31 Days of Women: Maddie & Tae

Editor’s Note: In celebration of Women’s History Month, You Sing I Write is highlighting female country artists and songwriters throughout March.

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Maddie & Tae countless times over the past six years. While we’ve talked at great lengths about their Nashville journey and the ups and downs of label deals, one of my favorite features on them was 2019’s Songs That Defined the Decade for Billboard. We discussed their breakthrough hit “Girl In a Country Song,” which they wrote seven years ago on St. Patrick’s Day. Below is an excerpt of our chat.

When Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye sat down with songwriter Aaron Scherz on St. Patrick’s Day 2014, they had no idea they’d be creating history and giving a voice to females within the country genre. The single they wrote together, “Girl In a Country Song,” was a bold track that called out country radio and the men on the airwaves for painting women the exact same way: as an accessory in their truck with cut-off jeans and nothing to say.

Throughout the tune, Maddie & Tae call out contemporary hits by Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett, Brantley Gilbert, Tyler Farr and Blake Shelton, all of which featured stereotypical supermodel-like women in their songs and videos. While it ruffled some feathers — with FGL’s Brian Kelley telling the Chicago Tribune, “I don’t know one girl who doesn’t want to be a girl in a country song” — Maddie & Tae never apologized for the truth heard within their lyrics.

“There was no reason for us to apologize and we totally understood that some people were offended, but to us it wasn’t for the men,” Dye explains. “It was for the women. It was to empower women. It wasn’t to bash men.”

All writers for Big Machine Music at the time, the three collaborators considered pitching the song to other artists. But when Maddie & Tae performed it at a Tin Pan South showcase later that year, it became obvious that it was best suited for them.

For Maddie & Tae, “Girl In a Country Song” remains a timeless statement on the importance of there being diverse portrayals of women in music and entertainment.

“There’s this role [women] got in these songs where we’re supposed to look this certain way,” Marlow says. “There’s this one type of woman that’s shown in every single video and it’s like, ‘Well, what about the petite girls? What about the curvy girls? What about girls that have their own job and aren’t just trying to ride some dude’s coattails?’ It just wasn’t representative of all women and so it was cool to get to say, ‘Hey there’s more to us than just looking beautiful. We run companies, too.'”

Watch the video for Maddie & Tae’s No. 1 hit “Girl In a Country Song” below. For more of my interview with the duo, visit Billboard.


Win Tickets to Maddie & Tae In New York


Maddie & Tae will kick off their first headlining tour next Wednesday in New York and you can be there. You Sing, I Write has a pair of tickets to give away for their concert at Highline Ballroom. To enter for your chance to win, simply follow @yousingiwrite on Twitter with the message: “Send me to Maddie & Tae live in NYC” and I’ll enter you in the raffle. The winner will be notified by EOD on Monday. Good luck!

“Giving girls a voice is so special to both of us and we just feel blessed to do that,” Maddie Marlow told me earlier this year. “There’s all different types of songs on our record, all different types of stories. ‘Girl in a Country Song’ was one where we were like, ‘We know other people feel this way, and we’re gonna hold the torch for this message.’ And it worked.”


The duo’s debut single, “Girl In a Country Song” went to No. 1 on the country charts and helped launch Maddie & Tae’s career. The song called out the men on the radio for singing about girls in the passenger seat. Watch the music video for “Girl In a Country Song” below.