Meet Tia Wood, the Cree and Salish Artist Who Carries Home With Her Everywhere

After garnering attention on TikTok, Indigenous singer Tia Wood has an album coming soon. She talked to us about moving to L.A., her musical family, and more.

Tia Wood wearing a hat and beadwork earrings, looking to the left

Image via Rachel Barkmen

Tia Wood wearing a hat and beadwork earrings, looking to the left

Tia Wood’s rise has played out like destiny. Her first viral video, originally made purely for fun, snowballed into two years of continued triumphs. With 2.3 million followers on TikTok, a Vogue feature, and an album now in development, she’s certainly making her mark. Through music, dance, and videos featuring her family, Wood’s creative expression is a celebration of her life. She gives her fans a look into her Cree and Salish cultures, including the beautiful artistry and sacred traditions that have shaped who she is today.

Prior to making the move to Los Angeles last year, Wood grew up in Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Alberta. While life looks different on the golden coast, she has remained firmly aligned with her roots. “Sometimes when I’m in the middle of doing a show or [making] something, I think about my humble beginnings,” she says. “Cruising in a minivan that’s packed with all of my family, our regalia, our drum, on our way to a powwow or gig.”

Tia Wood standing in front of Edgar Herndandez

“We were a family show whenever we did gigs. We all had to sing. We all had to dance. I think about our horses and being able to just walk out the door to see them. Hearing the birds sing in the morning.” Though transitioning away from her community and homeland and into the hustle and bustle of L.A. hasn’t been easy, she carries her home with her. “I am so grateful to have been able to grow up around my people and culture. It’s such a privilege to grow in such a rich environment.” 

“[In the mainstream] you hardly ever hear music from people who grew up in places like I did and experienced the lifestyle that I have. But I decided to turn my mindset around and see it as a strength instead.”

Since developing a massive following, she shares that she’s had moments where she’s felt the pressures and unwarranted negativity that come with being in the public eye: “Sometimes it almost feels like there’s no room for mistakes even though I’m still figuring out myself as a 22 year old.” Still, she has remained steadfast and resilient, and thankful for the blessings that have come her way, “Without the Internet I probably would’ve never moved to L.A.,” she says. “I probably would’ve never made that jump to make music. It has brought so many amazing opportunities.”

She names her family as the biggest inspiration behind her music. ”I grew up around a very musical family. Both of my parents are singers. All my aunties, uncles and even my grandparents. It goes way back in the lineage. I always knew it was something I wanted to do but I [also] knew I wanted to bring modern day music into the picture. Having such a strong background with Indigenous music, I knew it had to intertwine somehow.”


Just a lil video from when I went to visit my family in my home rez in Treaty 6 Territory. Missing them a little extra today. 💗 #indigenous #fyp

♬ original sound - Tia Wood

The new album is in motion, and it’s clear that Tia Wood is building something great with hard work, dedication, and breaking away from doubt. “[At first] I found it difficult to pour my emotions out in front of people when I would write and lay down vocals,” she says. “But thankfully, [I got] comfortable with it once I realized what it is we’re all there for: the pure love of music.”

Inspired by Indigenous drum groups, traditional artists, and modern day Indigenous artists before her, she’s creating an album honouring her life and her culture. “When I left from my reserve and hopped onto a plane to Nashville over a year ago, I had no idea what I was going to write about,” she says. “[In the mainstream] you hardly ever hear music from people who grew up in places like I did and experienced the lifestyle that I have. But I decided to turn my mindset around and see it as a strength instead.”

Tia Wood wearing a pattered button up with a black bandeau and jeans

With better representation, comes better understanding of issues that require attention but are often swept under the rug. “I hope to see more issues brought to light, such as the water crisis issues happening in reservations, the recent burial findings that have been coming up in Residential Schools all across Turtle Island, MMIW, and the continued destruction of land happening right in our backyards.”

Art is the gateway to common humanity understanding, and proper representation over all platforms is vital. “Slowly but surely it’s coming. More and more familiar faces in magazines, TV shows, movies, [and more]. The main one we’ve really gotta crack [now] is music.” 

Alongside her own biggest musical inspirations, including Travis Thompson, Nataanii Means, Land Is Rising, Antoine Edwards, and Snotty Nose Rez Kids, she’s set to do just that. Her much anticipated album is projected to come out this fall. “Maybe the stories I tell could feel like fresh air because of the lack of representation in the media. A whole new perspective the world can see,” says Wood. “This is what motivated me to stay authentic in the music I write. The emotions I portray. The crossover between Indigenous sounds with modern day music. I’m so excited for the world to hear it. I’m so excited for all the little rez kids to hear it.”

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