Vancouver-based husband and wife duo Drew and Danielle McTaggart – Dear Rouge – bring their engaging pop tunes to Fratters Dec. 5.
The band recently released their single I Heard I Had — the follow-up to their debut single Thinking About You and the first track from their forthcoming full-length CD due out in 2014.
Dear Rouge exploded onto the scene after beating out hundreds of hopefuls with their grand prize win in the 2012 PEAK Performance Project, catching the eye of some of the biggest influencers in the industry.
They recorded the sparkling I Heard I Had with Vancouver producer Howard Redekopp (Tegan & Sara, Mother Mother), finding him to be a perfect fit for their range and mood-lifting melodies.
Since then, Dear Rouge have spent the last year touring the country alongside appearances at the Harmony Arts and Squamish festivals this past summer. Their current tour kicked off Nov. 13th in Moose Jaw.
It was back in the spring of 2012 that Dear Rouge released their debut EP project Heads Up! Watch Out! and the response was immediate.
Only six months after their debut, Dear Rouge followed it up with the Kids Wanna Know EP in October of 2012. That disc proved a compelling venture into what made this duo tick, from the haunting, retro-flavoured tones of Say Something and the stunning, ethereal title track to the snappy, energized sensibilities of Thinking About You. It’s Different, a dreamy ballad, showcases Danielle’s vocal skills to great heights as well.
The group got its start in the summer of 2009 while Danielle and Drew were touring across Canada, each pursuing their own separate music projects. Danielle, originally from Red Deer, was formally from the band Gaetz Avenue.
“We had mutual friends, and when my band was in Alberta she would come and see us, and when she was in B.C. we would hang out,” explains Drew.
Finding they had a connection, they decided to collaborate in a Vancouver studio where their first song, the single Heads Up! Watch Out! was born.
“We thought we could do something a little more energetic and happy,” added Drew about those early jams. “She came out to Vancouver and we tried one song. This is when we were dating. People really liked it, it got on the radio in Vancouver and we said ‘Let’s do this’,” he says.
From that one session, and the response they received after posting it on SoundCloud, it was obvious they had stumbled onto something special.
“After we married, we said let’s give this music a go, and go as hard as we can.”
One could be tempted to classify Dear Rouge as pop/rock, but that doesn’t quite do justice to their songs. Their alt-electro-dance-rock vibe provides an upbeat shot in the arm, and they’ve crafted an instantly recognizable sound.
“We were very open with each other early on in the studio,” explains Drew about melding their individual styles. “We had to adapt to each other in the studio as a couple and as a band. Music is an art – it’s emotional. And part of it is about opinions.”
A love for music was sparked early on in both.
“I grew up in a home where my mom was very much involved in singing and in competitions,” says Danielle. “I was always very encouraged by her to sing a lot. I also grew up in the church, so I sang a lot there as well. But I had no idea I could do it as a career until I started to get encouraging comments, like ‘You can really do this’.”
She helped launch Christian band Gaetz Avenue and the group landed considerable success. As time went on, she tried different ventures but things really picked up again when she met Drew. During that time, her songwriting skills grew as well.
For Drew, he was virtually surrounded by music from the get-go. His dad was a music teacher. His mom taught piano. His brother has a degree in music and his sister loves to sing.
“I was the baby of the family, and I struggled because I wanted to be different than everyone else,” he says. He pressed on with his own musical vision in mind.
“My parents would give me feedback because they are so musical. Just recently, we showed the new record to my parents and I was so shocked at the songs they liked and the ones they didn’t,” he laughs.
As to the new CD, the couple is hoping for an release early in the New Year.