This year’s Museum of Pop Culture Sound Off! music showcases features local voices, including the talents of a Federal Way artist.
The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) hosts the annual music showcase, now in its 20th year, for artists ages 21 and under in the Pacific Northwest to make creative expression a life-changing force by offering experiences that inspire and connect local communities, according to the museum.
Participants of Sound Off! perform their original music in MoPOP’s Sky Church, connect with peer musicians, receive mentorship from industry leaders, and join an artistic community invested in welcoming younger performers into the vibrant music scene.
Due to health and safety guidelines for this year’s event, eight selected artists recorded live sessions in MoPOP’s Sky Church, which will then be broadcast on May 15 in an upcoming standalone livestream, hosted by KEXP DJ Troy Nelson, and featuring two-song performances and brief artist interviews.
Representing Federal Way is 21-year-old Kiddus Fecto, a songwriter, producer, vocalist and rapper. He began his music career at Franklin High School in Seattle, using the school’s recording studio equipment to record himself and school mates.
He also spent two years in MoPOP’s The Residency program, an intensive summertime workshop series in partnership with the Arts Corps and Grammy Award-winning duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Fecto also spent years working with Totem Star, a nonprofit focused on youth development in music production and performance.
“I’ve always loved music, ever since I was a little kid. But I started getting serious about it around high school,” he said. “Music’s always been a part of me.”
Fecto and the other Sound Off! contestants recently recorded their performances for the contest. Though his music is based in hip-hop, Fecto added variety into his show, performing a slower, vocals-focused song titled “Nonexistent” and a lively anthem “The King Way.”
This was Fecto’s last chance to participate in the limited age group contest.
“I literally felt like I was flying,” he said of his Sound Off! performance. “I just wanted to do this for experience and perform and be me.”
Fecto is working on his first album titled “Feels Good to be on Juneau,” which is an ode to his life on South Juneau Street in Seattle.
The in-progress album is about his childhood and teenage memories, but “I want to make music that’s bigger than me,” he said. “Not just about my story. I want it to be relatable for everybody.”
Like most creatives, inspiration strikes when he least expects it — on a bike ride or taking the bus, he said. After losing his grandmother last year and facing a pandemic, Fecto’s grief and quarantine period allowed his creativity to bloom, making beats and new music unlike anything he had before.
With his music based in hip-hop and influenced by other genres, Fecto is focused on making a sound that lasts.
“I want people listening to my music in 2090, centuries from now,” he said.
For more of Kiddus Fecto’s music, visit his SoundCloud profile. MoPOP’s Sound Off! contest airs from 7-9 p.m. May 15. Tickets are pay-what-you-can pricing and available at MoPOP.org/soundoff.