Simbiyez Wilson

Photo Credit: Marty Clemens

Simbiyez Wilson

👤Melissa Sawatsky 🕔Sep 11, 2017

Her name means “child of the stars.” And Witsuwit’en singer-songwriter Simbiyez Wilson seems to be living up to the name. She grew up in Smithers surrounded by music. Inspired by her mother’s habit of singing in the shower, Wilson’s musical development began at a young age. A little healthy competition with her brother and an extended family of aunts and uncles also played a role—family dinners were often accompanied by bluesy tunes and sing-alongs. Wilson describes her heritage in a manner that says much about the strength and resilience of her family and cultural community. “I’m Witsuwit’en,” she says, “and proud to say I grew up in Smithers with my culture still woven into my bones.”

The young musician is not interested in aligning herself with any particular musical style or tradition, although she has been associated with folk, soul, and blues. “I cannot be put into a box,” she says. “I’ve discovered that now.” Wilson will be working on her debut album this fall and winter with Elijah Larsen, lead singer of The Racket, and other musicians she’s met on the road.

This past summer, Wilson travelled around the province, playing gigs and taking the stage at various music festivals, including the Intertidal Music Festival at North Pacific Cannery, Kispiox Valley Music Festival, ArtsWells, and more. She somehow found time to play a set for 2,500 girl guides who gathered in Smithers for the Spirit of Adventure Rendezvous. Many became instant fans and were clamouring to buy her as-yet unfinished album.

She credits the Smithers Youth Guitar Camp, an annual week-long event organized by the Bulkley Valley Folk Music Society, with shaping her sound and instilling in her the confidence that enables her to perform the way she does today. Completing the circle from apprentice to mentor this year, Wilson rounded out her summer by returning to the camp as an instructor. Her mission was to help the budding musicians create “the best version of themselves by always being the best version of myself.”

Considering she’s only 19, the decades to come and the rest of her musical career will be interesting to watch. This young “child of the stars” possesses a rare clarity of purpose: “All I ever want to do is love people,” she says, “through music especially.” Voices of love are what we need rising up in the world right now—make sure you tune in.

To find out more about Simbiyez Wilson’s upcoming album or performance dates, follow her on Instagram, or check her out on Facebook and YouTube.