Maddie & Tae's "Girl in a Country Song": The Antidote to Bro-Country

The Nashville newbies take on the rage in tailgates and trucks (and their own labelmates) with debut single

As the first act to sign with the revived Dot Records, a Big Machine Label Group (BMLG) imprint, Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye seem primed to be Nashville's newest sweethearts. Think again. The blonde, bubbly 18-year-olds, who perform as Maddie & Tae, may look harmless, but the duo's bold debut single, "Girl in a Country Song," has become the talk of Music City - and the Hot Shot Debut on the Aug. 2 Hot Country Songs chart at No. 39.

Co-written with Big Machine Music's Aaron Scherz, the song skewers the "bro-country" trend of acts like Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan. "We were listening to all the songs on country radio right now that we love by artists we love," says Dye. "We started writing this checklist: girls, tailgates, trucks, cutoffs, dirt roads."

The songs "all have this super-smoking-hot girl in it. She's always barefoot on a tailgate dancing in cutoff jeans and a bikini top," adds Marlow. "We thought it would be fun to come at this topic from a different perspective: how the girl would feel, or at least how we would feel, being in those songs. We want to look good for these boys, but that's not all we have to offer."

Catchy and sassy, "Girl" sends "these boys" - particularly Billy Currington, the singer behind 2013's "Hey Girl" - a clear message, with lyrics including: "I hear you over there on your tailgate whistling/Saying 'Hey girl' but you know I ain't listening." But Dye says they're just having fun. "A lot of people hear the song and are like, 'Why are you bashing them?' We're not! We love these songs and these guys."

Adds Marlow: "We're just giving the girls a voice."

The song's message might seem like a jab at fellow BMLG acts like Florida Georgia Line, but president/CEO Scott Borchetta doesn't see it that way. "Our goal is to always sign artists that have their own point of view," he says. "As for other artists whose music this speaks to, they totally understand it's all in good fun."

Marlow and Dye, who hail from Sugar Land, Texas, and Ada, Okla., respectively, met through a vocal coach at a showcase. They began writing and performing together while still in high school, spending weekdays collaborating via video chat and weekends working in Nashville. ("Which is crazy," notes Dye, "because Nashville songwriters don't write on weekends.") After being discovered by BMLG Music vp creative Mike Molinar, the girls teamed with Scherz, who "really helped develop us," says Marlow. When they played "Girl" for Borchetta for the first time, "We're like, 'Oh, my gosh, what if he hates it?' But we play the song and he's just dying laughing."

Maddie & Tae are currently on the road promoting "Girl" in between writing and recording their debut full-length, which may ruffle a few more feathers.

"We want girls to know it's OK to feel what you're feeling," says Dye. "We write from real experiences - we're not taking anything out. We're dropping names."


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