Andrew (“Drew”) and Danielle McTaggart made two promises to each other when they got married in June 2011.
One, they’d make a name for themselves with music – at least semi-professionally – before settling down and having kids.
And two, they’d give back as much support as they took in.
This month, their song Thinking About You is being played on FM102.7 The Peak at least three times a day, and on Saturday night (Nov. 17), they’ll perform for one of Surrey’s largest fundraising events for the Centre for Child Development (see sidebar for information).
So far, so good for Dear Rouge, the synth-pop husband-and-wife duo, who have collaborated for just a few years after previously working on their own personal and independent music projects.
(The band’s name comes from Danielle’s hometown, Red Deer, Alta.).
Their band, backed up by musicians Adam Stewart (keyboard, guitar), Maclean Carlson (drums), and Ryan Worsley (bass), has recently cracked the top three spots in FM102.7’s The Peak Performance Project, guaranteeing them a minimum of $50,000 to invest in their next album and for marketing. Second prize nets $75,000 and the winner takes home a whopping $100,000.
The McTaggarts will learn the final results of the Peak Performance Project on Nov. 22 when they play the iconic Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver for the contest finale.
Drew says making the top three out of about 500 other bands is a huge deal, giving Dear Rouge not only local buzz, but the “whole” experience of being a working band, including learning about publicity aspects such as videos, social media and photography – things that were necessary to apply for the contest.
What they also had to fine-tune was a unique sound for Dear Rouge, a major musical diversion from Drew’s “old” (but concurrent) band (some of whose members are Dear Rouge musicians), as well as his own acoustic/folksy personal style and Danielle’s pop background.
In a one-two punch this year, they released two short EPs, Heads Up! Watch Out! in April, and then Kids Wanna Know in October.
Drew says the biggest challenge when trying to break into the mainstream is creating music that’s radio-friendly. That means lots of rethinking recordings.
The band’s pop songs, he says, must find a balance between the extremes of too creative and too cheesy, and they can’t be longer than four minutes.
It’s a tricky thing for Drew – although Danielle finds the pop more comfortable.
While the two now have the finances in place to fund their first full album for 2013, they haven’t forgotten their hard-working roots and are keeping their full-time jobs.
And they’ve continued to donate 10 per cent of all music sales to the Centre for Child Development, which supports children with developmental disabilities and their families.
They’ve also recorded Noah’s Song for Noah Jacobson, a South Surrey boy who has autism. All proceeds from online sales are going to his therapy. The song can be purchased at http://dearrouge.bandcamp.com/track/noahs-song
Drew says giving back is “a foundation of who we are as people.”
For more information, visit http://dearrouge.com/