North West Culture People – Colleen Raney

Today’s North West Culture People person is Colleen Raney. Colleen visited Muff, Donegal earlier this year with fellow musician Hanz Araki. Fingers crossed they will return one day and we’ll get a tune (or 10).

Name:  Colleen Raney

Occupation:  Singer, freelance Graphic Designer

Describe yourself?  9th of 10 children in a family from Seattle, Washington.That’s probably the first thing I’d tell someone.  Which makes me think, actually.  Maybe I should start defining

myself differently. Or rather not at all. I am a skeptic and an optimist at the same time.  I love to cook, I love poetry (and lyrics), I love to walk, I love to sing with other voices, I love to read, I love my little starter garden. I am a professional auntie and godmother.  I’m terrible at small talk.  Like really awkward.  I think people assign me a lot more than I actually am.  Maybe we all do that to everyone.

What is your best childhood memory?  You know this one is hard because I don’t remember my childhood.  My sister Brigid remembers my childhood for me.  I remember joy when my brother’s (Irish) band was playing and we got to ditch school and go dance for them and hear him play.  But it could just as easily be sitting under the dining room table with a my worn copy of Little Women.  

What was your first job?  Childcare.  I nannied for a young man who now plays in the NBA!  And then I moved on to analytical chemistry in my dad’s laboratory.

What is your favourite film? I don’t know the answer to this, honestly.  The only movies we watched growing up would have been American Musicals so I love love love watching West Side Story, 7 Brides for 7 Brothers, The Sound of Music, and musicals like that.  I am drawn to quietly told stories like Amelie, Coco, and Love, Actually, but spending so much time with Hanz Araki for the last several years has made me a fan of the 007 movies, and the Marvel Movies as well!

What is your top three favourite books? Oh wow. I can tell you what my three favorite plays are, but probably not books.  Polaroid Stories by Naomi Izuka, Shakespeare’s Othello, and The Weir by Conor McPherson.  I’m a huge fan of Janice P. Nimura’s book Daughters of the Samurai. 

What is your favourite method of relaxation?  Being near water – a river, lake, harbor.  Doesn’t matter what I’m doing there.  I relax so much more near water.  And reading.
What is your favourite possession? My guitar.

What is your favourite holiday destination? So far? Maui.  But I’m still holding out for somewhere on the Mediterranean.

What makes you happy? Travel.  And really good food.

What makes you sad?  Lies.

What annoys you?  Hypocrisy.  Even my own.

Who inspires you?   People who are willing to be wrong. People who take emotional risks.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? I’ve lived a pretty charmed life, so I think my risks are mostly internal. Quitting jobs that are stable and have nice benefits to pursue music, which is unpredictable at best in the current economy. Moving to New York and working as an actor in a city full of strangers.  Falling in love.  Learning to be very honest with myself.  My risks are luxuries to others. 

Who would you most like to invite to a dinner party? My grandparents and great-grandparents, actually.  They all passed away when I was quite young so I never really had any real chance to know them.  I’d like to sit with them for a while.

What are you most passionate about?  Stupidity.  🙂

How would you like to be remembered?  I think I’d mostly like to be remembered by the people who actually know me, rather than some idea of me.  As a good friend, as a person willing to question her own thoughts and opinions, and as a person who loves deeply.

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