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Girls With a Country Song
Taylor Dye, left, and Maddie Marlow of the country duo Maddie & Tae made their Grand Ole Opry debut in September 2014.
Photo by CHRIS HOLLO
Ada native Taylor Dye is turning the country music world on its ear as half of the trailblazing duo Maddie & Tae
By Tricia Despres
Published July/August 2015
Damon Dye has always been weary of clichés—for instance, when the parents of successful artists say they knew their children were destined for stardom. But in the case of his nineteen-year-old “little Tae Tae”—Taylor Dye, half of the country duo Maddie & Tae—this proud daddy has no problem with it.
“From a young age, she wanted to entertain people,” Damon says of his daughter. “I remember hearing Tae sing ‘The Climb’ by Miley Cyrus. I looked at my wife, and our mouths dropped.”
It’s that voice paired with a sassy attitude that has helped propel Tae and Sugar Land, Texas, native Maddie Marlow into the country music spotlight. The pair caught the attention of country radio in 2014 with their number-one single “Girl in a Country Song,” a hilarious takedown of the trend known as “bro country.”
Oklahoma country artists—from Roger Miller to Reba McEntire to Blake Shelton—have long been known for their moxie. Tae, who grew up in Ada and now lives in Nashville, seems poised to join the Sooner State’s country pantheon.
“I love Ada. I remember being very little and seeing that sign that says ‘Ada—Hometown of Blake Shelton’ and wanting my name on there,” she says. “Maddie and I both had supportive families that never told us we couldn’t do something.”
Tae’s father set up a little in-home recording studio in a walk-in closet and sent his daughter to record with vocal coach Rick Roach, through whom she and Marlow first met in Kingston.
“When we met, I think what automatically intrigued us about one another was that we both wrote songs,” Marlow says. “We also quickly found out we were influenced by many of the same artists—like Shania Twain and Vince Gill—and the way they told stories through their songs. We want to make music that makes you feel something.”
The pair are doing that with the release of their follow-up single, a ballad called “Fly,” and the August 2015 release of their debut album, Start Here. The buzz around their work—the hilarious and provocative video for “Girl in a Country Song” has more than twenty million views on YouTube—earned them a spot on Dierks Bentley’s summer tour. But of all the eyes watching Maddie & Tae’s star rise, Damon Dye’s shine with the most pride.
“I will never forget standing backstage as people walked by like Randy Owen from Alabama, Joe Diffie, and Brad Paisley. I mean, you hear these people on the radio, and all of a sudden our Taylor is on that same stage, in that same circle,” says Damon of Maddie & Tae’s first Grand Ole Opry appearance in September 2014. “The girls use the word surreal a lot, but it was an amazing moment.”
Get There: Maddie & Tae’s album Start Here is available from online retailers including iTunes and Amazon and anywhere CDs are sold. For more information, visit maddieandtae.com.