Today, Harmony shines the spotlight on another creator in the LGBT community.
Say hello to Alberta native, Rae Spoon. Gender retired. Musician. Author. Living in Montreal, Quebec.
H: Hi, and thanks for being part of Harmony’s Free To Be project! When did you first know you wanted to create? Did you ever expect it would become more than a hobby?
RS: I started playing guitar when I was eleven, and I began writing my own songs shortly after that. I knew quite early on that I wanted to be a musician, and I focused most of my adolescent and early-adult energies on it.
H: What is it like being your own ‘boss’?
RS: In a way it’s liberating, since I’m not on demand for another person. I feel lucky that I’ve been able to make a life as a queer and transgender musician outside of the more typical realm of jobs, since I think being trans at these places is often very challenging. I’ve certainly found it difficult when I’ve had to work other jobs in order to make albums or fund certain projects.
H: If there were one word you could use to describe your music, what would it be?
RS: I’ve been told that my music is sparse. I think that’s probably a good word for it.
H: Have you ever faced adversity because your music has queer undertones? If so, how did you – or how do you continue to – get past it?
RS: There’s certainly discrimination against queer and trans folks in the music industry, and I think that the only thing I can do is to work hard to create space for other marginalized people. This is especially true for people of colour, since my own whiteness is a privilege.
H: Most people know you as a musician, but you’ve also written a well-received book, and seem to always have a variety of interesting projects going on. Name two milestones in your creative career.
RS: Shifting from country to indie-electronic after living in Germany for two years was definitely a major milestone. That album, Superioryouareinferior, was released in 2008 and was a breakthrough moment for me. I think my second milestone was the publication of my first book, First Spring Grass Fire, in 2012. I realized then that I also want to be a writer.
H: What do you hope your music/book/etc. bring to your audience?
RS: I hope it encourages others to express their own stories, whether through music or writing or any other form of art.
H: What are your current projects and/or any recently completed projects?
RS: The NFB documentary My Prairie Home, directed by Chelsea McMullan, has recently been released, and it’s playing in festivals and at theatres and universities across Canada. The film looks at my relationship to my childhood in the prairies, and I composed the score and soundtrack, which was also released as my 2013 album of the same name. I’ve also just finished my second book, which is a collaboration with Ivan E. Coyote called Gender Failure, and is based on our show of the same name. The book will be coming out in April 2014.
H: If you could impact the LGBT community in one positive way, what would it be?
RS: In the past year I’ve begun speaking at GSA conferences, and I also facilitate songwriting workshops for the youth there. I’ve been facilitating songwriting workshops for a while, but getting the opportunity to work with youth at GSAs is really awesome. If I could only impact the community in one way, I’d like it to be in support of queer and trans youth.
H: Do you have any advice for those hoping to have a fruitful career in the arts?
RS: Learn business skills as soon as possible.
To keep up to date about Rae’s projects, see below:www.raespoon.com http://raespoon.tumblr.com/ https://www.facebook.com/raespoonpage https://twitter.com/raespoon
If you feel you are forging a place for yourself in the artistic and/or business world and would like us to interview you, please get in touch!