Liona Maria Boyd was born in London, England. She came to Canada at age eight. At fourteen she asked her parents for a guitar as a Christmas present. After hearing a concert by the great English guitarist, Julian Bream, Boyd was determined to master the instrument. While still a teenager she took private lessons with Eli Kassner, Narcisco Yepes, Alirio Diaz, Julian Bream, and the legendary guitarist Andres Segovia.
Boyd completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Performance at the University of Toronto where she graduated with honours and won first prize in the Canadian National Music Competition. After two years of private study with Alexandre Lagoya in Paris, Boyd returned to North America and recorded her first album for Boot/London Records.
Boyd briefly dated Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.