Maddie & Tae Denounce 'Tomatogate,' Defend New Album's Wait

Country duo gear up for August release of their highly-anticipated debut album, 'Start Here'

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Maddie & Tae
Maddie & Tae spoke backstage at FarmBorough about their new album and the "Tomatogate" controversy. Rahav Segev/WireImage

Their debut album won't be out for another two months, but ever since the release of last year's "Girl in a Country Song," Maddie & Tae have become spokespersons of sorts for the scarcity of women on country radio. So when Rolling Stone Country caught up with the duo just hours before their performance at New York City's Farmborough Festival last Friday, it was a surprise to learn that the group hadn't yet commented on the so-called "Tomatogate" controversy stirred up by radio consultant Keith Hill.

"We actually haven't been asked that yet in an interview, surprisingly," says Maddie Marlow, when asked what she thinks of Hill's comparison of female country artists to tomatoes, with their male counterparts — who supposedly make up the majority of the "salad" dished out by contemporary country radio — serving as the lettuce. 

"It's the worst analogy," she continues. "The comment that stood out to me the most was saying that people don’t buy female music, because that's completely false. I just bought the Kacey Musgraves record. She's a female. Give me a break!"

Taylor Dye, the other half of the upstart duo, feels optimistic that the tides are turning for women with radio-ready music to share. "There are a lot of young women coming out right now," says Dye. "Kelsea Ballerini just got her Number One, and we were so excited for her. I think everyone, guys included, want to hear more of the female perspective, and we're just glad to be part of this trend."

As for their own album, which was originally scheduled to come out June 2nd before being postponed to an August 28th release, Marlow says the long wait will be well worth it. "We had to push it back because we wanted everything to be perfect, down to the music and artwork and everything," she explains. "Our team got a little too anxious thinking we could make the (original) release date, and the only way we could get it exactly the way we wanted was to push it back."

Now, with Start Here less than two months away from its release date, the duo couldn't be more eager to share their debut with their fans. "We're just ready for it to be finally released and hear people's opinions and critiques," says Dye. "We've been working really hard on it because we want to make a great first impression to the world. It's like our first-born child."

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