Maddie & Tae may have three nominations at tonight’s 49th CMA Awards, along with a performance slot on the telecast, and a new single, “Shut Up and Fish,” but that doesn’t mean the buzzed-about duo — who have a solid shot at upsetting the Vocal Duo of the Year category — have stopped working on new material.
“With our songwriter brains, we are always thinking about writing,” says Tae Dye, who, along with Maddie Marlow, make up the duo. “Whenever we get to be creative, we get writing fever. We get in there and write two in a day.”
Most recently, the duo, who are also nominated for New Artist of the Year and Video of the Year for “Girl in a Country Song,” spent time in the studio with acclaimed writer Brett James, the songsmith behind Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus, Take the Wheel” and Miranda Lambert’s “Somethin’ Bad.”
“We wrote two songs accidentally with [him] the other week,” says Marlow. “We wrote one, and then Tae busts out this amazing concept and we were like, ‘We can’t leave this room without writing this.'”
“Writing fever — it’s a real thing,” adds Dye.
“Shut Up and Fish,” off their debut LP Start Here, is currently the most added song on country radio — and, with its unapologetic knock on men who hope to bait them, not a smallmouth bass, it’s a refreshing flip on a narrative that often casts women in the passive role. Turns out, the track’s whole scenario is based on a real-life encounter, down to the “salmon-colored” shorts.
“We grew up fishing and we take it seriously,” says Marlow. “We had the whole ‘I was fishing/he was wishing’ part, and we were like, ‘That’s the money line.’ We told [co] writers [Aaron Scherz and Pete Sallis] the situation and wrote it to the T, exactly how it happened. And we wanted it to be country — you can’t write a fishing song without a really country melody. So we went with the good ole three chords and the truth.”
Which is exactly where Maddie & Tae say they’ll stay. “We are excited to work on the second record,” says Dye. “And hopefully go a little more country with it, too.”