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Goin’ Places: Maddie & Tae Share the Biggest Lessons They’ve Learned During a Whirlwind Year

The duo has never been more empowered than they are right now.

Written by Lindsay Williams
Goin’ Places: Maddie & Tae Share the Biggest Lessons They’ve Learned During a Whirlwind Year
Maddie & Tae; Photo credit: Carlos Ruiz

When Maddie & Tae take the stage on The Cry Pretty Tour 360, they have one job: to hype up the audience for Carrie Underwood. The two best friends simultaneously consider it an honor and a challenge.

“The stage is very high tech. It’s massive; it’s beautiful; it’s glam; it’s all the things,” notes the duo’s Taylor Dye of the innovative in-the-round production. “So we knew that to do the tour justice—to really get the crowd amped for Carrie—we had to step up our game.”

Runaway June, Carrie Underwood and Maddie & Tae; Photo Credit: Jeff Johnson
Runaway June, Carrie Underwood and Maddie & Tae; Photo Credit: Jeff Johnson

Everything from their sparkly wardrobe and set list to their strategic stage-strutting has been elevated for the 55-city outing. “We’ve been pushed out of our comfort zone in the best way. We’ve learned so much so quickly,” adds the group’s Maddie Marlow. “Being with such talented women, sticking together in this crazy time that is Country music right now, supporting each other, and just making this little sisterhood out of a tour—it’s been such a blast.”

It’s also been a masterclass in showmanship for Maddie & Tae as they perform in between opening act Runaway June and headliner Underwood as part of the all-female lineup. “I just feel so confident as a performer, and as an entertainer, because of the experiences Carrie has given us on this tour,” Marlow asserts. “This has been one of the most empowering experiences we’ve had.”

Maddie & Tae; Cover art courtesy of The GreenRoom
Maddie & Tae; Cover art courtesy of The GreenRoom

The female-fronted tour is only a slice of the success the duo has experienced in 2019, with new music forming the foundation for their meteoric rise. Following April’s One Heart To Another EP, Maddie & Tae have released a second helping of new tunes with Everywhere I’m Goin’. Serving as part two of a thee-part music series, Everywhere I’m Goin’ is a snapshot of where these two ladies have been and where they’re headed. “Lay Here With Me” features former tour mate Dierks Bentley, while “Trying On Rings” hints at Marlow’s upcoming nuptials.

Each of the EPs tells a story of love, loss and redemption. Releasing songs in small batches has enabled Maddie & Tae to make last minute additions to their track listings. Case in point: their new single, “Bathroom Floor.” “If we had released a whole album, ‘Bathroom Floor’ wouldn’t have been on it,” Marlow reveals. “It’s been a blessing that we’ve been able to break this up and do something a little unique, because some of the songs are written in real time. It’s been a way for us to sneak in songs. We’ve got a lot of stories to tell.”

The group plans to head back into the studio later this year to record the final selections for their full LP. In the meantime, they’re testing out new music for fans on tour. “We’ve gotten to live with the songs and know which ones mean something to us and which ones work well live,” Dye says. “When we’re picking the five songs for each EP, it’s just whatever feels current, whatever gives us the right emotions.”

Maddie & Tae co-wrote all of the songs on Everywhere I’m Goin’, emphasizing the significance they place on lyrics. “Songwriting is the reason we’re even sitting here doing an interview. Without that, we would have nothing,” offers Marlow during a media day in Nashville. “Being able to express ourselves through our happiness, through our pain and through our brave moments and capture that into a piece of art is so special. I feel like writing your own music gives you another way for people to see your heart. If it’s coming straight from your heart and your mouth, I feel like people can connect a little deeper.”

Writing their own songs and learning how to interpret them in front of an arena full of fans also enables Maddie & Tae to connect with who they are as individuals on a deeper level. For both of them, 2019 has been a year of letting go.

“It’s easy to find reasons to be a perfectionist in what we do. People hold us to a high standard, and that’s OK, but I think I’m learning to just have fun,” Dye admits. “Other people enjoy me better when I’m happy and having fun. So the best I can do for others is to make sure I’m happy; then I can better love everybody around me.”

Meanwhile, Marlow calls 2019 her “Wonder Woman year.” “I feel like I’m way stronger than I give myself credit for… I feel really, really empowered this year to not be afraid; because sometimes, when you just free fall, some really, really cool stuff starts to happen,” she says before adding, “If I can plan a wedding and go on a major tour at the same time, I can do anything!”