Rae Spoon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rae Spoon
Rae Spoon in November 2013
Rae Spoon in November 2013
BornCalgary, Alberta
OccupationSinger-songwriter, short story writer
Notable worksFirst Grass Spring Fire, superioryouareinferior, My Prairie Home

Rae Spoon is a Canadian musician and writer. Their musical style has varied from country to electronic-influenced indie rock and folk punk.[1]

Personal life[edit]

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.[2] 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",[3] and has identified as non-binary since then.[4] 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."[5]

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, which forced them to cancel a series of tours, Spoon was diagnosed with cervical cancer. They said they did not know what the prognosis was at that point.[6]


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.

Rae Spoon[7]

Spoon started performing before they started recording. They decided they wanted to become a songwriter while performing at the age of seventeen.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10] They have performed at festivals including North Country Fair, South Country Fair, Under the Volcano Festival, and the Vancouver,[10] 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.[1] 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".[11] Superioryouareinferior was a longlisted nominee for the 2009 Polaris Music Prize.[12]

While touring Europe Spoon met Alexandre Decoupigny in Berlin. Decoupigny and Spoon collaborated in the album Worauf Wartest Du?[13] Decoupigny taught Spoon how to create music with a computer which inspired the musician to further experiment with electronic music.[14] The experimentation with electronic music influenced their subsequent albums and culminated in I Can't Keep All Our Secrets.[15]

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.[5] The book was a nominee for the 2013 Lambda Literary Awards in the Transgender Fiction category,[16] and Spoon was awarded an Honour of Distinction from the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT writers in 2014.[17]

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.[18][19] My Prairie Home, the album of music that Spoon composed for the film, was a longlisted nominee for the 2014 Polaris Music Prize.[20]

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.[21] A book based on the show was published by Arsenal Pulp in 2014.[22] Gender Failure was nominated for the ALA's Over the Rainbow Project List in 2015.[23]

In 2014, Spoon composed music for the feature film The Valley Below.[24]

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."[25] The album "Armour" was released on Coax in 2016.[26]

In 2017, Spoon published a manual in the How To series, entitled How to (Hide) Be(hind) Your Songs.[27]


  • 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)[28]


  1. ^ a b Rae Spoon's Long View. Exclaim!, October 2008.
  2. ^ "He said/she said?", SEE Magazine, 8 May 2003, archived from the original on 22 October 2007, retrieved 22 September 2007
  3. ^ "Elisha Lim and Rae Spoon: Talking Shop" Archived 31 July 2019 at the Wayback Machine. No More Potlucks, January 2012.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b "Rae Spoon: Powerful album reignites the pronoun debate". NOW, 26 January 2012.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ McPherson, David. "Your Trailer Door". exclaim. Ian Danzig. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Rae Spoon offers an affectionate homage to another era". Xtra!, 7 July 2005.
  11. ^ Ash, Amanda. "Superioryouareinferior". Exclaim!. Ian Danzig. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Pop goes Rae Spoon". Exclaim!, September 2010.
  13. ^ Angus, Mike. "On The Hunt". Vue Weekly. Aberdeen. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ Adams, Gregory. "Rae Spoon Announces 'I Can't Keep All of Our Secrets'". Exclaim!. Ian Danzig. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  16. ^ "Rae Spoon, Kamal Al-Solaylee among Canadian Lambda nominees" Archived 6 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Quill & Quire, 6 March 2013.
  17. ^ Dayne Ogilvie Prize, Writers' Trust of Canada.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Lederman, Marsha (28 September 2013). "My Prairie Home". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  20. ^ "Polaris Music Prize announces 2014 long list" Archived 3 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Aux, 19 June 2014.
  21. ^ Richard Burnett, "Queer icons Ivan E. Coyote and Rae Spoon step "out of the box" for Gender Failure Show". The Gazette, 20 November 2012.
  22. ^ "Rae Spoon and Ivan E. Coyote share personal stories in Gender Failure". Quill & Quire, 20 June 2014.
  23. ^ "2015 Over the Rainbow List: 78 LGBT Books for Adult Readers". Over the Rainbow Books. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  24. ^ "Best Original Scores: TIFF tips for music lovers". Now, 4 September 2014.
  25. ^ "About Label – Coax Records". Coax Records. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  26. ^ "Rae Spoon Returns with 'Armour'". exclaim.ca. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  27. ^ "How To (Hide) Be(Hind) Your Songs". How To Be Books. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  28. ^ Francis Baptiste, "Rae Spoon's 'Not Dead Yet' Dances in the Face of Mortality". Exclaim!, August 9, 2023.

External links[edit]