Wood River Valley resident Tyia Wilson says that singing the songs on her new album, “Within,” helps her balance her life.
Courtesy photo by Emily Stevens
After years of living out loud, local singer Tyia Wilson has released a musical diary of her inner thoughts on a CD called “Within.”
Most people who happen across Wilson—whether its emceeing for a function such as Battle of the Blades in Sun Valley or tickling the ivories at the Coffee Grinder in Ketchum—instantly want more, and to know more, about the beautiful woman with the dynamic talent and personality.
Self-taught through karaoke, Wilson has been singing professionally since the age of 14 and first pursued country music. By her 20s, she had developed a jazz repertoire and subsequently a contemporary one.
In her youth, Wilson worked closely with David Foster to create a demo track for Cher and added several vocals to the movie soundtrack of “Message in a Bottle.” She made an R&B demo with Chico Bennett and appeared on “Star Search.” She also sang the “National Anthem” at many different arenas and for many different teams in Southern California: for the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers, the UCLA Bruins (Wilson’s alma mater) and countless high school sports championship games.
She became a sociology major at UCLA after taking a lower-division course in which she read “A People’s History of the United States,” by Howard Zinn.
“The idea of understanding our social constructs definitely carries on into my work today,” she said. “I know deeply that we are all magnificent, transcendent, levitating, psychic creators who are being born into systemic slavery. We are quickly convinced that our powerful and loving nature is something saved for fantasy and anomalous individuals.”
Leaving Los Angeles for Las Vegas lounge performing, she spent a year and a half singing at Caesar’s Palace, the Mirage, and finally Wynn Las Vegas. Owner Steve Wynn challenged her to add some Broadway songs to the arsenal, expanding her reach. By her 30s, she was living in Sun Valley, “teaching myself piano, and writing songs with great devotion.”
But it’s through her latest incarnation, that which includes being a single mother of two daughters, Leyla, 12, and Deva, 7, that finds Wilson writing and singing her own music, drawing upon the energy and spirituality of yoga, quigong and chanting to infuse her music with a completely new vibe.
“Having children has made me a bit of a revolutionary. It has caused me to answer my deepest heart and follow my dreams,” she said. “My heart’s logic has dragged my previously conservative and frightened self out on numerous ledges in order to live a life that is authentic.
“This has led predominately to failure, but also to living truth. Surprisingly, this message of truth is speaking much louder than my many words. I have worked closely with many children in the community and I am always fascinated by their intuiting my philosophy and almost forcing it out of my mouth.”
Making “Within” was a process of trust, she said. The executive producer is Steve Luczo, the CEO of Seagate Technologies, and Wilson’s friend and supporter.
“He built a magnificent studio in San Francisco which has since become Studio Trilogy,” she said. “I was able to zero in on the studio recording experience over the course of two years and ultimately came out with these incredibly pure recordings that I feel really reflect my raw soul. I was guided, and meticulously recorded, by Justin Lieberman and PC Muñoz.”
Each of the 10 songs has significance for her.
“‘Within’ is embedded with incredibly simple wisdom that channeled through me while I was pregnant with Deva,” she explained. “‘Embrace the Night’ is a song about embracing not only the feminine, but the darkness of the unknown. Plus Leyla’s name is Arabic, meaning night.”
For Wilson, her songs are a combination of meditation and a busy mental process.
“There is a running joke in my family about ‘relaxing,’” she admitted. “My mind tends to obsess with things and so I need meditation and centering in order to hand certain things over to the highest intelligence. By doing this, very simple words come through, with very simple wisdom. It seems most things boil down to how we can love better, whether it’s family, friends, or supposed enemies.”
While shepherding her girls through Community School and its activities, Wilson is also a teacher at Studio Move, where she leads a decompression yoga class to help one transition from day to night, and a kids’ karaoke singing class, reflective of her roots and her desire to find the fun in singing.
“I have embedded this CD with the knowing that music has a mysterious healing quality and that the repeated concepts are powerful seeds planted in our creative centers,” she said of her life cycle across her interests. “Many people tell me that they are doing yoga and meditation while listening and others are using it while concentrating on work.
“I personally sing these songs as part of an extensive mantra practice to heal and balance my life.”
CDs are available at Main Street Market in Ketchum or visit Tyia Wilson’s Facebook page.