From Rock Tour to Church Hymns

As a banker and mother of two, Colleen Beaton still sings but the tunes are different from her musical success as a back-up singer for Bob Seger and advertising jingles.

DETROIT - Colleen Beaton first performed in public at a talent show in sixth grade, where she belted out Lesley Gore’s “I’m Going Out (The Same Way I Came In).” One taste of singing in public and Beaton was hooked. Little did she know that music would become a huge part of her life for the next four decades.

Beaton’s singing career took off in high school when she began performing with a folk group called Melting Pot. After graduating, she joined a top-40 band called Riot, and began singing at clubs and bars in the Metro Detroit area.

The singer Beaton replaced in Riot had begun touring with Bob Seger, and arranged an audition for her with Seger’s Silver Bullet Band.

“The next day, I was offered the job and we shipped out three days later on the ‘Against the Wind’ tour.   That was 1980, and I enjoyed my life as a professional back-up singer in a popular rock-and-roll band.”

Colleen Beaton (right) spent the early 1980's as a professional back-up singer with Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band

The Voice of 500 Commercials

After the tour ended, she spent many years singing on more than 500 ad jingles — some national and many local, including a successful national appliance ad. She was also the lead voice on the first Say Yes to Michigan campaign and sang on other local jingles. She even did a spot for the hometown basketball team when they were in the playoffs in 1984.

“It seems strange looking back on that time in my life compared to where I am now,” says Beaton. “As a proud 25-year employee of PNC’s corporate and institutional banking team in corporate sales development, I often ask myself how I ended up becoming a banker. That would have never been on my dream job list.”

Colleen Beaton has recorded over 500 national and local ad jingles

Today: Church Songs and Charity

Today as a mother of two working at PNC, Beaton is more parent and banker than professional crooner, but she has never stopped singing. She’s a cantor at her church and sings with a group called SoulQuest, a band originally formed to raise money for The Wounded Warrior Project through an organization called Jam for Vets.

So if Bob Seger called today and asked her to rejoin the band, would she go back on the road? 

No. It was a nice time, but it’s not an easy life. You’re always traveling. I’m forever grateful for the experience, but for me, it doesn’t work anymore. I’ll stick with my day job.

Colleen Beaton now sings for her church and in a group called SoulQuest

I have so many good memories from that time on the road. At one point, Bob [Seger] found out that I was taking a taxi or walking to the nearest church for Mass in each town we performed. He arranged for a limo service to take me to and from the hotel every Sunday. It was really kind of him, though I'm sure the parishioners were wondering who I was with those fancy wheels!