"I was singing before I was talking, I was dancing before I was walking......"
As far back as Mae remembers, she was involved with music. From growing up with her church and community choirs, (Operation Breadbasket and Operation PUSH) to being voted most talented by her peers in high school, to singing with the Roosevelt University and the Chicago Chamber Choruses, she has honed her craft. Mae's gift goes beyond singing great lead vocals to providing rich background harmony vocals as well. She is known in local music circles as a Harmonic Technician and has delivered backup vocals in numerous styles, from Blues greats Willie Dixon, Billy Branch and Mississippi Heat to crooners like Phil Perry, Miki Howard, Vesta Williams and Angela Bofill just to name a few.
Mae's specific harmonic talents has taken her on the road with Aretha Franklin from 1997 to 2004 and again in 2013 to 2017. Mae appeared with Aretha Franklin at her last Chicago appearance at Ravinia in September 2017. She has also appeared with Aretha on several television shows including, David Letterman, Jay Leno, the View, Good Morning America, and the Rosie O'Donnell Show. On the televised limited VH1 series "Diva's Live" you can see Mae not only singing with Aretha Franklin but offering up support vocals for Mariah Carey, Shania Twain, Gloria Estefan, Celine Dion, and Carole King. Aretha Franklin has even made special mention of Mae Koen among her favorite background singers in the 1999 Memoir "From These Roots".
Mae is constantly sought after to offer her expertise background and lead vocals to many local projects. You can see Mae with the MAC 180 Band, the Leland Project, Steeley Dan tribute band Bad Sneakers, Chicago-based jazz vocal quartet VocalPoynt and a host of other diverse acts.