|Occupation||Singer-songwriter, short story writer|
|Notable works||First Grass Spring Fire, superioryouareinferior, My Prairie Home|
Spoon grew up as a transgender person in Calgary, Alberta. They were raised in a Pentecostal household by a paranoid-schizophrenic father. Their father's religious beliefs caused anxiety to a teenage Rae. Spoon now lives in Victoria, British Columbia.
In 2003, Spoon said they identified as a trans man. In 2012, during an interview with fellow advocate for the gender-neutral pronoun and cartoonist, Elisha Lim, Spoon noted a preference for the pronoun "they", and has identified as non-binary since then. They explained to Now Magazine, "after years of fighting to be called 'he,' the idea of coming out again made me tired. But now I feel kind of rejuvenated, ready to fight on some more. I think the 'they' pronoun is a pretty cool thing. It's letting a lot of people not have to identify as a man or a woman. Whatever it means to them."
How do you become a transgender country singer? For some, it's easier to be transgender from the start, and then work towards becoming a singer. For others it is better to play music first, and then come out as transgender. About ten years ago, I managed to do both in the space of a few months.
Spoon started performing before they started recording. They decided they wanted to become a songwriter while performing at the age of seventeen. They emerged as a country and roots singer. Their early music features country imagery to the sound of acoustic string instruments such as banjo, guitar and mandolin.
Spoon has performed with such artists as Annabelle Chvostek, Ember Swift, Kinnie Starr, Melissa Ferrick, The Be Good Tanyas, Bitch & Animal, Natalie Merchant and Earl Scruggs. They have performed at festivals including North Country Fair, South Country Fair, Under the Volcano Festival, and the Vancouver, Regina, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Brandon Folk, Music & Art Festival and Winnipeg folk festivals.
Spoon's breakthrough album, 2008's Superioryouareinferior, was recorded in Calgary and introduced some electronic music elements into Spoon's style. Superioryouareinferior includes themes previously used by Spoon like Canadian history and culture such as the commentary on colonialism in their song "Come On Forest Fire Burn The Disco Down". Superioryouareinferior was a longlisted nominee for the 2009 Polaris Music Prize.
While touring Europe Spoon met Alexandre Decoupigny in Berlin. Decoupigny and Spoon collaborated in the album Worauf Wartest Du? Decoupigny taught Spoon how to create music with a computer which inspired the musician to further experiment with electronic music. The experimentation with electronic music influenced their subsequent albums and culminated in I Can't Keep All Our Secrets.
They have also published First Spring Grass Fire, a book of short stories about growing up in Alberta. Arsenal Pulp Press released the book in the fall of 2012. The book was a nominee for the 2013 Lambda Literary Awards in the Transgender Fiction category, and Spoon was awarded an Honour of Distinction from the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT writers in 2014.
Spoon has stated that First Spring Grass Fire was written to help them prepare for the production of a National Film Board of Canada documentary about their life and music, My Prairie Home, directed by Chelsea McMullan. The film was released in the fall of 2013. My Prairie Home, the album of music that Spoon composed for the film, was a longlisted nominee for the 2014 Polaris Music Prize.
In 2012, Spoon and Ivan Coyote collaborated on Gender Failure, a touring multimedia show in which both artists performed music and spoken word pieces about their failed attempts at fitting into the gender binary. A book based on the show was published by Arsenal Pulp in 2014. Gender Failure was nominated for the ALA's Over the Rainbow Project List in 2015.
Spoon began the music label Coax Records "out of a love for indie music and as an answer to under representation for many groups in the music industry." The album "Armour" was released on Coax in 2016.
In 2017, Spoon published a manual in the How To series, entitled How to (Hide) Be(hind) Your Songs.
- Honking at Minivans (2001)
- Throw Some Dirt on Me (2003)
- Your Trailer Door (2005)
- White Hearse Comes Rolling (2006)
- Trucker's Memorial (2006, with Rodney Decroo)
- superioryouareinferior (2008)
- Worauf wartest du? (2009, with Alexandre Decoupigny)
- Love Is a Hunter (2010)
- I Can't Keep All of Our Secrets (2012)
- My Prairie Home (2013)
- Armour (2016)
- Jump With Your Eyes Closed (2016)
- They with Plastik (2016)
- My Side of the Mountain with Clyde Petersen (2016)
- bodiesofwater (2018)
- Rae Spoon With Jesus and His Judgemental Father (2019)
- Mental Health (2019)
- Not Dead Yet (2023)
- Rae Spoon's Long View. Exclaim!, October 2008.
- "He said/she said?", SEE Magazine, 8 May 2003, archived from the original on 22 October 2007, retrieved 22 September 2007
- "Elisha Lim and Rae Spoon: Talking Shop" Archived 31 July 2019 at the Wayback Machine. No More Potlucks, January 2012.
- Spoon, Rae (31 March 2020). "Transgender Day of Visibility in the era of COVID-19: Four artists in conversation with Rae Spoon | CBC Arts". CBC. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
It's close to 20 years since I came out as transgender and eight since I came out as non-binary.
- "Rae Spoon: Powerful album reignites the pronoun debate". NOW, 26 January 2012.
- Nair, Roshini (3 April 2020). "For non-binary musician Rae Spoon, a cervical cancer diagnosis came with an extra dimension of anxiety". CBC. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
- Perschbacher, Shana-Goldin (Autumn 2015). "Trans Americana: Gender, Genre, and Journey". New Literary History. 46 (4): 775–803. doi:10.1353/nlh.2015.0041. S2CID 146951448.
- King, Moynan (18 January 2012). "Canada's Dandy Duet: The Performance Collaboration of Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon". Canadian Theatre Review. 149: 46–51. doi:10.3138/ctr.149.46. S2CID 192184847. See p. 48.
- McPherson, David. "Your Trailer Door". exclaim. Ian Danzig. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
- "Rae Spoon offers an affectionate homage to another era". Xtra!, 7 July 2005.
- Ash, Amanda. "Superioryouareinferior". Exclaim!. Ian Danzig. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
- "Pop goes Rae Spoon". Exclaim!, September 2010.
- Angus, Mike. "On The Hunt". Vue Weekly. Aberdeen. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
- Hudson, Alex. "Rae Spoon Talks 'I Can't Keep All of Our Secrets,' Reveals New Track and Canadian Tour". Exclaim!. Ian Danzig. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
- Adams, Gregory. "Rae Spoon Announces 'I Can't Keep All of Our Secrets'". Exclaim!. Ian Danzig. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
- "Rae Spoon, Kamal Al-Solaylee among Canadian Lambda nominees" Archived 6 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Quill & Quire, 6 March 2013.
- Dayne Ogilvie Prize, Writers' Trust of Canada.
- Kelly, Brendan (13 December 2013). "Rae Spoon is different by nature, and proud of it". Montreal Gazette. Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
- Lederman, Marsha (28 September 2013). "My Prairie Home". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
- "Polaris Music Prize announces 2014 long list" Archived 3 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Aux, 19 June 2014.
- Richard Burnett, "Queer icons Ivan E. Coyote and Rae Spoon step "out of the box" for Gender Failure Show". The Gazette, 20 November 2012.
- "Rae Spoon and Ivan E. Coyote share personal stories in Gender Failure". Quill & Quire, 20 June 2014.
- "2015 Over the Rainbow List: 78 LGBT Books for Adult Readers". Over the Rainbow Books. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
- "Best Original Scores: TIFF tips for music lovers". Now, 4 September 2014.
- "About Label – Coax Records". Coax Records. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
- "Rae Spoon Returns with 'Armour'". exclaim.ca. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
- "How To (Hide) Be(Hind) Your Songs". How To Be Books. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
- Francis Baptiste, "Rae Spoon's 'Not Dead Yet' Dances in the Face of Mortality". Exclaim!, August 9, 2023.