about MoPOP's Sound Off! program and if you're interested or know someone who is, apply now for Sound Off! 2021!

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Music, Sound Off!

About the author

Robert Rutherford is the Manager of Public Engagement at MoPOP who loves Free To Be You And Me and Hellraiser in equal measure.