INTERVIEW-MISSY KNOTT is breathing life into her roots!
Main photo taken by LYRIK with handmade earrings from Beads by Sky.
Missy Knott is a magnificent, intelligent, youthful, and compassionate introspective delight who has rarely been idle throughout her successful 15-year music career, thanks to her all-natural determined talent blended with her ground-breaking formula that has produced maximum results.
Known fondly for her bare foot confidence and energetic spirit, Missy’s gone back into the essence of her heritage while breathing life into her roots. Now based in Curve Lake First Nation, she’s keeping busy behind the scenes, supporting up-and-coming Indigenous musicians through her own record label, Wild Rice Records, which was formulated out of her previous youth production, Stars of Tomorrow. Over the years I have had the pleasure to have photographed and reviewed 1 of North America’s most talented voices, well over a dozen times; however, this is my first time interviewing Missy Knott, and I am honored. It’s been ages since I had the chance to catch up with our multi-award-winning, internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter, and Nashville recording artist, and here’s how it went.
Missy has always wanted to do more than just perform, sign artists, and distribute their music, as Missy’s dreamed of creating a hub for Indigenous youth to explore music and the arts. That’s what the not-for-profit record label, WILD RICE RECORDS has become since it launched in 2018.
The organization offers youth mentorship, recording, and video equipment, and help with booking shows and online music distribution. Shaken to the core since 2019 after the sudden death of her friend and Peterborough singer Charlene (Charlie) Earle, she is adamant that “safety needs to be a resource for our musicians,” says Knott as she continues “we’re like a full circle family for the arts.” Safety, healing, and recovery are integrated into her work through the Wild Rice Records label, putting it at a unique intersection of trauma-informed care, harm reduction, and cultural incubation. Alongside the usual music business, Wild Rice Records collaborates with local organizations to serve both the label’s artists and the community; furthermore, her label also works with Cannabis Canada and Healing House in Roseneath to make medicinal cannabis more accessible, without taxes, to Curve Lake residents. Missy’s been recently involved in re-recording and releasing her 2017 song, Our Song, and giving the proceeds to those affected by the ongoing missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and relatives (MMIWGR) crisis. “I will advocate for our youth and our women above and beyond anything else,” shared Missy. Knott’s learning and experiences over the course of her life have culminated in what Wild Rice Records is all about today.
Now, MIssy works as casual staff at Curve Lake First Nation as an Assistant to the Early Childhood Educator at Oshkiigmong Early Learning Center when they need support. As well as, custodial work at the Band Office and Health Center to ensure cleanliness and care for the employees, and whenever she can, she volunteers with Lyrik’s school. “That’s why I’m home now, appreciating the children we have now, and making sure art is right there,” shared Knott.
DEB – Q. 1. Missy how old were you when the music bug bit you and you knew that music would play a huge role in your life’s journey?
MISSY – “My Granny Trudy had a brother that looked like Elvis The King, and it was in a frame in her den and we would talk about music. I can remember the theme song from Days of our Lives playing in her den as well. She also loved The Sound of Music double VHS movie. A lot of feelings when you see the Von Trap family singers all up there together. I think I probably knew way back then.”
DEB – Q. 2. I know the answer to this next question, but, your fans may not know. How did the title of your label, Wild Rice Records come to be?
MISSY – “I was gifted a Spirit Name, MANOOMIN GNOMWE KWE, which translates to ‘singing wild rice girl,’ and with that, I’ve grown more than a label, but an identity and a hub for creativity & safety.“
DEB – Q. 3. Who would you say inspires your unique song creations, your constant dedication to the arts, and your devotional drive, the most, then and now?
MISSY – “My music journey has provided me with many different collaboration opportunities. I’ve worked with so many different artists, from so many different walks of life – whether that may be their look, their sound, their vision, or their purpose. Each of my songs, on each of the EPs or albums, has a very different distinct sound. That comes from allowing others to lead the way, as well as me being willing to try new things. Any of the lyrics or melodies I have written are always inspired or influenced by how my feet feel, where they are, and how peaceful I may or may not be at the time of writing. Also, my family and culture, or my romantic partner at the time, as well as, learning these days how to listen to my daughter.“
DEB – Q. 4. Now that you and your daughter Lyrik have settled into your home reserve in Curve Lake First Nation for the 1st time, what kept you motivated and driven during the 2+ years of the worldwide pandemic?
MISSY – “For the first time in my life, I have found the value in rest. I never wanted to slow down, and didn’t really know how much I was missing and running away from. Abundance comes in its truest form when you accept what you deserve and that’s my motivation. My daughter is an overachiever, but not a people pleaser. My number one priority right now is healthy relationships, between her and I, and our family and community. And because of that, my path has led me back to some of the strongest and most talented people I have ever known, they are, what drives me. The pandemic has been scary, eye-opening, and has really helped me to understand my own boundaries, and how I want to create a future for Lyrik with space, opportunity, safety, and resources for creativity.“
DEB – Q. 5. What does success mean to you?
MISSY – “Peace. Patience. Passion. Purpose. Safety.”
With a vast amount of radio experience, first soaring on-air in 2016 as a radio personality with Extra 90.5, then with The Spirit of Ottawa and Toronto on both 95.7/106.5 Elmnt FM, onto Trent Radio in 2019 as its Curve Lake Community Liaison as she led the program “Amplifying Our Voices” featuring Curve Lake radio producers, and now wants to start a radio station right in Curve Lake. You have so many irons in the fire all at once and that is what I adore most about you Missy, your continual desire to make a difference in the lives of others, you are like my “little engine that could, I think I can, I know I can!” I am so impressed with your determination woman, just listen to your roar. You hope to be able to collaborate with more Indigenous artists in the future, and I hear rumblings of a Curve Lake Music Festival on the horizon, with names like herself, Sean Conway, Tara Williamson, Peggy Day, Sarah Lewis, Gary Williams & Brian Haddlesey being floated as headliners!
Well, you have also put together an exciting summer lineup of familiar artists who will showcase at your LIVE MUSIC LINE-UP at 896545 Roseneath, Ontario presented by WILD RICE RECORDS brought to you by HEALING HOUSE MEDICINALS & THE LUNCH BOX-Take Out Restaurant, running once a week from July through August from 12noon to 4 pm. This Summer 2022 event will feature: Rick and Gailie Young kicking the 1st show off on July 9th, with Amanda Thomas on July 16th, followed by Cale Crowe on two dates July 23 and Aug 13th, Joe McCauley onJuly 30th, Tami J Wilde – August 6th, with Curve Lake Artists – Sarah Lewis, Peggy Day, Missy Knott – August 20th, and closing with Emily Burgess on August 27th.
DEB: Q. 6. What is next on the horizon for Missy Knott?
MISSY – “Truthfully, my priorities right now are being a Mother to Lyrik, taking care of our cats, Rune & Smokey buying a lawn mower. I’d like to feel secure in my home before I take any next big steps and we’re just not there yet.
I am working for my community when I can. As a custodian, as well as an assistant to the ECE. It makes the wheels turn a little more smoothly for Lyrik as well when mom knows the community and has access to resources like our health center offers, as well as our daycare. It is really incredible!
MISSY with daughter Lyrik above turns 7 this September 7th! In the blink of an eye and a camera flash, time sure has flown. Below is 1 of my last captures of Mom and daughter back in 2017.
With that being said, I have two big shows coming up in the fall with my friend and collaborator, Robbie G.
I’ll be performing at the Tech N9ne show with him, as well as Afroman. The work I’m doing with Wild Rice Records is constant. We’ve got some huge projects on the go, and I’d like to get back to our collaboration in radio now that the stations are all opening back up and the world is a little more normal. I’ve been working on the demos for the new album, as well as taking on gigs again but being very careful with who I work with. My time at home with my daughter is too precious to waste right now.”
Chi-miigwech, Missy, I appreciate your time.
Have a great summer, stay raw, real, and be safe!