Interview: With Their New Music, Maddie & Tae Want to Be Your ‘Shoulder to Lean On’
Maddie & Tae's new Everywhere I'm Goin' EP (released Friday (Oct. 18)) and their April EP One Heart to Another are, together, a two-part introduction to the up-and-coming country duo's sophomore album. The pair say they chose to release new music this way because they wanted every single song to count.
"We wanted the fans to be able to digest them and spend time with them and really get to listen to each song individually and hear the story," Tae Dye tells The Boot. "The whole record, the concept is relationships and the phases you go through when you’re happy and you’re in love, and it doesn’t work out and you’re sad and you have to pick yourself up off the floor, but just how cyclical and real and how everyone goes through those phases. When it came down to releasing the music, we thought it would just be a great way to let each song and each part have its moment."
Dye and duo partner Maddie Marlow have never been afraid to speak up -- just listen to their debut single, "Girl in a Country Song" -- but now, they have even more to say. The duo says co-writing all five songs on the Everywhere I'm Goin' EP, which showcases a deeper side to their story since their 2015 debut album, Start Here, makes them all the more personal when it comes time to perform them.
"Every song that we write, we remember where the inspiration came from, how we wrote it, why we wrote it, what that writing session felt like, what that emotion felt like and so it’s almost like our little babies," Marlow says. "It’s really special. Just seeing the back of the EP and seeing my name on every single song, there’s something really cool to that and really empowering."
Everywhere I'm Goin' features, among others, "Bathroom Floor," a clever, full-circle song that turns heartbreak into hangovers. Another standout is "Lay Here With Me," which features vocal support from their former tourmate Dierks Bentley. The collaboration came together when Marlow called Bentley up in the studio one day; after he gave the song a listen, he agreed to sing on it.
There's a transparency to the songs on Everywhere I'm Goin'. Milestones are marked in "Trying on Rings," and the preliminary process to healing after a breakup is confronted on "Ain't There Yet." The collection is vulnerable and straightforward about both the good and bad sides of love, but it took several years in Nashville for Maddie & Tae to achieve the ability to be unafraid to sing about, frankly, whatever they want.
"Vulnerability and confidence kind of go hand in hand for us now, and they used to not. We used to think that being vulnerable was scary and weak and embarrassing. Now, this second record has proven to us that you can open your heart and put it all out there and still feel strong and empowered and confident," Marlow says. "I just feel like I’m not a scared 18-year-old girl anymore, I’m like, 'I’m gonna do whatever the hell I think we’re supposed to do, and do what we want and say what we want and just not really care what anyone thinks.'
"We’re not here to please people like we were when we were 18," she continues. "We’re here to say something and make a statement and empower people and do something with our platform."
Adds Dye, "It’s been nice to just be unapologetic and just bold."
"We’re not here to please people like we were when we were 18. We’re here to say something and make a statement and empower people and do something with our platform." -- Maddie Marlow
Maddie & Tae want Everywhere I'm Goin' to give fans something to identify with no matter what they're going through. Dye and Marlow are done being afraid, and their mature sound and outlook suits them well.
"I think there is purpose in every phase of life. Whether you’re going through a great time or a really horrible time or a confusing time, there’s a purpose for it all, and I think that this record proves that," Marlow says. "I just want this project to represent every phase of this cyclical thing we call life, and I want people to be able to identify whatever phase they’re in and put a song to the phase."
"I hope if anyone’s like us and scared to let people in, I hope they listen to this and say, 'Okay, Maddie & Tae did it. They weren’t afraid to ask for help. They weren’t afraid to say they were hurting or happy or anything,'" Dye says. "I hope people feel empowered to just be themselves and let people in and help them, because we all need a shoulder to lean on."
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