Early History

Music has always been a part of Colleen Rae's life. Whether it was family jams around a kitchen table or performing in the school choir, Colleen was always singing. Colleen recalls her love of performing starting as early as elementary school.

I’d ask the principal if I could sing during the monthly assemblies and I would sing songs by Reba, Madonna, Crystal Gayle and Tiffany.

Colleen Rae's love of "the business" began at age six when she staged shows in the family's basement. She'd have homemade posters lining the stairway, she'd sell popcorn and Kool-Aid to her audiences (a mind for marketing even then!). When her parents got an electric garage door opener, Colleen moved to another level and even bigger venue. The neighborhood crowded into lawn chairs set up in the driveway.

Colleen studied drama and piano throughout junior high and high school. She developed her stage presence by performing in dramatic plays such as Caged Birds, Grease, MacBeth, and The Wizard of Oz

Colleen joined the All City Centennial Choir in 1995, and was a member for three years. She studied voice with Jana Lapel from 1995 to 1997 and continued vocal instruction with Laurier Fagnan in 1997 and 1998. Colleen Rae is a classically trained vocalist. 

Colleen completed Royal Conservatory of Toronto Piano achieving First Class Honors and she is self taught on guitar. 

In April 1996, Colleen performed at Queen Elizabeth High School's Western Days with her band, Backroad Rebels. This was the turning point. Until then, Colleen had considered a career in radio broadcasting. However, now her destiny was certain. The applause, the happy faces, the love of singing, and the thrill of performing captured Colleen's heart and Soul. Colleen Rae the artist was born.

It was an honour for Rae's to start her career as the opening act for the Legendary Bev Munro. Colleen Rae's love of traditional country music led her to perform a tribute to Connie Smith with the Blue Train Band over a span of two years. 

Colleen Rae also performed with the trio, Rocky Mountain Roses, with Claudia Payne & Melanie Switzer. This is where she honed her skills as a harmony vocalist. After a year with the trio, Colleen decided to focus on a solo career.

In 1999, Colleen Rae headed into the studio to record a demo of three songs she co-wrote with renowned songwriter Dennis Charney. That demo attracted funding from The Alberta Foundation for the Arts for her next demo recorded at Louis Sedmak Productions.

Recording artist Jake Mathews also gave Colleen Rae a boost to her career by inviting her to be the opening act for his shows at the Calgary Stampede, Roughstock Rodeo and at Frank Sisson's Casino.

Other highlights of her career included performing at Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alberta, headlining at Carlton Trail Jamboree in Rabbit Lake, Saskatchewan, and at Klondike Days, Edmonton, Alberta.

Colleen always knew she wanted to front her own band so in 2001 she joined CORNERSTONE.