Performing as Once a Tree, Jayli and Hayden Wolf have released their first album, Phoenix, and been named as one of 10 new performers to watch by Rolling Stone magazine. (Photo credit Oat Phoenix Press)

Creston grad and husband recognized by Rolling Stone as new performers of note

Rolling Stone magazine has named Once a Tree, the band of Crestonites Jaylie and Hayden Wolf one of 10 new performers to watch.

Jayli and Hayden Wolf have had their ups and downs since moving from Creston to Toronto more than four years ago. But their musical careers are ascending with the release of their debut album, Phoenix, and mention in Rolling Stone magazine as one of 10 New Artists You Need to Know: November 2017.

Asked on Friday to describe their move to Toronto, Jayli responded:

“I won a songwriting competition through APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) and Big Soul Productions, and I was flown to Toronto to shoot a music video,” she said. “I asked the producer to fly Hayden and I both to Toronto with one-way tickets instead of just buying me a return flight. They didn’t mind at all! So we showed up in Toronto with two suitcases and a guitar with no clue how we were going to make it, or where we would even sleep. But after a few bumpy weeks, we found an apartment, started work, and continued chasing our dreams.”

Working together as Once a Tree, Hayden and Jayli settled into the Toronto music scene.

“Moving to Toronto has been such an amazing decision,” she continued. “We are so happy we took the leap. The people that we have connected with have inspired us, and encouraged us beyond belief. We have a beautiful creative family here now. Hayden was able to get into a program called the Remix Project, and that was totally life-changing for us. Hayden really worked on his production skills and that’s where we met the majority of our support group out here.”

Jayli, who was raised in Creston, and Hayden first connected on Facebook and they eventually met in person when he took a 13-hour Greyhound ride to Creston to help Jayli make a video featuring one of her songs. It wasn’t until he met Jayli that Hayden started to think that he too could have a future in music. He had been making videos since the age of 14 but had no experience with music videos.

“We just got a bottle of gin and got a bunch of her friends and shot a bunch of stuff,” he said in an interview with Sidewalk Hustle, an online lifestyle site. “We spent a week recording and making videos and just decided ‘let’s do this together, forever.’”

“Forever” meant marriage, and three months later they were saying their vows in front of local marriage commissioner Ann Deatherage.

Those early pre-marriage months weren’t easy. Hayden went into a downward spiral of depression and drug abuse. It nearly cost him his own life.

“I found Hayden standing at the edge of a cliff,” Jayli wrote later on her Facebook page. “I almost fell trying to stop him. There was a group of us there that night. We held Hayden down until the police showed up.”’

Two years ago, Jayli’s own struggles with depression deepened.

“Last year I was in a very dark place,” she told Sidewalk Hustle. “Not even going to lie – I was suicidal and floating, not sure if I wanted to exist. Some of the music I made during that time made it onto the album. And then we decided to face the demons and took a trip to Peru and took ayahuasca (a traditional spirit medicine). It completely changed my life.”

That change is celebrated in Once A Tree debut album’s name, Phoenix, the legendary bird that rose from the ashes.

Sadly, Jayli and Hayden will not remember 2017 only for the release of Phoenix, an 11-track CD. Earlier this year Hayden’s brother, Avery, ended his life by suicide.

Hayden’s struggle with the loss was featured in People magazine. The story became one of hope, because it helped Hayden and Jayli work with the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation’s Not Alone Campaign. With their help, KGH was able to build another in a series of facilities across the country to help Canadian youths who suffer from mental illness.

In the People story, written by Nicole Sands, Hayden was able to get his message out: “Life can become so dark, but there’s always a light and you just have to find it. Any situation that you think is a terrible one can actually turn around and become a blessing depending on how you look at it.”

Struggles or successes, there is still no place like home, Jayli says.

“I still love to come to Creston and call it home! We just got to go back in the summer and visit some of our family and friends, it was so nice to be in the valley! I never forget it’s beauty, but when I am back I am always in awe of it. We actually shot a music video on Kootenay Lake this past summer for our song called Coming Down. We had Ann and Gary Deatherage acting in it – it was very special because Ann actually married Hayden and me five years ago.“

Once a Tree will devote the coming months to working on a live set, and then will be performing and touring in 2018.

“We are also going to continue recording new tracks – we have lots of songs in the works,” Jayli said. Her early success as an actor—she was in eight episodes of the APTN series Mohawk Girls—has led to TV commercial work for the likes of McDonald’s, Subway and Ford.

“Hopefully I will pick the acting back up in the new year!” she said.

Phoenix is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and all other music streaming platforms. A link to Phoenix on Spotify can be found at www.onceatreemusic.com.

The Rolling Stone article

Just Posted

Kiara Ker earns bronze at U17 National Basketball Championships

This was the third time the local basketball player represented Team BC at the national level

East Kootenay wakesurfers have success in national championships

Many local riders competed in the 2019 Nautique Canadian Wakesurf National Championships

Campaign financing numbers released for Cranbrook byelection

The financial numbers are in from Cranbrook’s municipal byelection held earlier in… Continue reading

Cranbrook Bandits hand out end of season awards

The junior and senior teams recognized players from the 2019 season

It happened this week in Cranbrook: 1912

Aug. 11 - 17: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the newspapers at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. seizes 1.5M grams contraband tobacco, down from 5.75M grams the year prior

The 2019-2020 seizures were a sharp drop compared to the 2018-2019 year,

B.C. Speaker tight-lipped about aide’s legislature security tour

B.C. Liberals question Alan Mullen’s drive across Canada, U.S.

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Most Read