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“If I Were A Boy”: Rae Spoon unveils new intimate video

Hands pause. Shoulders slump. Breathing slows. Eyes focus. I sink in. Whenever I sit and watch Rae Spoon‘s homemade music…

By Amanda Ash , in The Indie Files: A commentary on emerging Canadian music , on January 12, 2009 Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Hands pause. Shoulders slump. Breathing slows. Eyes focus.

Transgender country artist Rae Spoon adds new meaning to the popular Beyoncé song "If I Were A Boy." Photo courtesy of

I sink in.

Whenever I sit and watch Rae Spoon‘s homemade music videos, my mouth always transforms into some sort of salivating venus fly trap. I don’t know what it is. In no way are the country/folk musician’s videos ornate: they’re just of him, usually sitting on his bed with laundry racks in the background, belting out tunes and staring at the camera. He manages to command internal silence with such simplicity.

Not many people can hold my attention the way this emerging artist can.

So you can imagine that I was very excited when I found the transgender singer-songwriter’s latest video—a cover of popular R&B artist Beyoncé’s “If I Were A Boy”—on YouTube today.

The former Calgarian (Spoon now resides in Montréal) has a handful of videos on YouTube that tickle my fancy, like “I’ll Be A Ghost For You” and “Come On Forest Fire Burn The Disco Down,” which can also be found on his critically-acclaimed October 2008 release SuperiorYouAreInferior . However, there was something about “If I Were A Boy” that not only turned me into a wide-eyed zombie, but also got the gears banging and clanking in my mind. 

Spoon had added another layer of social commentary to the song.

While Beyoncé sheds light on how gender relations still place women in vulnerable positions today, Spoon’s rendition takes it one step further. 

Sexual orientation and transgender issues are also very much alive. The fight against discrimination is still quite real for many people.

This isn’t the first time Spoon has sung about GLBQT prejudice and his own experience as a transgender musician. The trucking, upbeat track “Off The Grid, Underground” from his album SuperiorYouAreInferior deals with the topic, but isn’t quite as effective as watching him perform “If I Were A Boy.”

I think observing Spoon’s calm, placid persona is a bit like looking into a mirror. We see ourselves in him and realize how these issues touch us and the people around us. It’s much more effective than angrily bludgeoning listeners with political rants.

A great musician can persuade and entertain at the same time. Spoon does both.

Yup, this is only the beginning of a fruitful career for him.  

Watching his video makes me even more disappointed that I wasn’t able to make it to his vinyl release show at the Biltmore Cabaret here in Vancouver this past Saturday. I collect my all-time favorite records on vinyl so I can frame them and hang them on my wall. I’ll have to get me SuperiorYouAreInferior on vinyl one of these days.

Rae Spoon\’s \”If I Were A Boy\”


  • Love Rae Spoon! He’s been at it for a good ten years… Don’t know if that still counts as ’emerging’ but regardless, great post.

  • Yes, he’s been at it for a while, but I still consider him very much an emerging artist–I think of “emerging” as “underground” or “indie” but gaining increasing public recognition as of late. Glad you liked the post!

  • Yeah, Rae’s been at it for quite a while now..but on his own terms..not promoted by a major label and due to the way the mainstream music industry runs not to mention general media, is sidelined for more ‘safe’ music which does not usually promote left of centre musicians. Shame his song suggests in Off the Grid … “all the best songs are never found”. For those who just bought his latest ouevre, you should invest in his back catalogue and you can see what an immense artist he is.

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