Meet Teagan Littlechief, the Aboriginal Musician You Need to Hear Right Now

Hell bent and troubled at times, Teagan Littlechief found hope and salvation in creating music.

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Teagan Littlechief performing at CFL gamePhoto: Courtesy of Teagan Littlechief

Growing up in White Bear First Nations

Sometimes the path to a dream weaves and winds a bit more than we’d like! Always the journey is a rather large part of the story though, and my winding road is no exception. Growing up an Alberta farm kid, I had the privilege of taking part in everything from daily chores with the cows, Sunday afternoon drives to check the fields, planting and growing a garden (or at least running through the corn stalks and picking potato beetles), and spending a lot of time outdoors. Life wasn’t rushed any more than the seasons dictated, and I relished that fact. It felt integral to who I was, and with each passing season, I felt more alive.

Growing up in White Bear First Nations, I have been performing for 20 years around the area and parts of the United States. I’ve experienced high points, like performing the national anthem for CFL games in Saskatchewan, and I’ve experienced low moments as well, like being bullied and taking refuge in addiction. I have gone from living the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle to being a single mother to my beautiful son, Gabriel. But, let’s back up to the beginning, where music first circulated through my soul.

When I was in kindergarten my teacher, Ms. McDonald heard me singing “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid movie and recommended to my mom that I get singing lessons. My teacher gave my mom the name of a music teacher, Shirley Dahlgren, who surprised us with the amazing gift of free music lessons. I went on to compete in the Redvers & District Music Festival at an early age. I was also granted a free trip to the Munster choir camp, where I was taught all levels of vocal training and exercises. I went on to compete in two Saskatchewan radio competitions. After winning, I was able to record my singles, “Bring It On” and “Vulnerable.”

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Teagan Littlechief in studioPhoto: Courtesy of Teagan Littlechief

Keeping the dream alive

In elementary school, I was bullied and teased about my weight to the point where I wanted to give up singing. My mom talked to me about my gift, reminding me that I was blessed with a talent and I should not give up. My weight had caused me to be self-conscious for many years, but with time I have become comfortable in my own skin. My newly found confidence has helped me own the stage.

Did I mention I love music? It is my passion and all the amazing people I get to meet is incredible. I used to dream of seeing my name in marquee lights and travelling the world. I have come to learn that if you really, truly love to express your talent, then it is not about whether you see your name in lights, but rather it’s about the experiences that help you grow and motivate you to continue fighting hard to keep your dream alive. It was that kind of determination that earned me a great mention in a Canadian country music newsletter for my singles, “I’ll Bring the Party” and “Hell Bent & Heaven Bound.” As things turned out, that newsletter opened many doors for me.

Among the highlights of my musical career, so far, was being asked to open for American country musician John Anderson and Canadian country band, Emerson Drive. I was also privileged to perform on the main stage of the Craven Country Jamboree (now known as Country Thunder Saskatchewan) and at Dauphin’s Countryfest.

My first album, “Rising Above” was released in 2007—and what an exciting time that was for me! Many writers were involved on that album with me, including Dean Bellegarde, Steve Fox, Sean Hogan and Bart McKay.

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Teagan Littlechief with fellow singers Terri-Anne Armstrong and Yvonne St. GermainePhoto: Courtesy of Teagan Littlechief

Motherhood, overcoming addiction—and beyond

In 2011, I was blessed with my beautiful son, Gabriel. During my first year as a new mom, I took a break from the music scene to focus on raising my son. Eventually though, I found myself yearning for the music to pulse through my veins once again—to feel that rush of melody flow through my body. I was later invited to sing at the 2012 Aboriginal Music Showcase in Saskatoon. Shortly afterward, though, I fell into a depression and found myself turning to drugs and alcohol. Before long, I was putting my addiction first and found myself spiralling out of control. Thankfully, the importance of seeking treatment for my addiction was not lost on me. My precious son and my music rank No. 1 in my life; my addiction wasn’t worth losing either one and so I battled through it.

My mom and step-dad David have been tireless supporters and as my career continues to move forward, my publicist Deborah Wood has worked hard to help me achieve my goals. In the last few years, I have sung the national anthem for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Regina Pats. I’ve released “I’ll Bring the Party” written by Terry Fernihough and “Hell Bent & Heaven Bound,” which was co-written by Terry Fernihough and myself. I was honoured to perform during Country Music Week in both 2016 and 2017. Also in 2017, I released the single “Scar on My Heart,” written by David Joseph. I’m now happy to say that I will be releasing a couple of new singles in the summer of 2018. I look forward to heading back out on the road soon and hopefully I’ll get to perform at a venue near you.

Life can be hectic, but I always find time to sit and write songs, and enjoy precious moments with Gabriel and the rest of our family—not to mention with our dog, Chase, and cat, Mellow. I like to think that although my life has been “hell bent” in many ways, I am now walking a path that has me heaven-bound.

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Teagan's music can be found on iTunes, Google Play Music, Spotify and other digital venues. Check her out on social media or visit her website for more details.

Originally Published in Our Canada