I’ve been Facebook friends with Colleen Rae for more than 12 years. I knew she sang country music but had not heard much from her until recently.
Colleen Rae is from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She grew up in a family that loved music. When they celebrated birthdays and the like they would break out the guitars and start to jam.
There is a cassette tape of little Colleen begging for her turn to perform. They have a recording of her singing, “You Are My Sunshine” and other similar songs.
Performing was in Rae’s blood from the beginning. She recounted, “When I was seven, I put these concerts these little mini concerts from my neighborhood and my parents got an electric garage door opener. So, I just hit the button and that was like my big curtain. I invited people into the neighborhood to watch these little concerts that I would put on. I'd have my parents make the popcorn and the juice and I was charging 25 cents for a ticket to attend, then 10 cents for the popcorn and five cents for the juice.”
When she was in elementary school, Rae informed her school principal that she wanted to sing at the school assemblies. He was like “What do you mean?”
“I wanted to sing at the monthly assemblies, and they let me sing everything from Reba to Tiffany,” she remembered.
She admitted that they mostly listened to country music, but by her teen years, she joined the school choirs and entered talent shows. A life-changing event for the young girl was when a group from her school was invited to go to Disneyland. They were allowed to go backstage when they learned the importance of a music score in a movie.
“That lit a spark for me. To know that my songs could go to film or theater,” she recalled.
Rae started writing music/poems at age 14. She would sit down at the piano with her words and start adding melodies. After her dad showed her a few chords, she taught herself to play guitar. She was part of a little band in high school, and they performed at her graduation.
But what the singer/songwriter really loved was country music. She did a tribute show for Connie Smith because she was so inspired by the country icon. Rae soon learned that as talented as Connie Smith was, she didn’t write much of her music. At the time, people like Harlan Howard and Byron Hill were the hit writers. She found out that Kim Richey wrote a lot of songs for Trisha Yearwood.
She thought, “I want to write songs like that.”
By age 19, Rae wrote the song “Do I Have Your Eyes” about her best friend who had recently found her birth parents.
But music wasn’t Rae’s only passion. She wanted to be a wife and mother. She has always been an independent artist and has even turned down a few offers from record companies.
She told me, “I knew for a long time in my life in my heart that I wanted to be a mom and a wife. And I want to have the balance and the flexibility to be able to do that. I'd have to be able to decide when and where I can play. I feel like I've got that best balance of being able to do my music and still be at home with my two boys.”
Rae loves performing and has even opened for Suzie Bogus but is also content to be a respected songwriter.
She released her first album in 2011, What You Need Is Me and then Look at Her Go in 2015.
Her song “Quickest Heart in Town” from her sophomore album went to #1 on her hometown radio station and was her fastest-rising single to date.
In 2019 Rae put out Holding Onto Life. This year, Brimstone Pictures’ producers featured her song “Where Did I Go” in the movie dark comedy “Spin the Wheel.”
She explained, “At first, I didn’t think that I was the right fit because of hearing that it was a thriller. A lot of my stuff is very emotional, and I thought, “How is that going to match into this thriller type of movie?’ But when they showed me the scene, I knew it was perfect.”
With words like Where am I? Whereʼs the faith, Whereʼs the love, Whereʼs the hope? / Did I lose it somewhere between what I see and what I know? / Lifeʼs passing me by, Iʼm needing some time. To go searching through my soul. / Looking down deep inside / Iʼm just trying to find, Where did I go? the song alludes to someone who has had a devastating loss but is still clinging to a glimmer of hope.
The producers have a few of her other songs on hold and now the Canadian songstress would love to have her music featured in Hallmark movies and other similar outlets.
In the meantime, Rae flies to Nashville regularly to write new songs and get and give ideas. She continues to sing country music because it was what she was born to do. And though her voice sounds quite like an alto Trisha Yearwood, she loves the music of Patty Loveless, Connie Smith, and Tammy Wynette whose songs pull on your heartstrings and inspire her to do likewise.
I am excited to see what this singer/songwriter/wife/mom does next. She is passionate about everything she does, and it really shows in her music.
You can follow Colleen Rae on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and all streaming platforms.
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Bethany Bowman is a freelance entertainment writer. You can follow her blog, Instagram, and Twitter.