To say that 2015 has been a whirlwind in the life and careers of Maddie & Tae would definitely be an understatement. From watching their 2014 single debut “Girl In A Country Song” top the Country Airplay chart as well as the success of their follow-up “Fly,” (currently no. 75 on the Hot 100), it has been a year to remember. “We’ve had so much success, and been able to cross off so many things off of our bucket list,” the duo’s Tae Dye tells Billboard. “We wrote a song that I think people were really ready for. It was a fresh perspective that I think the world really wanted. We’ve got to make our Grand Ole Opry debut, be on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and tour with Dierks Bentley. So many things have happened in one year that it has been crazy. Every day has been a pinch-me moment.”
The duo recently stopped by the Billboard studio for a live performance of both “Girl In A Country Song,” as well as “Fly.” Watch "Girl In A Country Song" above and "Fly" below.
Friday, Aug. 28 is a big day for Maddie & Tae, when they release their full-length debut, Start Here -- a little past when the duo first anticipated. “We got a little too excited. I guess you could call it a little too antsy in thinking that the album would be ready to go on June 2,” says Maddie Marlow. "We’ve been on the road every day the past year, and we only had a little bit of time to go cut the record and to do the artwork. We really wanted to take our time, and make sure everything was perfect. We got that part right, but then there was the artwork. The two of us wanted to do a personal touch, with handwritten lyrics in the background of the pictures, and writing a thank-you to the fans. That was really something special to us, trying to think of something that was personal -- to give them something they wouldn’t normally get.”
Critics have lauded Maddie & Tae about the traditional slant of the music. “That is music to our ears,” exclaims Dye. “We grew up on '90s country, so we wanted to put fiddle, steel, and dobro -- all of these country instruments that you don’t get to hear much these days. That was really important to us. We’re so glad that Dann Huff, our producer, understood that. He leans a little bit more toward rock, so it was a challenge to him.”
The challenge of building a recording career actually inspired the duo to pen their current single. “'Fly’ is a very special song to us. We wrote it when we were in a very vulnerable place. Nothing was happening for us. We had been together for five years, and had move to Nashville at age 17 on our own," says Marlow. "I think a lot of people have that moment where they can’t do this, and they don’t have what it takes because nothing is happening. We had to write that song to encourage ourselves and to remind ourselves to keep going."
And following up "Girl In A Country Song" was "a tricky thing," adds Marlow. "'Girl In A Country Song’ was uptempo, rockin', and such a bold song. We have other songs like that on the record, too. But ‘Fly’ showed a very different side of us. We didn’t want people to think that we’re just funny and witty -- we have another side to us. We have made such great friends at country radio. I think they love the honesty of ‘Fly’ and how raw and vulnerable it is. It’s something to hang on to and believe in.”
Watch more from Billboard's full interview with Maddie & Tae below.