From bums to being yourself; Rae writes what she knows

Throughout music history there have been many songs dedicated to the posterior. Remember Sir-Mix-a-Lot’s Baby got Back? And a few others that…

Throughout music history there have been many songs dedicated to the posterior.

Remember Sir-Mix-a-Lot’s Baby got Back?

And a few others that are probably best not mentioned in a family newspaper.

But in all probability, there have been none like Lana Rae’s I’ve Been Looking at Bums.

“Everybody loves the bum song,” says the children’s singer with a laugh.

“I wrote a song about bums and that’s going to be my biggest hit I’m sure,” she adds, hoisting a latte to her lips at a local café

The song’s success has to do with the fact that Rae really got down to child level when she was writing — and while she was there she saw nothing but rear ends.

“It’s about being three-feet tall and living in a sea of bums,” she says.

She penned it after noticing her son’s fascination with bodily functions.

“It’s always such a big joke and I started wondering why, then I realized it’s because that’s where they live — they live down with the bums.”

Considering life from that different vantage point won Rae critical acclaim at last week’s Western Canadian Music Awards in Winnipeg.

Her aptly titled song, I’ve Been Looking at Bums, leads her second album, I Gotta Be Me, which snagged top honours as outstanding children’s recording at this year’s ceremony.

“They won’t let me take a nail file on the plane, but they let me on with this,” she quips, brandishing the hefty glass prize inscribed with her name.

This children’s crooner began her musical career as a country singer.

In the mid-‘90s she recorded a CD with her mother under the name Nichols and Rae that brought her all the way to Nashville to record the tracks with some real “Nashville pickers” to put their southern spin on the sound.

Although the album was a great success, Rae had young children at the time and chose to settle down in the Yukon rather than tour.

She began writing children’s songs while apprenticing as a Grade 3 teacher in BC.

“I was sitting in the classroom and I just started looking out at these little kids and I thought, ‘How cool to still be little and have that freedom and no responsibilities,’” she says.

So she began writing and out came the title song on her first CD, a tribute to youth dubbed, I Just Want to Be Little.

And it includes her favourite line: “You can pull your mommy’s hair, wear your daddy’s underwear …

“That’s probably the best line that I’ve ever written,” Rae says with a smile.

What’s the hurry to grow up? Rae asks.

“When you’re little you can get away with anything and people think you’re cute,” she says.

For Rae, the song has turned into a mini-anthem for youth.

After I Just Want to be Little, Rae started writing more songs — some with important messages tucked among their lines.

And, surprisingly, at first, the songs stuck in her students’ heads.

“I would teach them a little song because it was a great way to teach them, and then I would hear the kids down the hallway singing the songs.”

Then she began penning tunes about her three kids and the funny things that would happen to them at home.

Junk Food Queen she wrote about her daughter, who earned the moniker by avoiding fruit and veggies.

Lumps in My Socks is a ditty about her son who refused to wear socks because he found them uncomfortable.

Then she started recording her material and found a lot of other parents had similar experiences with their kids and they could relate to her songs.

It’s as important to get the parents interested in the music as the children, says Rae.

Being a mother of three, Rae knows firsthand what it’s like to listen to irritating children’s music.

So, to bridge the musical gap between parents and kids, she draws on her country experience to put music to her sometimes silly words.

She wrote a full-fledged Nashville song for Nichols and Rae called the Trucker Song, recorded in the mid-‘90s.

Then she revamped it for her children’s CD.

She used the same music but changed the lyrics to make it The Triker’s Song about a kid three-wheeling around the neighbourhood.

“The kids love it and the adults too, you can connect with both,” she says.

“I fact, I have adults who don’t even have kids buy my CDs.”

Rae’s albums are available around the Yukon and on her website at www.lanarae.com.