For some couples, working with their spouse sounds like a nightmare. For Drew and Danielle, it sounds like heaven – a synth-pop rock star kind of heaven, to be exact. The McTaggarts, otherwise known as Dear Rouge, officially formed their band just after tying the knot in 2011. Danielle is the lead vocalist and frontwoman, and Drew plays bass guitar and co-produces the high-energy anthems that have now catapulted their band into the spotlight. After getting married and setting some serious life goals (a.k.a. working towards pursuing music full-time), the duo worked tirelessly to make that happen and released their unique, edgy sound to the public – and man, talk about results, because fast forward to 2016, and Dear Rouge’s music is rocking the Canadian music scene.
Back in early 2013, before they had established themselves as Canada’s alternative rock darlings, Drew and Danielle decided to take the plunge and quit their jobs to focus primarily on Dear Rouge. Clearly the risk they took has paid off, although at the time it was a huge gamble. “After we got married, that’s when we were like ‘OK, let’s give this a go, let’s show people and let’s openly try with music,’” says Drew. “We started out with no career and really, nothing,” laughs Danielle. Dear Rouge was able to successfully solidify a spot on Canadian radio and take the charts by storm in a relatively short amount of time. Seriously, it’s rare to experience a car ride without hearing one of their jams on the radio in just Calgary alone (not that we’re complaining). Their ability to produce radio-friendly yet independentsounding lively music has given them the opportunity to attract a steadily growing fan base from a variety of demographics and it’s not hard to see why: their sound is unique, their messages are profound and their performances are incredibly magnetic. Drew and Danielle attribute a lot of their initial success to winning The Peak Performance Project in 2012, a radio contest based out of BC (the same contest runs also in Alberta). Back in 2012, The Peak awarded the winning artists a whopping $102,700 to
go towards music production and to develop their careers in general. “We give them a lot of respect and props for that support. It changed the course of our lives. It was pretty life-altering actually, that whole experience,” says Danielle. The lead singer remembers how crazy things got after they snagged the top prize, “Our first single that we put out, I Heard I Had, was a big accomplishment for us because that was the first time that we were recognized for one of our songs in such a public way. It got to number two [on the Canadian charts] and we were just in awe that we could make a big impact.” The band’s list of accomplishments are impressive considering their music was only released to the public in April 2012. Some of the notches on their guitar straps so far include winning Most Dynamic Duo at the 2013 CBC Buckys, Favourite New Artist at the 2014 Edge CASBY Awards, and their hit song Black To Gold, reaching over three million streams on Spotify in 2015 and winning a prestigious songwriting prize as well. Their album, also titled Black To Gold, has impressively yielded three Top 20 singles since its release in spring of 2014. That same year, I Heard I Had became the most played song on modern rock radio by a Canadian band, which is pretty outstanding for a band with no management and no label backing them. Black To Gold even landed on the CBC’s list of the best Canadian albums of 2015. If there were an award for making waves in the music industry the fastest, they would surely win that too. “I think when you start out as a kid you think it’s totally possible, then somewhere along the way life kicks you in the ass, and you realize that it doesn’t happen for many people,” says Danielle. One of the accomplishments they are BRANDED | 45