Now in its 20th year, MoPOP’s Sound Off! is the premier 21-and-under music showcase in the Pacific Northwest. This year, we’re celebrating a milestone anniversary of the program, which has built upon an incredible legacy in the local music scene. Celebrate with us at 7 p.m. PT on Saturday, May 15 with a virtual music showcase featuring performances and interviews with eight artists from across our region.
Lexi Lalauni describes herself as a dreamer, lover, singer, songwriter, and performer. Her soaring, dynamic voice and contemplative lyrics show that she is all those things and more. Drawing inspiration from the natural world and a desire to connect directly to her listeners, Lexi’s brilliant mix of dream pop and indie style invites you along for a musical adventure.
Lexi Lalauni: I'm Lexi Lalauni, I'm from Tacoma, Washington. I've been singing since I was six. I got into musical theater and spent most of my years doing musical theater. That's what I think influenced me, seeing that singing is what I love, just from all that. I did choir and then I started singing at coffee shops and around [age] 16 that's when I was like, "OK, so I'm going to focus on singing and we'll see what happens." I went to college and it was just still like, you know, singing in my dorm room, writing. Then I went to a Residency show, saw it on Instagram. And I was like, "OK, I want to check that out." I went and I saw The Residency and I was like, "That's the perfect opportunity." So I got into Residency and I did that for two years and that really helped me get going on my musical career and what helped me have more direction in where I was going and how to get to the point I wanted to be at.
What is it that you loved about musical theater?
Lexi Lalauni: I loved musical theater because I love the environment with all the people. People who share the same passions as I did. So it was comforting and freeing to just be myself and be able to express the way that we all did. I just loved all the music, the dancing, the acting, just putting on the whole show and spending that time all together and creating something that was really cool.
What excites you most about being part of Sound Off! 2021?
Lexi Lalauni: It's all of it. I love any opportunity I get to sing. I haven't performed in a while, so there's this part of me who misses that, especially with COVID and everything, just shows. So I was really excited to get to do a show and then also meeting different artists and hearing more music. But for me, I'm excited to just sing my songs. This is the first time I'll be singing these songs because they're new. So I'm excited about that, too. I'm just someone who's ready to sing. I've been singing these songs like every day in my garage, over and over again. So now here's a stage, and I'm going to sing them. I'm really just excited to sing. It's what I love to do regardless of the scenario, the situation, wherever. I'm just happy to be doing what I love.
xxxxXXSpeaker 2: (02:16) My reaction, when I found out that this was the year we were going to do sound off, I was kind of surprised and excited that it was still happening. And so I was just very excited and it felt a little bit validating to have my songs get a chance to kind of stand alone. Um, and it was very vulnerable submitting them because they were kind of just rough demos and I'm excited to see how far they've come in this performance and with some new instrumentation and everything. So, yeah, very excited.
Where do you find inspiration for your songs?
Lexi Lalauni: What inspires me is everything around me for how it makes me feel. So my songs are songs that mean a lot to me, I know what it means to me in my mind or my heart. And just day-to-day life things. Also personally I'm really inspired just by Mother Earth and by the ocean. I like to go sing in my parked car by the water, wherever, whether it's the river, or mostly it's been ocean.
What artists have inspired you?
Lexi Lalauni: Someone who really inspired me when I was like five was Mariah Carey. I listened to her all the time. I was trying to hit her notes. Every day, I thought I sounded like her when I was five, I was like, "Mom, listen to this!" So Mariah Carey for a little bit, for those younger days. Then for a little bit it was Miley Cyrus when I was like younger, you know, Disney channel. She's who kind of got me singing and, besides that, I like Demi Lovato, I like Jesse Reyez. I like this guy named Corbin. I listen to a lot of different people, but for who has inspired me personally, I think that is Mariah Carey and Miley Cyrus because those were my younger, younger ages that kind of like really influenced me.
Lexi Lalauni: Community is connection. Connection is everything. I feel like everything's connected and people impact each other. It's like on a day-to-day basis, if you're walking down the sidewalk, you could smile at someone or you could just not even observe that their presence was there and whatever you choose to do. That's connection, and it's like passing [it] on. With community, when everybody has like-minded passions and feelings and they understand each other, I feel like that's important. For me, I've always felt like I didn't fit in, like I never had community until I did musical theater and felt a place where I was comfortable with myself. So that's where I think community is important to be around people who understand that.
What are you looking forward to after Sound Off! 2021?
Lexi Lalauni: I'm just looking forward to continue to grow my artistry. I do want to get performing more because COVID kind of set that out. But just continuing to do what I do. If anything, I am working on getting to an album. So I'll continue to work on my music and just seeing where I can go, what I can do and where, and what I'll sing. So more performances, and I do want to collab with more artists. I've collaborated with one of my friends. He's a rapper. He was in The Residency with me, so I want to collab more with people who I feel like we can make something cool together, resonate with each other.
This program takes a village to build, and we are grateful to The Looking Out Foundation and Mackie for their generous support of Sound Off! 2021.
We’d like to thank our community partners in helping to amplify the work of these young artists and for their support of Sound Off! 2021: KEXP, London Bridge, and The Recording Academy Pacific Northwest Chapter.