Maddie & Tae on Playing Starkey Hearing Foundation Concert, Being Proof That 'Crazy Dreams' Come True

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Maddie and Tae

This past weekend, Maddie & Tae went back to school for a good cause.

The act behind such hits as “Girl in a Country Song” and “Shut Up and Fish” took their show to Northwest High School in Germantown, Maryland. The CMA-winning duo donated their time to raise awareness for the Listen Carefully competition, which was sponsored by the Starkey Hearing Foundation, an organization that has provided hearing aids for those in need for more than 30 years.

A competition was held among students throughout the United States, and freshman Miranda Pierce, sophomore Christopher Hall and senior Tye Gray collaborated on “Give Your Ears a Rest,” which promotes education of noise-induced hearing loss among teenagers by encouraging them to reduce the volume of their personal music devices.

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Maddie & Tae took part in the awards ceremony on May 10 and then took the stage to give some of their younger fans a full show. The duo’s Maddie Marlow said they were excited to be working with the Starkey Foundation on the cause.

“They are all about helping people that have hearing loss,” Marlow told Billboard. “They do a lot of cool stuff, like supply hearing aids for people all over the world. It’s very exciting to be a part of such a great foundation. We had a lot of schools submit videos about promoting the idea of listening carefully, and we got to perform for all these kids that believe in this campaign. It was a really special night, one that we hope will raise awareness for Starkey and Listen Carefully.”

Taylor Dye admitted that, as musicians, the volume of music is not often thought about. Still, she says, there are precautions that one can take to prevent damage to their hearing.

“It is something where I think that people need to take a step back and realize how bad these things we are doing really are for our ears. But nobody really thinks about it. We’re playing shows every night with music in our ears. That’s just the industry. For us, it’s about the precautions we take -- making sure that we’re putting the right things in our ears, and making sure it’s not hurting our ears. We’re always going to be where it’s loud, but afterwards, we just want to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves.”

Marlow said she enjoyed living the school experience again -- this time from the stage. “It was really inspiring to show the students that crazy dreams are completely achievable. We’re living, breathing proof of that, and are just so excited to have a chance to give back to the fans and give back to such a great campaign.”

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The duo recently added a pair of awards to their growing collection with two wins at the Radio Disney Music Awards, winning for favorite country artist and favorite country song (for "Fly"). Dye said it was a huge night. “We had so much fun there. First of all, we’re huge fans of what Radio Disney does for fans and us. They’ve been huge supporters of us. They’ve played our music and helped us to make some great fans. To show up and have all these people get so excited about music was so exciting. Everyone on our whole team knew but us that we were going to win for favorite country artist. It was a shock to everyone that we won for ‘Fly.’ We’re just very thankful that our fans took the time to vote for us.”

With the release of “Sierra,” the fourth single from Start Here, the duo has already put together an impressive catalog -- and they humbled at the fan attention they have received. “Country fans are the most loyal in the world, but they know every song that you put out -- not just the singles,” admitted Marlow. “Take ‘Sierra,’ for instance, which we just released as the fourth single. [It] has been one that people have sung to since the beginning. I think that so many people relate to it. It’s a very universal topic, where everyone has had a situation like that. We’ve been playing a lot up north, and even in New York City, we had fans show up and sing along with every song on the record. That just goes to show you that people are relating to the music, and that’s why we make it.”

Dye said the lyrics of “Sierra,” about a bully from the past, has definitely caused fans to share plenty of similar stories with the duo. “It’s been big for us to hear about how it touches people. It’s so specific to our situation because it is so real, but when people tell us stories about people in their lives, whether it be their mom or their boyfriend or someone they met at work -- it can be so inspiring for us to realize how broad the appeal of the song is. That will never get old for us -- to know that we are changing lives with our music.”