Local Singer Tia Wood Makes Indigenous Music with a Pop and R&B Twist

Tia Wood grew up in a musical community—she’s from Saddle Lake Cree Nation, home of the famous drum group Northern Cree, and her uncle Randy Wood is a two-time Grammy-nominated singer. She remembers her parents setting her and her siblings up around the drum at pow wows and jam sessions. “It was a way of keeping our heads afloat and putting food on the table; we would do little gigs as a family,” says Wood.

So in September 2020, Wood and her family were already well-known in the Indigenous community. But time was tik-ing (and tok-ing) and internet fame was imminent. You guessed it—a video of the young artist’s take on a viral beat (called “Make It Indigenous”) blew up, garnering over four million views and kicking her music career into high gear. It sparked her move to Vancouver and the recording of her debut album, which integrates Indigenous singing with pop/R&B style. Wood’s sudden launch into the spotlight is a bit overwhelming, she says, but in times of stress, she looks to her roots. “I stay grounded by being around my family and loved ones,” says Wood, “and pow wows as an outlet to sing and express myself have been part of who I am for my whole life… I really hope we can get back to that soon.”

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