The Artists of Coruscate: Introducing…. Rouge!


Toronto hasn’t been the same since sexy dance trio Rouge staked their claim in the big city. A live show guarantees a high-energy performance, delciously queer outfits, and powerhouse vocals. Their influences range from Annie Lennox and Kylie Minogue, to Peaches and Daft Punk, and their flirty, feminist, and queer positive lyrics signal a throwback to Riot Grrrl. And if there’s one thing queers and feminists love it’s Riot Grrls! I mean do we really even need to call it a throwback?! And let’s not forget the inimitable Peaches of course. Did you all see Peaches does Herself at Inside Out?! Whoa. All bedroom music sessions should include social commentary by a cowgirl emerging from a clitoris.

With all this in mind, it’s probably a good idea to pack extra undies at a Rouge show! (To throw people; I mean to throw! Get your minds out of the gutter!)

Biography: (from CBC Music)

Kelly McMichael (Gentleman Reg) and Jess Tollefsen (Green Go) formed Rouge while living in Guelph in 2007, driven by shared obsessions with spandex and dance music. Their synthesizers began a powerful love affair that provided a base for strong vocals and clever arrangements. The DIY scene in Guelph helped to get the girls on their feet; it was the Royal City’s sweaty basement dance shows that inspired their early work. Their self recorded (and self titled) EP was released early the following year with help from local collective Burnt Oak. After lots of practice as a go-to house party band, Rouge developed a sophisticated live act that moved them above ground and onto some real stages. Over the last year Rouge has impressed large audiences with a surprisingly big sound for a couple of babes and their keyboards. Also in 2008, the young Emma Tollefsen dispelled notions that three’s a crowd when she joined up as Rouge’s drummer.

In 2010, after a hiatus to work on other projects, Rouge decided to put Toronto on the receiving end of their graceful split leap back onto the scene. Never resting, Rouge has more momentum than ever – and lots of reasons to get noticed.  Jess and Kelly have added their vocals to some of the hottest bands around, including The Magic, The Forest City Lovers and Toronto’s emergent indie darling Allie Hughes. Rouge has pre-heated the stage for Rae Spoon, Gentleman Reg, Laura Barrett and Bocce, and toured with pals Light Fires and Sheezer. They were well received at this year’s CMW festival, gaining much deserved status as a “Toronto buzz band” (Little Red Umbrella). 2011 marks the triumphant release of their sophomore EP, recorded with a little help from Heather Kirby (Ohbijou), Karl Snyder (Kidstreet), Keiran Adams (Everything All The Time, Sarah Harmer) and Evan and Geordie Gordon (Islands, The Magic). At the rate they’re going, it won’t be long before Rouge is on everybody’s lips.

“Rouge is one of the best kept secrets in Toronto and will only get better from here. Mark my words; this time next year this will be the band on everyone’s must see list”

– Little Red Umbrella

“Infectious dance-inducing synth-pop overlapped with spacey beats that will teach your boyfriend or girlfriend how to move and shake”

– Lonely Vagabond


Kylie Minogue, Annie Lennox, Robyn, Peaches


I’m excited! In fact, I’m going to go investigate my underwear drawer now….

Check back tomorrow for our next featured artist!


About Kaitlin Blanchard

I'm a (queer) theorist, social justice activist, playwright, poet, graduate student, and general advocate that one needn't go very far to better the world for others. I was born in Canada and claim Vancouver as my home with a firm commitment to questioning the ideology of settler-colonialism that allows me to do so. I live and work on the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee and Mississauga Nations and within the lands protected by the "Dish with One Spoon" wampum agreement.
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