They say you can’t truly appreciate the good times in life unless you’ve been through a few storms. Maddie & Tae could testify to that. These days, Maddie Marlow and Taylor Dye are on top of the world with an acclaimed new EP, One Heart to Another, and an opening slot on Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty Tour 360, which kicked off May 1 in Greensboro, NC.
“This is just a sneak peek into the full project,” Marlow says of the new EP, which released April 26 via Mercury Nashville. “We picked these five songs as the bones of the whole project and we wanted to tell this story of love, loss and redemption. You hear that through the track listing. We’re just so proud of this body of work and can’t wait to release more.”
The duo says the new release feels like the light at the end of the tunnel. “At the end of 2016, we were with a record company and had started actually to make our second record at that time,” Dye tells Sounds Like Nashville. “We went into the studio and cut five songs. We were feeling hopeful about the next chapter and phase of our career, and then in 2017 we got the news that that label was just not going to be there anymore. So that left us in this weird limbo of like, ‘Where is our home?’ It was a really confusing time and we realized that every month that passed was another month that fans were going without receiving new music from us.”
Fans on social media were asking about new music from the duo, who arrived in 2014 the hit single “Girl in a Country Song, but the ladies had no answers. “We were very young and took it really personal and really hard,” Dye says of the label closing, “but we knew that there were a few things that we could control and that was sticking together, holding each other up, telling each other it’s going to be okay—even though on the inside we were freaking out—and just continue to write songs and be the artists that we know we are, and if we get the chance to make another record one day amazing. We can tell this beautiful long story.”
Maddie & Tae’s new single, “Die From a Broken Heart,” reflects that period of struggle and uncertainty. “We wrote it with Jonathan Singleton and Deric Ruttan. We love those guys,” Marlow smiles. “Jonathan actually had the concept and title of ‘Mama can you die from a broken heart?’ He said it and we all just stopped for a minute. We were just going through that process of trying to figure out what our future held and what the heck was going to happen to our career. We were both going through our own personal struggles, our own personal heartbreak and so we just had heartbreak coming at us from all different angles, personally, professionally, everything and we connected with that title.”
They hope the song inspires others who are having a tough time, and it seems to be strongly resonating with audiences as it already has more than 36 million streams. “The whole goal of this song now that we’ve come out of that really rough spot is no matter how bad it gets, it gets better. I promise. I promise. I promise. We are living proof that it gets better,” Marlow says. “There’s always purpose for pain and the purpose for our pain from that was writing ‘Die From A Broken Heart.’ If it weren’t for our world collapsing in front of our eyes, we would not have written that song. That’s your goal as a songwriter is you just want to create connection. You are telling your stories that are hopefully everyone else’s too.”
“We’ve always said we’d be honest with our fans and this is about as honest as it gets,” Dye says of the single.
Marlow agrees. “The more vulnerable the better always. Sometimes it’s a little scary to put your heart out there like that, but it’s working for us, so we’re going to keep doing it.”
Marlow says “Friends Don’t” is another song on the new EP inspired by real life. “My younger sister is such a cutie and so sweet. She’s in college right now and she was in this pickle with this dude where he was liking her, she was liking him, but no one was saying anything,” Marlow explains. “They were just dancing around it. She was telling me all these thing that he was doing and she was like, ‘Friends don’t do that,’ and I was like, ‘I’m going to write that tomorrow.’ When we wrote it, I sent it to her and she was like, ‘Oh my gosh! This is exactly the situation!’
“I need to get her a really nice birthday gift this year because I’m putting her business all out there,” Marlow laughs. “She didn’t sign up for this, but we pull inspiration from our own experiences, from our family and friends. We actually got a song idea today in an interview too so you never know when it just sparks and you think of something.”
“One Heart to Another” started with a title that Dye had been mulling over for years. Writing with Singleton and Ruttan, the girls began developing the idea. “I thought ‘One Heart to Another,’ what if you’re talking about a guy that goes from one heart to another,” says Dye. “And it was Deric’s idea to say, ‘What if you are talking to a girl like saying, “Hey girl, one heart to another.”’”
They all liked the direction the song began taking. “It was cool getting to write from that perspective of a woman telling another woman, ‘Hey this guy is not a good guy. Guard your heart because he just destroyed mine,’” Marlow says. “There’s something so powerful in that and we’re all about lifting women up and being there for each other.”
Maddie & Tae are looking forward to sharing songs from the new EP on the Carrie Underwood tour, and they couldn’t be more excited and honored to be part of one of this year’s biggest outings. “We got wind that we may be in consideration for the tour, so we set all of our prayer warriors on a mission. We had all of Texas and Oklahoma praying that we would get this tour,” Marlow shares.
Needless to say, they were excited when they got the call that they were chosen for that coveted slot. “We were freaking out. We were screaming and our band guys thought something was going wrong,” Marlow smiles. “It was just something to hold onto last year to keep moving and not get discouraged because one of the biggest superstars and sweetest people on the planet believes in us. It was a huge, huge moment for us. It wasn’t just a tour. It was a game changer for us and our confidence and in our career.”
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Dye wholeheartedly agrees. “The fact that she’s been so open about that she believes in us as artists and she didn’t just chose us because we are women. She chose us because we are good… She believes in us and it makes us want to put on the best show we absolutely can. She makes us feel totally welcomed and totally like we belong and we have every right to be there. That alone makes us feel good and excited to spend the rest of the summer with her.”
They are looking forward to giving the fans a memorable experience during their 35-minute set. “We’ve got some really cool moments we involve our band in,” says Dye. “We plan on putting on a really great show and we have a really fun cover that no one will expect from us. We love playing other people’s music here and there. It’s fun to sprinkle in a song that we like.”
While rehearsing for the tour, they spent 10-hour days in high heels. “We wanted to make sure we knew what it felt like in heels walking that stage,” says Marlow.
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The duo’s creative director suggested a unique tactic to get them ready for the tour. “He made us run up 8th Avenue and sing our whole set while running, no heels, but I thought I was going to die,” Marlow says of running and singing through downtown Nashville. “It was challenging but we pushed ourselves mentally, physically, everything for these rehearsals because we want to be amazing for this tour. We want to make sure we’re holding our own on that stage.”
But as Maddie & Tae fans already know, the new EP and tour aren’t the only big news. Marlow is getting married in Nashville in November to longtime love Jonah Font. “I’ve already finished almost everything,” Marlow says. “We have just a couple minor details. [I would advise] hiring a wedding planner to anyone that is getting married because that makes your life so much easier and worth every single penny. We’re doing 100-150, which is smaller but still I need some extra hands. I told my wedding planner we have to finish this before the end of April because I’m going to be going on tour and I don’t have any time to be wedding planning out there, so we’re excited. Jonah and I are pumped to get to celebrate with a bunch of people that we love.”
The past few years have been an emotional rollercoaster from such highs as winning the 2015 CMA Video of the Year award for “Girl in a Country Song” to the heartbreak of their record label shuttering, and they poured both the triumphs and trials into their music. “I want people to know that we poured our hearts into this second project,” Marlow says. “If you don’t relate to every song, I hope there’s at least one that is your story along with ours.”
As the interview draws to a close, the young women want to make sure their fans appreciate their continual support. “I just want them to know that we’re very thankful that they have remained loyal and patient with us and we’re back,” says Dye.
“Back and better than ever, baby,” Marlow adds with a grin.