A member of Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe of Martha’s Vineyard MA, performing songwriter Thea Hopkins calls her music - Red Roots Americana. She has been described as a “standout writer” by the Washington Post.
In January 2023, Thea received an artist award from the Newport Festivals Foundation in support of her upcoming recording project, to be released in January 2024.
She was an Official Showcase Artist at Folk Alliance International in 2022.
Her program, “In The Roundhouse”, a celebration of traditional and contemporary Indigenous music, debuted in Providence RI in September 2021.
In May 2021, Thea was selected by Folk Alliance International as part of Team USA, for Global Music Match, an internationally artist led collaborative effort.
Thea’s song, “The Ghost Of Emmett Till”, from her highly praised 2018 EP, “Love Come Down” was awarded the grand prize by the Great American Song Contest in March 2021. There were over 1900 entries from forty three countries.
Her 2018 “Love Come Down’, was nominated for a 2019 Indigenous Music Award in the folk category, an international competition. She created, in just six tunes, an elegant and seamless song journey that begins with a gentle invocation (“Love Come Down”), ends with a lullaby (“Until Then”) and gracefully travels to a few dark American landscapes in between. From love ballad to social history, every song is personal. The scope of the EP – touching upon Americana, folk and pop -- can be seen by the choice of musicians. Jazz trumpeter Tom Halter (Either Orchestra) explores haunting new directions on four songs. “Mississippi River, Mississippi Town” features the electric “ebow” guitar of Dave Minehan (The Neighborhoods, The Replacements.) The pianist Tim Ray (formerly with Lyle Lovett) is prominent, and plaintive, on “Almost Upon a Time.” The song “Tamson Weeks” is sparked by violinist Mimi Rabson of the Really Esoteric String Quartet. It tells the story of Hopkins' great-great aunt, a medicine woman of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Indian tribe of Martha's Vineyard. On her timely ballad, “The Ghost of Emmett Till,” Noel Paul Stookey (the Paul of P,P & M) adds his quietly dramatic guitar and harmony vocals.
In June 2019, Thea was selected by the Western Arts Alliance as a 2019 Native Launchpad Artist, a three-year artist development program. To cap off 2019, Thea was selected for the Wichoie Ahiya Indigenous Singer Songwriter Intensive at the Banff Arts Centre in Alberta, Canada.
She first came to wider public notice when Peter, Paul & Mary recorded her song "Jesus Is On The Wire" in 2004, and then again in 2010 with the Prague Symphony Orchestra. It is considered one of their later signature songs.
Festivals and venues where Thea has performed include the Kennedy Center (DC), Woody Guthrie Festival (OK), the Green Note (UK), the Brooklyn Americana Festival (UK), Moseley Folk Festival (UK), Greenbelt Festival (UK), Saltaire Festival (UK), Summertyne Americana Festival (UK), the Atkinson (UK), Int'l Festival Of Arts and Ideas (CT), Native Voices Festival (NY), Narrows Center For The Arts (MA), Museum of Fine Arts (MA), American Folk Art Museum (NY), Bluebird Cafe (TN), Smith Center For The Performing arts (NV), LaMama (NY), City Winery (NY), Club Passim (MA), Banff Centre For The Arts (CN) and the Bitter End (NY).
Many fans have commented on the beauty of Thea's vocals and lyrics. That sentiment was perhaps most succinctly stated by a former Bob Dylan tour manager, who described Thea Hopkins as "k.d. lang meets Leonard Cohen."
In addition to Aquinnah Wampanoag, Hopkins ' ancestry includes Nottoway (Iroquois), African American, Irish and Portuguese. In other words, Red Roots Americana.