Pop-rock duo Drew and Danielle McTaggart of Dear Rouge won the 2012 Peak Performance Project music competition Thursday night.

Dear Rouge takes top prize in music contest

Husband-and-wife team win $100,000 in radio station's Peak Performance Project.

Andrew (“Drew”) and Danielle McTaggart – the married couple that make up the synth-pop band Dear Rouge – are feeling  a little flush this morning.

Dear Rouge won FM102.7’s Peak Performance Project contest Thursday night, beating out hundreds of other bands and taking home the whopping $100,000 top prize.

But it wasn’t just the cash that got Drew McTaggart excited.

“It was my childhood dream to play the Commodore,” he said Friday morning, still jazzed about the performance.

Dear Rouge was the headline act at the iconic Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver Nov. 22, during the finale for the music competition, which was hosted by radio station The Peak 102.7 FM and Music B.C.

Impressively, it was only the sixth time the band had played a live show together as Dear Rouge.

Vancouver singer-songwriters Jordan Klassen and Dominique Fricot won second and third places and cash awards of $75,000 and $50,000 respectively.

The husband-and-wife duo Dear Rouge, backed up by musicians Adam Stewart (keyboard, guitar), Maclean Carlson (drums), and Ryan Worsley (bass),  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.).

They had to fine-tune 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 winning the Peak Performance Project is a game-changer.

“2013 is going to be a huge year,” he predicts, with Dear Rouge heading back to the studio and out on the road for more exposure.

With a solid Metro Vancouver following on the horizon, the next markets to tackle include Toronto and Montreal.

“I really want to make a pop song that’s creative,” said Drew, citing David Bowie and The Beatles as examples.

For now, the two musicians aren’t quitting their day jobs. Drew is a marketing and advertising consultant at The Surrey-North Delta Leader, and Danielle is a public relations manager at Cactus Club in South Surrey.

And they’ll continue to donate 10 per cent of all music sales to the Centre for Child Development in Surrey, which supports children with developmental disabilities and their families.

Dear Rouge has 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.”

Dear Rouge is playing at the Surrey tree-lighting festival this Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at Central City Plaza (102 Avenue and 135 Street).

For more information about the band, visit http://dearrouge.com/

Surrey North Delta Leader

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