We were lucky enough to chat with incredibly talented Indigenous artist Wanita Bird this week. She’s a multi-talented and community-oriented Cree artist from Treaty Six in Saskatchewan. She is not only an incredibly talented singer/songwriter and playwright, but also works in beadwork, sewing, painting, and traditional crafts. We have deep respect for her work with youth and at-risk people, and her continued leadership in these communities. We think Wanita Bird is fantastic, and we hope you think so too!
Do you have any advice for younger generations pursuing music?
Find a professional producer that is willing to record you. I heard of a producer ( George Parker) and I gave him a demo of my singing and made an appointment to come in and talk to him where we discussed a contract. Try not to be scared, because it’s a fun experience and you will be sharing your music with others! You never know when your music will touch someone and help brighten their day!
Who would you like to reach with your music?
I hope to reach people where the music is going to make them feel good. The most inspiring message I received was from a couple who had lost their son….they said they were lost in grief and they found my memorial song online and played it over and over. They said somehow it helped get them through the day. THAT was heartfelt and it encouraged me to keep putting my music out there. To people saying they travel to it, or do their art, or listen to it to help relax them. Basically, I hope the music grabs on to whoever will enjoy it. Note: The most incredible thing was when a major motion picture heard my music and expressed interest in it for potential future movies! That could not have happened without my music being put out into the world!
How did you get involved with Indigenous Cloud?
I got involved with Indigenous Cloud through my music producer. I think it’s an important platform as it encompasses Indigenous Music for our younger generations. It’s a timeless beauty and having one-stop to access all the beautiful genres of Indigenous music is brilliant
Do you think it is important for Indigenous music to be shared with the world?
It is crucial! Indigenous music if not just songs, it’s a feeling. It’s a prayer and can elicit all sorts of good feelings. Not to mention sharing with everyone else in the world. Showcasing all the different types of Indigenous music there is!
What impact does Indigenous music have in Canada, North America, and globally?
Indigenous music is so beautiful. It has existed with Indigenous people for centuries….and it’s still here and the more people it reaches, the more the medicine can impact others, in a good way.
What would you like to see change in the music industry at large?
I would like to see it be more about the music….and the listeners. Not so much politics. That’s why I like Indigenous Cloud, the intent is to get the music out into the world. There are a lot of ears needing to hear this music.
What are some of the barriers or challenges you have faced in your music career?
And what are some highlights?
I have not really experienced any barriers truthfully. If you practice hard and sing from your heart and soul then you are generating something special to share with others. One small barrier would be composing songs that I approve of. I can be my worst critic.
Some of the highlights would have to be connecting with the listeners and fans of the music. It warms my heart to hear of how they enjoy it, and how they experience it in their everyday walks of life.
“You have someone with experience mixing and producing your music….who knows how to distribute it. I truly believe if it wasn’t for George Parker, my music would not have reached as far as it did.”
Why is it important for young artists to work with a professional producer?
It is very important in my opinion. You have someone with experience mixing and producing your music….who knows how to distribute it. I truly believe if it wasn’t for George Parker, my music would not have reached as far as it did. It tickles me to go somewhere in my travels, and see my music there. That indicates hard work on behalf of George for getting my music out there.
Who are some of the artists you have worked with and what do you love about their work?
For the most part, I have been an independent sole artist on my albums. However, I did finally make an album with my brother, Joe Poorthunder, [called] “Water is Life,” and I appreciated his contributions and seeing how prepared he was at recording time.
I also did some harmony for other women artists that were making their debut and it was beautiful to listen to their different styles. Elizabeth Hale is so humble about the songs she shares with the world so it was nice to have her come on to one of the All Women albums. The all-women album was an assortment of different women artists, and that was nice to see––as it was one of a kind in the world.
Check out Wanita Bird on Indigenous Cloud today!
- Water is Life
Wanita Bird and Joe Poor Thunder
For Our Children
Wanita Bird with the Native American Church of Canada