Skip to main content

What's Up Magazine

Climbing the Country Charts One Song at a Time: Exclusive Interview with Country Duo Maddie & Tae

Oct 06, 2016 04:00PM ● By Nicole Gould

Photo By AGafkjen

At 15-years-old Maddie Marlow and Taylor Dye were just two ordinary teenagers looking to make it big, little did they know that they’d be doing it together. After hitting it off, these teenage girls went from taking a chance individually to taking that chance together, forming Maddie and Tae.

Ever since, this country duo has been taking the country world by storm.

Maddie & Tae’s “Girl in a Country Song” is the second debut single by a female duo to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Charts in 2014.

The duo’s debut album, “Start Here,” ranked No. 7 on the Billboard Top 200, and No. 2 in the country charts, while their single “Fly,” climbed its way into the country top 10.

Check out their newest single, “Sierra.

Maddie and Tae will be performing at WPOC Weekend in the Country at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia on Sunday, October 16th. Doors open at 1 p.m. Purchase your tickets for Sunday here.

Feeling lucky? Click here and enter to win tickets to both days of Weekend in the Country with WPOC!

At what age did you become interested in country music and how did you continue to pursue a career with it?

Tae: I've been jamming to Martina McBride and Shania Twain since I can remember, so I've always been interested in country music! I was very strong willed in wanting to become a country artist, so when I was 15 years old, I came home from school and told my parents I wasn't going back to school. I wanted to be homeschooled so I could pursue music 24/7 and eventually move to Nashville.

Maddie: I remember being 5 years old and watching the Lee Ann Womack I Hope You Dance video and being so intrigued. My parents were always listening to country music and I loved all of it! I started to pursue it for fun by teaching myself guitar and writing songs around 13 and then professionally pursuing at 15. 

Being from Texas and Oklahoma, how did the two of you go from being individual artists to coming together and forming Maddie & Tae? How old were you when you made your first trip to Nashville together?


T: It was a very natural merge. Even though we always thought we would be doing solo careers, the moment we started working together we knew this is what we were meant to do. We were both 15 when we traveled to Nashville for the first time together.

M: We met in Dallas through a vocal coach we were both going to. We were 15 when we took our first trip to Nashville as a duo! 

What is your most memorable moment while performing on tour? 

T: Getting to sing “Whiskey Lullaby” with Brad Paisley every night.

M: My hometown show in Houston, TX last year on our Start Here tour was pretty incredible. We sold the venue out and all of my family and friends that had supported me through it all were singing every word in the audience. I cried so many happy tears that night on and off stage. 

What’s it like being a female duo in country music, where it’s very male-dominated? 

T: It's been fun to shut down the "stereotypes" in a way. For a while there it was almost like people didn't know if women (besides Carrie and Miranda) were even capable of making good music, but now all of these women are proving them wrong and coming out with amazing songs. It's been neat to witness that. 

M: It's so much fun honestly. Bringing a young female perspective to country music while it's been lacking one for a while has been a blast. We love writing music that relates to people and I feel like the female perspective is really connecting again. 

Two of your most well-known songs are “Girl in a Country Song” and “Fly.” What was the influence behind this songs?


T: Both songs came from very honest places. "Girl in a Country Song" was written after we had just gotten fed up with the "women are objects" trend. We wrote "Fly" during a very confusing time in our lives where we weren't sure if we should just pack up and head back home or keep fighting for our dreams in Nashville. I'm so glad we kept fighting!

M: “Girl in a Country Song” was written out of frustration for how women were being portrayed in country music. We wanted to shed some light on that and never thought it would resonate the way it did! “Fly” was written about six months into our move to Nashville. I was so homesick and honestly depressed because I was 1,000 miles away from all my family and friends, in an unfamiliar town with unfamiliar faces, trying to chase a dream. Instead of letting all of those negative things get to us and hold us back, we decided to write about it and let it out. We've had the honor of hearing other people's struggles and stories and how this song has brought them peace or hope or joy. That song just proved to me how powerful one song can be. 

Did you ever anticipate your debut album, Start Here, building as much success as it has?


T: No way! We hoped that people would like it and all of our stories in it but we never knew it would land us where we are today. 

M: I never thought it would be as successful as it was, but I really never thought how many people would relate to it. These songs were our stories, but always everyone else's stories. It's so humbling to have people connect with songs you've written and out your heart into. 

Who has been your favorite performer to go on tour with and why? 

T: Dierks Bentley for sure! We just made so many memories on that tour with him and his camp. We hangout with his daughters a lot too. He's just a really personable guy who always made sure that we felt comfortable.

M: It's a tie between Dierks Bentley and Lee Brice. We love them both so much! 

Being in a group with someone can sometimes be tough when making decisions. How have you continued to maintain your friendship while making important decisions in a professional relationship?


T: I think the key is truly respecting each other. And by that I mean when there's a disagreement, just listen and try to understand the other person's perspective. It goes a long way!

M: Communication is key. It's just like a marriage. You have to communicate, understand, listen, and be willing to compromise. We are a team. 

Photo by AGafkjen


Who has been your music influence growing up and why?

T: Martina McBride got me and I came home from home school every day and turned on the “Concrete Angel” music video. I remember wanting to sing just like her when I was younger!

M: I would say Lee Ann Womack, Vince Gill, and the Dixie Chicks. I loved how true they all were to themselves in their own ways. Musically and lyrically, they were all phenomenal. 

What’s it like being female role models in the country music world at such a young age? Do you ever feel any pressure?


T: It's an honor to know that young girls look up to us. But we are still normal gals who go through the same things as everyone else and make the same mistakes! I think as long as we're being honest with our fans and ourselves the pressure shouldn't be a problem.

M: I don't feel any pressure to be a role model because I've always wanted to set a good example for young girls. I want to use my platform to remind girls how beautiful they are and how much they matter. I think the only tough part about being a young person in the industry is just being a little naive and trying to learn as much as you can, as fast as you can.

What’s your favorite part about working with each other and being on tour?

 T: We always find a way to have fun! 

M: My favorite part is just how we truly collaborate. Tae has such great ideas and pushes me out of my comfort zone to help me grow. She's always inspiring me to do more and get better and better. 

What can we expect from Maddie & Tae in the upcoming months?

T: We'll be working on some new music, headed over to the UK, going to join Justin Moore on some dates, and continue to be goobers on all social media ;)

M: Lots of touring and new music early next year! :)