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Dear Rouge to play at Canada Day StreetFest in Central Park

The alternative rock duo talk music, future plans and parenthood

Headlining Burnaby’s Canada Day StreetFest this year is Canadian alternative rock duo Dear Rouge. The duo will hit the main stage in Central Park on the lawn near Patterson Station right before the fireworks as part of the event’s free musical concerts.

The Beacon sat down with Danielle and Drew McTaggart—the duo behind Dear Rouge—to hear more about their plans for the performance, what Burnaby residents can expect and look forward to, and how their music has evolved over the years. Danielle teased some of their plans for Canada Day in Burnaby, adding that they intend to play a fun, alternative rock show that is also family-friendly. 

The stage in Central Park during the Canada Day StreetFest on July 1, 2023. Photo: Shutterstock

“We’re planning to put on an amazing show as we always do; we always put our best out there, and we’re pulling out all the stops. You have to come and see,” she said.   

Dear Rouge will be playing new music from their upcoming fourth album, Lonesome High, which comes out on September 13. One of the songs they plan to play from the album is “Not Afraid to Dance.” 

“If someone in the crowd is not afraid to come on stage, they’ll get the opportunity to do that,” Danielle said. “We’re looking forward to involving the crowd, so come prepared to get involved and dance.” 

“I think our music has changed a lot as we’ve changed as people,” Danielle said. 

In the years since they won the Juno Award for Breakthrough Group of the Year in 2016, the McTaggarts have grown as musical and life partners. Their journey has taken them all over Canada and beyond, bringing recognition and a growing fanbase.  

“I think lyrically our songs have evolved into hoping to be more vulnerable with our own story,” Danielle said. “Drew and I are getting bolder in using our own stories and trying to be more vulnerable in that way, which I think, in turn, creates better art.” 

As they have grown older and more mature, they feel bold enough to share more of themselves in their music. 

“People do care when you do it, and it’s important to be more open and share music that connects us,” Danielle said. “It is a beautiful thing when people are truly themselves.” 

Danielle and Drew McTaggart, the duo behind Dear Rouge. Photo: Dear Rouge

In recent months, the duo have become parents for the first time, welcoming their first child in October 2023. While it has come with challenges, parenthood has added a new dimension to their music, bringing more depth and vulnerability. In addition, Elliott, their son, has become an important source of inspiration for their music. 

“It’s amazing to have him around; he’s an inspiration, and he’s a really sweet guy. We’re really blessed,” Danielle said.

On their upcoming album there is one song called “Garbage,” inspired by their experience of parenthood. While the title may seem odd at first glance, Danielle said it is inspired by the idea that nothing is wasted. 

“The whole record is around the lows and highs of our lives within the family journey, within our relationship,” she said. 

The duo does not intend to rest on their laurels and become complacent with what they have achieved so far. They are now looking towards expanding outside of Canada, connecting with audiences in other countries, and taking their music internationally. 

“We’re really looking forward to expanding to other places in the world. We’ve been really grateful for the Canadian support,” Drew said. He added that they are just starting to expand into the US and are hoping to play not just on Canada Day but on the Fourth of July in the US in coming years. They have started achieving some success abroad, with one of their songs being a top song on College Radio and one recently featured on the Fox TV show The Cleaning Lady. They also have an existing fan base in Mexico and would love to enter the vibrant music scene in Germany. 

Drew remembers winning a junior jazz guitar competition at a young age when he was in Grade 8. He got a scholarship to play music, and his father, a music teacher, asked him if he wanted to become a music teacher or a jazz musician, to which he replied, “No, I just want to play in a band.” He never used the scholarship and went to business school instead, but music remained a large part of his life as he played in various bands, church, and other people’s bands. 

“People don’t know how much music encompasses your life,” said Drew.

This piece was made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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