Today’s the day Maddie and Tae fans have been waiting for for a long time: the duo have finally released their debut album, Start Here. There’s been a lot of talk in recent months about the lack of female voices in country music, but Maddie and Tae are ready to bust their way into the boys club, which they’ve started doing with aplomb via “Girl in a Country Song,” which is on the album, but has out since last year.
Maddie (a.k.a. Madison Marlow) tells Radio.com, “Giving girls a voice is so special to both of us and we just feel blessed to do that. There’s all different types of songs on our record, all different types of stories. ‘Girl in a Country Song’ was one where we were like, ‘We know other people feel this way, and we’re gonna hold the torch for this message.’ And it worked.” Indeed, it topped Billboard’s country airplay chart, and got them a lot of attention.
Tae (a.k.a. Taylor Dye) adds, “I think people were noticing that you never hear a woman’s voice, or perspective, on the radio. So that was important for us to hold that torch and be like, ‘OK, we’re gonna bring women back, and we’re gonna come at it full force with a very strong message that we’re very passionate about.’ And that was just really special for us , that people were so accepting and had open arms to it.”
The two have been working together since high school, and Tae explains that they were drawn to each other due to their similar interests. “We really bonded over the same passions, and then we started talking about songwriting. And how honest we both were with songwriting and how that was really special and rare for the two of us to find a friend like that. The moment we met, I say it was ‘Love at first write.'”
They’re both pretty tough women, which presented a problem of sorts when it came to collaborating with outside writers. Maddie says, “Both of us were raised as strong, independent women who have trouble putting their guard down. And songwriting was a challenge for both of us, to go in a room, and pour our hearts out, sometimes to a stranger if we were working with a person we hadn’t written with before. And that was something that both of us struggled with: being that vulnerable, to open your heart. But [when you do that,] that’s when your fans can do the same. So many fans come up to us and tell us their stories. Strangers have come up to me and say, ‘Your song did this for me, because this thing happened in my life,’ because we allowed ourselves to be so vulnerable, and I think there’s something so beautiful about that.”
“Girl in a Country Song” and “Fly” have both been out for quite a while, but they’re both glad to get Start Here out into the world.
Maddie says, “This album is 100% our truth. It’s eleven songs that tell stories from the past five years, whether it’s Tae’s experience or my experience, and there’s a lot of them that are together. It’s almost like our first-born child! We put so much work and effort into this album because we want it to be perfect and we want our fans to get the whole Maddie and Tae spiel, and give them more of a reason to keep listening to our music, because they’re only going off of two songs, ‘Girl in a Country Song’ and ‘Fly.’ Which are very special to us. They’re probably some of our favorite songs on the record. But we know there’s also other songs that we know are going to resonate with our fans, if the first two resonated with them.”
She also notes that they’ve been very involved in every aspect of the album: “And oh my gosh, we are being such sticklers about this album. The album artwork has to be perfect, we need more steel [guitar] and more fiddle in the mix…”
Tae continues, “…and in five years, that probably won’t matter but right now it does matter a lot to us.”
“We’ve never been the kind of artist that just lets other people do it for us, and we’ll approve.” Maddie says. “Nope! ‘This is what we want! And we’re gonna help you make it that way!'”
Tae says the album is the jump-off point for what they hope will be a long career: “The title explains everything. We choose Start Here as the title because it’s just the beginning and it’s the first taste that our fans are getting and we plan to make make many more and there’s not going to be an end.”
(Interview by Annie Reuter)