Colleen Rae
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Colleen Rae

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | SELF

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | SELF
Band Country Folk


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Lets Talk Country…"

Edmonton native a “Rae” of sunshine on the country music scene

Colleen Rae exudes country music. In fact, her new album has been criticized for being “too country”. Such an absurdly ironic statement simply rolls off the small shoulders of one of Canadian country music’s rising stars. When you love country music as much as Colleen does, being “too country” is actually a compliment.
Since she was a small girl Colleen has enjoyed singing, often performing for family members in her basement. Her flare for singing has not dwindled but only grown stronger and her passion can be heard on her debut album—What You Need is Me.
Released in March, What You Need is Me blends traditional country harmony and compelling lyrical writing with a more contemporary country sound. The album, produced by Louis Sedmark, has already produced one nationally charted single in Lookin’ for Love. These are very exciting times for the 26-year-old artist.
“This album was four years in the making, and it was hard narrowing down which songs we wanted to include,” says Colleen, who used school functions as her platform for performing in front of large audiences. “I am just so thrilled and pleased with the attention the album is receiving. It is even getting air time in Europe and Australia.”
Sifting through hundreds of songs written by many talented writers, Colleen selected those that spoke to her and would allow her vocal talents to shine through. Among the well-known songwriters involved in the project were Duane Steele, Cyril Rawson, Jake Mathews, Byron Hill, and Naoise Sheridan, who co-wrote the Kenny Chesney hit Young.
While the first single has garnered incredible global support it is not the only song from the CD receiving air time. The second single, What You Need is Me, which was released in October of last year, has gained strong radio support, reaching number one on Alberta radio station CFCW’s “Top Canadian Singles”. Meanwhile, a third single, The End of the Dance has just hit the airwaves.
While Colleen is excited to hear a song from her CD being blasted on radio stations across the country, she still gets the biggest jolt from her live performances.
“I want to be known more for being a quality entertainer than just another singer/songwriter,” she admits.
Colleen, backed by her band Cornerstone, has been entertaining crowds for the past four years. The band, consisting of Colleen, Wayne Bellerose, Del Cocks, and Randy Busby, has created an engaging sound that has garnered a strong following throughout western Canada. Appealing to all ages, Cornerstone enjoys covering such notable artists as Johnny Cash, ABBA, Dusty Springfield, ACDC, and Nora Jones, to name just a few. A more eclectic arrangement of musical talents from various genres would be harder to find. Colleen also enjoys performing her own original songs, which have received high praise at their live concerts.
“Being a part of Cornerstone has been fantastic,” she says elatedly. “We are a perfect match for each other. We are all on the same page musically and we are all open to hearing any suggestions each member might have.”
Colleen and her band have played many shows at many different venues. In 2004 and 2005 Colleen performed at the Winspear Centre as part of the Global Country All-Star Concert. She will be appearing once again this year as well. In the upcoming months she will play a number of venues in her hometown of Edmonton, including Casino Edmonton and Casino Yellowhead as well as the Wild West Saloon, always a favourite.


Like many people, Colleen is no different when it comes to having ties to the trucking industry. Her grandfather, Edgar York, had his own trucking company, hauling grain in the Wetaskiwin area. Since then her uncle Grant has continued the company.
“Just recently, I was sitting around with my family and my grandpa broke out his guitar and we began singing some songs. As you can see trucks and guitars have always been in our lives,” laughs Colleen.
The family ties don’t end there. Colleen’s father was in the trucking business for 33 years, hauling sand, gravel, cement, snow, you name it. He taught Colleen how to play You are My Sunshine on the guitar. Unfortunately, on September 8, 2004, Colleen’s father died of a massive heart attack in his truck.
“Dad would always say ‘If you love what you do, it is half the battle’,” recalls Colleen, adding “Dad believed in my music and encouraged me to follow my dreams.”


Colleen’s brother, Kevin Chamzuk, has continued the family legacy. Kevin is an owner operator for KGC Trucking and drives a 1999 Peterbilt (see photo).
“I am very proud of Kevin for following his dreams just like me. Our struggles are similar, what with being on the road all the time, fronting our own businesses, and working in unpredictable industries.”
Even Colleen herself is part of the Canadian trucking industry. To help fund her true passion Colleen has worked for Kasey Dispatch for almost a decade. The company hauls parts, pallets, oilfield equipments, and pipe for various companies.
“My boss has been one of my biggest supporters. She gives me the flexibility to pursue my dreams while working, which allows me the opportunity to fund those dreams.”
Colleen’s biggest supporter, if a title does exist, is her mother Ann. When Colleen was asked who her musical inspirations were she replied with a ménage of various artists from Trisha Yearwood to Bon Jovi. She was quick to point out however that her most inspirational motivator is her mother.
“My mother is where I inherited my voice. She is one of the most talented women I have ever met,” says Colleen passionately. “She has not been pushy, but supportive in every decision I make. She is my manager, hair dresser, mentor; my everything. She keeps my feet planted firmly to the ground. She still gets excited when she hears one of my songs and she’s heard them a million times.”
While her music may be “too” traditionally country, she is an untraditional artist. In a world where many musicians get caught up in fame and money, it’s fair to say that those issues will never see the light of day with Ms. Rae. She has a strong supportive network of people that will not allow that to happen.
Talking to Colleen, one quickly notices she prefers to talk about others. Whether it’s the amazing band she plays with, a supportive boss, her inspiring family, or even her husband of seven years, Colleen enjoys sharing the limelight.
With Colleen’s strong sense of humility and passion one does not see the end of her dance coming any time soon.

- By Jed Devenish

"COLLEEN RAE - Discovering A Hidden Gem"

Sometimes the hidden gems in country music are just waiting to be ‘discovered’. And you don’t always have to go to those big nugget mines in the U.S. to find ‘em…just a little diggin’ around, scratch the surface, and you might find one of those special talents in our own backyard.
Eureka !! We’ve just struck gold in Colleen Rae.

The Edmonton born and raised singer has just released her debut album (official release date is March 1st)…and she proves to be one of the most refreshing new voices in Cancountry in some time. Colleen Rae’s What You Need Is Me album is filled with great songs, delightfully delivered by the young rising star. What makes the package even more special is that it was recorded in Edmonton studios under the production guidance of Louis Sedmak…a total Canadian product, and one to hang our hats on !!

…with a decade of ‘Dues Paying’ behind her !!

Colleen Rae’s music will be ‘new’ to most listeners. She has just released only her second single to radio --- the album’s title track song, What You Need Is Me, a follow-up to her debut, nationally charted single Lookin’ For Love. Neither of the releases have been supported by a video, so the face and name behind Colleen Rae’s music is still in its infancy.
Still, like most in the music business, Colleen Rae has been honing her musical talents for over a decade. She studied music (piano) and voice, and drama – constantly working to perfect the fine points of her craft. She was considering a career in broadcasting…but took a sharp turn to the right (or left), when she performed at a Western Days event at her high school in Edmonton with her basement band The Backroad Rebels. “Performing in front of an audience was magic…I knew right then and there that I wanted to be a singer”, says Colleen.


One of her first forays into the world of country music came when she was still a teenager… a very ambitious “Tribute To Connie Smith” show, which Colleen performed at mostly small town, small stage venues throughout Northern Alberta and neighbouring Saskatchewan.
“I was inspired to do that ‘tribute’ after listening for many years to a bunch of Connie Smith albums that my parents played continuously through my early teen years”, recalls Colleen. “I was completely spellbound by the great voice and the great songs…and I sang a lot of them with her as the records played in our living room. My parents didn’t object when I said I wanted to do that ‘tribute show’; in fact my Mom brought out a bunch of dresses from the Connie Smith era that she had stored away…many of them looked just like the dresses Connie Smith wore on her album covers… it all turned out wonderful. Edmonton music pioneers like Bill Hersh and Bev Munro really helped me out to put that show together … wherever we played, the audiences really seemed to enjoy the ‘tribute’. There were great songs to play…Once A Day, Ribbon Of Darkness, Then And Only Then, Cincinatti, Ohio…Connie Smith had a lot of great hits. I loved her music…still do !!”

The fun of doing a ‘tribute’ show led to a similar venture performing Tammy Wynette’s music…and then Colleen began to expand her musical horizons, working many of the special music events in Northern Alberta.
”Oh yes, a lot of doors began opening for me. I had the opportunity to showcase at various Global Country events, and play the Klondike Days event, and the fairs and festivals”, says Colleen. “I also was part of the all-girl band The Rocky Mountain Roses. Melanie Switzer was in that band…she left to form another all-girl band, Blush. That was a lot of fun”.

Local TV appearances, a showcase at Country Music Week 2001; the Project Discovery contest participation; were all important stepping stones that lead toward Colleen’s dream of starting her recording career.


“My first time in a recording studio to cut my own material was back in 1999. My good friend Dennis Charney (CMN’s Edmonton News reporter for many years) and I collaborated on some songs, and we demoed three songs. I got the bug real bad…I really wanted to get my recording career into high gear with a full album”.
The stage was set when producer Louis Sedmak, noted for his critically-acclaimed work on albums for Jake Mathews, Duane Steele, and others, entered the picture and began to set the wheels in motion for Colleen’s recording sessions.

“We started searching for songs…Louis had a lot of contacts in Nashville, and they sent tons of songs. People like Max Hutchinson and Byron Hill…oooh they had access to a lot of great tunes…and we cut some of them…but I was really wanting to show my Canadian roots by using songs written by some of the gifted songwriters we have… so the search continued; and we must have listened to hundreds of songs, cherry-picking the very best one’s that came to us.”

Once the songlist had been whittled down, Colleen entered the studio and cut tunes by local songwriters Rob Heath (Lookin’ For Love) and Jake Mathews, and Duane Steele (Family and One Good Reason, both co-written by Steele with Louis Sedmak), as well as songs composed by Canadian writers working out of Nashville, like Cyril Rawson (The End Of The Dance); Naoise Sheridan (What You Need Is Me); and tunes co-written by David C. Martin (writer/producer of Adam Gregory hits) with Tara Lyn Hart and Tebey Otto.

“I think I achieved my goal of using Canadian songwriters on my album; but I also cut tunes by Byron Hill and by Richard Leigh who wrote all those great hits for Crystal Gayle; and I also did a song that Lorrie Morgan had recorded, Strong Enough To Cry; but at the time I wasn’t aware she had included it on one of her albums. I just love that song”, exclaims Colleen.


While Colleen’s recording career is just getting launched, the same can’t be said about her ‘live performances’. She is a road-tested veteran in that area, with some ten years of stage work already behind her, dating back to the “tribute” days.
For the past couple of years Colleen has fronted the act Colleen Rae & Cornerstone.
“These guys are wonderful musicians. They’ve been a part of the Alberta scene for years…and they were looking for someone to fill their “vocal” spot in the act…we just clicked. We’re having an amazing time playing …we do a variety of material…it’s all going over well with our audiences at casino venues and festival and club dates”, says Colleen.
With Colleen in the band are Wayne Bellerose (lead guitar), Del Cocks (bass and vocals) and Randy Busby (drums / vocals).


During Colleen’s early years on stage she was accompanied ‘around town’ by her parents (Ann and Bill Chamzuk). “They were both incredibly supportive of my dreams… it was never a case of ‘parental involvement’ …they just made sure I was safe and secure. They were wonderful company”.
Sadly, Colleen’s dad passed away in September, 2004.
“He would have so loved to be here today” reminisces Colleen. ”He was anxious for my album to make its debut…he was looking forward to hearing my music on the radio…and I know he would love to be reading this story in Country Music News. You know…I’m pretty sure he’s watching all of this going on right now…and he’s got a great big smile on his face”.
Colleen’s mother Ann, remains the unofficial “manager” of her career.


“She laughs about it”. She doesn’t pretend to be a big-time manager, or anything like that. She just steers me in the right direction…and keeps my feet firmly planted. We’re not actively looking for a professional manager…but if the right situation comes along, by all means we’ll look at it closely. Mom says she thinks she can find things to fill any spare time that might develop out of her losing her ‘managerial’ job.
Colleen is also buoyed by two older brothers (Kevin and Randy), both of whom enjoy playing music with Colleen at family gatherings…but have not pursued careers in music. “Yeah…we have great jam sessions”, says Colleen. “They claim they taught me everything I know”.

Colleen also took another life step forward last fall when she married Doug Sheremeta.
“We were married on the same day last September that Terri Clark was wed to her road manager Greg Kaczor”, relates Colleen…. ”That’s where any similarities ended. Their wedding was highly publicized…we had a quiet, serene affair; and I worked a club date the same weekend, delaying our honeymoon to Banff by a few days; and unlike Terri’s new husband, Doug is not in the music business. But he’s now my biggest fan and supporter….I feel like the luckiest person in the world.”

The road ahead will also be a very hectic one for Colleen Rae.
“Well, our priority right now will be to host the CD Release Party. It’s scheduled for March 30th at the Wild West Saloon in my hometown of Edmonton…so that’s pretty exciting.

There will also be a series of radio station promotions (mostly in Alberta at this time)…and I am on the road with Cornerstone for about 40 weeks of the year; so there’s really not much time for a breather.

The one thing I really want to concentrate on more is my songwriting…it’s something that I want to develop. I really enjoy the creative aspects of songwriting…I just need to become more confident with writing…and I’d like to work alongside some of our great songwriters…learn some of their tricks of the trade so to speak…I’m hoping to be able to include some of my own songs on my next album”.

That “hidden gem” we were telling you about, is beginning to sound like a polished jewel.

Photo of Colleen Rae By Anne Gillespie

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- By Larry Delaney

"CD Review - COLLEEN RAE - What You Need Is Me"

What You Need Is Me
Indie – CRCD02
Produced by: Louis Sedmak
(10 Selections – Playing Time 34:30)
You Can Get There From Here / What Was It / What You Need Is Me / Family / Let’s Get Lost / One Good Reason / The End Of The Dance / Lookin’ For Love / I Think, I Hope, I Pray / Strong Enough To Cry

Edmonton-bred singer Colleen Rae makes her album debut with What You Need Is Me…and it turns out to be one of the strongest albums on the Cancountry scene in some time – thanks largely to Colleen Rae’s expressive vocal work, some really outstanding production touches by Louis Sedmak; and a bevy of songs from a variety of mostly Canadian songwriters.

The album has already yielded one nationally charted single in Lookin’ For Love (penned by Edmonton’s Rob Heath); and the current follow-up, the title track, What You Need Is Me, a great country shuffle tune complete with steel guitar riffs, comes from the pen of Canadian songwriter Naoise Sheridan, best known for co-writing the recent Kenny Chesney hit, Young.

But the ‘good stuff’ goes even deeper. There’s a really strong story song in Family (this one co-written by Duane Steele / Jake Mathews and producer Sedmak); and Let’s Get Lost (co-written by David Martin and Tebey Ottoh), has the earmarks of being a hit record. Cyril Rawson, one of the most consistent songwriters on the Canadian music scene contributes the mid-tempo The End Of The Dance; while Louis Sedmak and Duane Steele collaborated on yet another offering in the ballad One Good Reason. While all of these are excellent songs, it still takes a vocalist with some interpretative strengths to give the material its proper due…and Colleen Rae does that, and more.

Also particularly strong here are a couple of Nashville’s contributions to the songlist with the bluesy goodbye song What Was It coming from Richard Leigh, creator of so many of Crystal Gayle’s major hits; while I Think, I Hope, I Pray, is another tune penned by Byron Hill, one of Nashville’s most prolific writers who has also had dozens of his songs recorded previously by Canucks.

The album also contains two ‘covers’. You Can Get There From Here was originally found on Tara Lyn Hart’s debut set (she co-wrote the tune with David Martin); while Strong Enough To Cry, comes from a Lorrie Morgan album. Both of these are marvelously performed by Colleen Rae and both are worthy of ‘single’ consideration.

What You Need Is Me was produced in Edmonton studios by Louis Sedmak and features solid session work by some of Cancountry’s top session players, augmented by Nashville’s Larry Franklin on fiddle and mandolin parts, with Bruce Bouton also handling some of the steel work.

For info/copies visit

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- By Larry Delaney


What You Need Is Me has already yielded four nationally charted singles which have also received European and Australian radio support. "Lookin’ For Love”, penned by Rob Heath, was Colleen's first release. The second single "What You Need Is Me", reaching #1 on Alberta radio station CFCW’s Top Canadian Singles. Bob Regan and Cyril Rawson (Gretchen Wilson) wrote Colleen's third single called "The End Of The Dance". Colleen Rae has just released her new single to radio via DMDS. It's called "You Can Get There From Here", written by David C. Martin and Tara Lyn Hart.


Feeling a bit camera shy


A "natural" from the moment she steps on stage, it is clearly evident that Colleen Rae is "home". From the first pure note to the last, it is obvious that Colleen was born to sing. With her amazing smile and enthusiastic stage presence Colleen Rae completely wins over her audiences.

Colleen Rae’s debut album was release March 1, 2006. Produced by Louis Sedmak, What You Need Is Me fuses traditional country music and strong lyrical content with more contemporary country stylings. Wanting to stay true to her country roots, Colleen sifted through hundreds of songs for this recording, hand-picking those written by Canadian and American songwriters. Among the well-known songwriters involved in this project are Duane Steele, Cyril Rawson, Byron Hill and Naoise Sheridan (best know for co-writing the recent Kenny Chesney hit “Young”).

What You Need Is Me has already yielded three nationally charted singles which also received European and Australian radio support.

“Lookin' For Love” (penned by Rob Heath) caught the attention of Kent Matheson from CHMT 93.1 Timmins, Ontario. Kent comments “One of the best songs across my desk in a long time…”. And Australia’s Country Harvest program director Raymond states “Colleen’s performance is very professional, a most enjoyable song”.

Colleen's second single "What You Need Is Me", gained strong radio and fan support, reaching #1 on Alberta radio station CFCW’s Top Canadian Singles. This traditional, sassy country song was written by Naoise Sheridan and Don Poythress.

Cyril Rawson and Bob Regan wrote "The End Of The Dance", which became a strong 3rd release to radio. Jed Devenish from Canadian Trucking News wrote "With Colleen’s strong sense of humility and passion one does not see the end of her dance coming any time soon".

"You Can Get There From Here" is the most recent song released from What You Need Is Me. Producer David C. Martin (Adam Gregory) and artist Tara Lyn Hart are the creators of the positive up-tempo tune.

Colleen takes pride in the fact that together with her band CONERSTONE, they have been entertaining audiences for over four years. Cornerstone consists of Wayne Bellerose (Lead Guitar), Del Cocks on (Bass), and Randy Busby (Drums). Together they have created an engaging and unique sound that has garnered attention throughout Western Canada. Due to the strong versatility in their music Colleen Rae and Cornerstone appeal to all ages. They feature mainly country music (new and old), classic rock, and pop. Favorites from such artists as Johnny Cash, ABBA, Dusty Springfield, ACDC, Nora Jones, just to name a few. Colleen Rae’s original songs have already been greatly received through her live performances. Memorable performances for Colleen Rae and Cornerstone include opening for Adam Gregory, Julian Austin, Charlie Major and sharing the stage with the Corb Lund Band.

Colleen Rae is a natural on stage. Her decade of performances include showcasing for the Canadian Country Music Association, singing at the notorious Winspear, and entertaining numerous festivals.

Colleen Rae is a multi-talented singer, songwriter, musician, and an entertainer. Her determination to succeed in the music industry is second only to her natural talent. Great success awaits this young artist.