Young singer signed by Sony Music Canada to perform at 2Rivers Remix

Thursday, July 4th, 2024 3:57pm


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Tia Wood of Saddle Lake Cree Nation
By Odette Auger
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Tia Wood of Saddle Lake Cree Nation is a Cree and Salish rhythm and blues singer. She has been signed to Sony Music Entertainment Canada, the first Indigenous woman for the Canadian label.

“It's been such a dream come true, this whole experience, and especially Sony,” said Wood “because it's something that I never really thought that was reachable, really.”

She said that when she was growing up, there was a lack of representation.

“It was hard to turn on a TV or open a magazine or turn on the radio and see or hear somebody that looked like me or came from where I come from or had the same similar stories that I had to experience growing up,” said Wood.

“So it's been really surreal, exciting and nerve wracking. But I'm just so proud and I'm so thankful because, as a little rez kid, I'm just glad that I did it and that this is all happening. Because one thing that we say as Indigenous people is ‘if one of us wins, we all win’.”

Wood grew up jingle dancing and surrounded by music and singers. Her father is Earl Wood, one of the founders of Grammy-nominated and JUNO award-winning drum group Northern Cree. Her mother, Cynthia Jim, was in an all-women drum group, and her sister, Fawn Wood, is also a JUNO-winning singer.

Wood grew up in a culturally-strong home, attending ceremonies and powwows.

“Honestly, it's kind of been a weird adjustment not going to powwows every summer. That's all we did growing up. And now to switch from that to doing music festivals, both are really, really fun, but it's been kind of an adjustment,” said Wood.

One of the festivals she’s performing at this summer is the 2Rivers Remix in T’Kemlups (Kamloops), B.C. July 6. Wood’s performance Saturday July 6 at 2Rivers Remix will be streamed online at

Knowledge keepers will be featured at the event, including her mom Cynthia Jim.

There are some similarities between music festivals and powwow tours, Wood said.

“When we are doing these shows, we always tend to run into people that we've done shows with before or just that we're friends with. So it is similar to a powwow in that way. You always run into people and people you haven't seen in a long time.” But otherwise such events are quite different.

“I feel like when doing those kinds of festivals, (like the 2Rivers Remix) it's way more accessible” for her to prepare for her performance with smudging. “And honestly, I always open my sets with a traditional song, so I always feel a little less nervous when doing that at an event that has knowledge keepers and has other Native people present.”

Representation and motivation

“We just kind of started seeing the tip of the iceberg with Indigenous representation,” said Wood, mentioning actor Lily Gladstone, musicians Snotty Nose Rez Kids and model Heather Strongarm as recent examples of Indigenous people being seen in entertainment circles.

“We're just kind of starting to see ourselves in the media and it's a crazy thing to be a part of that and to be living in the times where we're seeing that.”

“I do feel a lot of responsibility, but it's also a lot of motivation as well. As the daughter of two residential school survivors, I just want nothing more but to represent and be authentic with who I am and where I come from.”

Her family are her support network, and her parents and sisters appear in her video “Dirt Roads.”

“As Indigenous people, our stories have always been pushed aside or just swept under the rug and I just want to just be as authentic as I can.”

Authenticity is something Wood has learned to lean into as a strength, and she explained her learning curve.

“When I first left the reserve and I started making music, it was my first time really stepping into the studio. I've been in the studio before watching my sister or my uncles or all my other family members, but I was never really the one behind the mic. So it was my first time.”

“One mistake that I made really early on was I was writing what I thought people wanted to hear and not stuff that was true to myself. And it didn't really feel that good, singing stuff that didn't really resonate or didn't really come from my heart.”

Wood’s advice to young creatives is “just be authentic in your story and where you come from.”

“Because our stories are so beautiful and they're important– and they deserve that light on them and they deserve to be told.”

Local Journalism Initiative Reporters are supported by a financial contribution made by the Government of Canada.