Spiritual Awakening – Taylor DeRousse Releases Haunted Past on ‘Winter Ghost’ Single

Taylor DeRousse experiences an emotional transformation on “Winter Ghost.” Artwork – Taylor DeRousse

Taylor DeRousse slowly expels the lingering spirits of a haunted past.

The Royal Oak indie-rock singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist calmly exhales former selves and bygone relationships in her latest heart-melting single, “Winter Ghost.”

“The writing of this song was a cool experience for me. Last winter, I tried writing a song a day for a while to challenge myself,” DeRousse said. “This song came from that. It was snowing outside, and I got the first line in my head … ‘It snowed today.’”

Throughout “Winter Ghost,” DeRousse thaws frozen memories and warms icy self-doubt as ethereal synths, pensive electric guitar and sanguine acoustic guitar prompt a spiritual awakening.

She sings, “I saw the sun today/It’s mid-July, and now I’m feeling the weight of you wash away/White was the world in my heartbreak/And pale as snow was my skin while the ghost of you remained/Saw the color come back into my face.”

“And then I thought, ‘Why would someone not like the snow?’” DeRousse said. “Then, as it all came together, I was like, ‘This is definitely an experience that I’ve had in my life, but the details are different,’ and yet the theme is still the same.”

DeRousse seamlessly carries “Winter Ghost’s” transformational theme forward while Traverse City producer John Piatek conjures an otherworldly soundscape.

“When I go up and record, and by the time I make it home, John has sent me something. I remember he had sent me the rough track of it … and I listened to it, and I was just floored,” she said.

“The vocals that he adds on that track are my favorite part of the whole song. It felt like, ‘Wow, this is how it was supposed to always be,’ but I could have never gotten it there myself.”

DeRousse also searches for her true identity in “Pins and Needles,” a tender anthem of self-worth and growth. Somber electric guitar, booming drums, delicate percussion, radiant bass and hopeful synth reveal a confident path forward.

She sings, “I’ve been trying to live this lie too long/I’ve been trying to fit these words in the wrong song/Take all of me if you really want it, yes that’s true/Because I’ve been giving all of me/And getting none of you.”

“I wrote part of the song while I was in school, and I just had a hook for it. A few years later, I found it and thought, ‘I’m gonna write the verses to fill in the rest.’ Throughout college, I was studying music, and I was in a bad relationship with a musician. I didn’t sing, gig or play out, and I stopped writing music,” said Rouse, who released the track in 2020.

“A lot of the digging out I had to do after that was just realizing my worth, too. I’ve been empowered by putting music out and playing at different places. It took a long time being away from it to fully grasp what I had been through and the toll it had taken on me.”

For “Pins and Needles,” DeRousse worked with producer Andrew Stoddard to help shape the emotive sound of her debut single.

“We actually connected through church bands. I was thrilled that anyone would even sit down and record my music. To me, that was the coolest thing,” she said.

To accompany her first single, DeRousse worked with Waterford film producer Austin Foote to develop a poignant “Pins and Needles” video. It’s filled with railroad track strolls, outdoor guitar jams, lakeside bonfires and flowing clotheslines.

“I’m having success and making a living at doing music. Every time, I’m very grateful that I was able to see enough in myself to continue doing it,” she said. “In February, I opened a commercial space for my music studio, so that was a big project.”

Tailored Harmonies

Taylor DeRousse offers music lessons and events through Tailored Harmonies Music Co. in Waterford. Photo – C. TrudoPhotography, LLC

Known as Tailored Harmonies Music Co., DeRousse’s new Waterford-based music studio offers private in-person and virtual music lessons, live music services, personalized artwork and more.

“I started that in June 2020, and that was when I got the website up and going. I had always been teaching, but I wanted to get it all in one spot with a little bow on it,” said DeRousse, who’s inspired by Taylor Swift, The Chicks, Alanis Morissette and Jewel.

Before launching her own business, DeRousse worked as a middle school music and art teacher in Porcupine, South Dakota from 2017 to 2019.

“It was a small nonprofit charter school on a reservation out there, and it was an all-girls’ school rooted in an indigenous culture. I was living in such a rural area, but also immersed in the native culture,” she said.

“It was a really amazing experience getting to know all the girls. It’s located in one of the lowest income counties in the nation, but it’s the richest place I’ve ever been.”

DeRousse’s rich musical foundation started while growing up in Waterford. She learned piano at age eight and taught herself guitar by age 14 while performing in school choir, theater and orchestra.

“Music was always my thing … I have a bachelor’s degree in music with an emphasis in piano performance,” said DeRousse, who graduated from Grand Rapids’ Aquinas College in 2017. “From a young age, I liked piano because it gave me a new way to sing, or I could play for myself.”

Today, DeRousse plays regularly for metro Detroit live audiences at Oak City Grille, Fork n’ Pint, Hamlin Pub and 15th Street Tavern. She’s also hosting a May 27 “Tailored Sessions Songwriter Round” with Rochelle Clark, Marqu3tte and Rebecca Cameron at Tailored Harmonies Music Co. in Waterford.

“I’ve always dreamed of having an actual space for it, so it’s a good feeling,” DeRousse said. “I’m excited for the different things that I’ll be able to do with a bigger space.”

In the meantime, DeRousse is working on her full-length debut album with Piatek in Traverse City.

“We’ve started on two of the tracks. I make it up there about once a month, and we try to track out two songs a day and work on the others as they come together,” she said.

“It’s nice to know this can just come together at the speed that it naturally wants to. These are songs that I’ve had since 2015 … I’m learning as I go.”

Show details:

Tailored Sessions Songwriter Round with Rochelle Clark, Marqu3ette, Rebecca Cameron & Taylor DeRousse

Friday, May 27 | 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Tailored Harmonies Music Co., 3549 Airport Road in Waterford

Tickets: $15

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