Sub Pop Records is extremely proud to announce the return (for our 15th year!) of the Sub Pop Loser Scholarship. Further details on the scholarship are below, and even further below is some clarification on what we mean by “Loser.”
Sub Pop Records is offering a grand total of $15,000 in college scholarship money to three eligible high school seniors. There are three scholarships—one for $7,000, one for $5,000 and one for $3,000. As longtime, proud losers ourselves, we’re exceedingly happy to be able, in some small way, to help further the education of art-enthused misfits from the NW. Individuals from all cultures and communities are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be residents of Washington or Oregon, and graduating seniors on the way to full-time enrollment at an accredited university or college. We are looking for applicants who are involved and/or interested in music and/or the creative media and arts in some way. However, you do not need to be pursuing an education in the arts.
To apply you must submit an essay, one page or less, using any combination of the following questions as a guide (or write something completely your own, be inspired and creative!). Please list the school you are graduating from and the school you plan to attend in the fall at the top of your essay along with your contact information.
- What are you doing in the arts/music field in your community?
- What does being a Sub Pop ‘Loser’ mean to you?
- What are your influences and/or who inspired you to become involved in the arts?
- Describe your biggest failure and explain how it has brought you closer to your goal(s).
- Discuss a special attribute or accomplishment that sets you apart.
- How has your family or community background affected the way you see the world?
- Why should you be the Loser winner?
Applicants are strongly (!) encouraged to send digital links and/or provide hard copies of their artwork, photos of community involvement, radio show links, videos, etc. along with their essay (we have never had a winner who submitted only an essay w/no extras). However, please be aware that Sub Pop will not return any of this material, so please don’t send originals. Sub Pop will give equal opportunity to all applicants who fit the criteria outlined above.
The deadline for applications is March 24th. We will announce the scholarship winners during the first week of April.
What we talk about when we talk about “Loser.”
Here at Sub Pop Records, we use the word “loser” a lot. You may have noticed. We’ve printed it on things we sell (hats, shirts, stickers, mugs, and more!), we call the first, colored-vinyl, limited-edition pressings of the records we release the “Loser Edition,” and every year since 2007ish we’ve awarded tuition money to college-bound NW high school students through the “Sub Pop Loser Scholarship.” And, it’s possible we take for granted that you guys catch our drift and understand what we mean when we’re all “loser this,” and “loser that.” So! The following…
Sub Pop’s use of the word “loser” goes back to the foundation of the label and is meant as a celebration of unabashedly being ourselves without conforming to any preconceived ideas of “normal.” To be a loser is central to the very idea of underground art and culture - all of it happening and thriving outside of the mainstream, and not necessarily looking for a way in. Bruce Pavitt’s “New Pop Manifesto” in the 1st issue of Subterranean Pop included, “The important thing to remember is this: the most intense music, the most original ideas… are coming out of scenes you don’t even know exist… Only by supporting new ideas by local artists, bands, and record labels can the U.S. expect any kind of dynamic social/cultural change…” And, since 2007 or so, with the Loser Scholarship, we’ve been adding students to that list, and putting our (or, our co-founder, big boss and biggest loser ever, Jonathan Poneman’s…) money where our mouth is. Sub Pop Records strives to bring attention to music and art from the fringes that might otherwise remain marginalized. And, in that same spirit, through our annual Loser Scholarship, we’re looking for art-enthused misfits in NW high schools, losers like us, to help them pay for college. We stand proudly with and support the misfits, weirdos and losers, because we believe that when we’re able to proudly be nothing other than our true selves, we have the ability to make the world stronger, smarter and better. For more information or to apply, please visit the scholarship provider's website.