How To Take Down Bro Country in Six Easy Steps | EW.com

Music

How To Take Down Bro Country in Six Easy Steps

Meet Maddie & Tae, the teen Nashville duo whose hit ''Girl in a Country Song'' awesomely calls out every trucks-and-cutoffs trope in the modern canon; we asked them what it takes to make a viral smash

1. Do Your Homework
”Maddie and I both grew up on ’90s country, so we’re very into those acoustic-driven songs with deep stories and really amazing lyrics,” says Oklahoma native Tae, 18. ”We love Shania Twain, the Dixie Chicks, Lee Ann Womack, Jo Dee Messina, and of course George Strait and Conway Twitty.” (Those last two get a shout-out in ”Girl” for treating ladies with more respect ”back in the old days.”)

2. Go Behind the Scenes (And Get There Early)
”I was 15 and Maddie was 16 when we made our first trip to Nashville together,” Tae explains. ”Seeing the way the people there work and write, it was overwhelming,” Texas-bred Maddie, now 19, adds. ”But it was great. It’s a big city, but it feels like a small town.”

3. Getting Fed Up? Flip the Script
”We were going into a songwriting session, and we had just been in the car listening to country radio like we do every single day because we love these songs,” says Tae. ”We were laughing because all these lyrics were very similar.” So the pair made a checklist of bro-country go-tos: ”There’s always this smoking-hot girl in cutoff jeans with long, tan legs dancing on a tailgate shaking her moneymaker,” says Maddie. ”We were like, ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t think we can live up to those expectations.’ Girls don’t stay that tan unless you’re fakin’ bakin’. And every girl loves a good pair of cutoffs, but not year-round. Give me a break! So Tae and I thought it would be fun to give the girl in these songs a voice.”

4. Fight (Production) Fire with Fire
”We had to be really careful, because we were making such a bold statement and we were poking fun at some of our heroes,” Maddie recalls. ”So we said, ‘You know what? If we’re going to say this, we have got to keep up with what they’re putting out with their production, which is very big and loud.’ Our sound leans more toward the acoustic and the organic, but we knew we couldn’t poke fun at these songs if we couldn’t live up to the production that’s on them.”

5. Cast the Right Video Vixens
In the video for ”Girl,” the roles are reversed and the dudes become the objectified hotties strutting around in cutoffs. ”The guys were such good sports,” says Maddie. ”And so good — they were almost too good. Tae and I were just cracking up. It was funny because the main guy in the overalls, he wasn’t even an actor. He’s just a guy that our director, TK McKamy, was really good friends with, and he had promised to cast him in something. We hope he becomes a star!”

6. Keep Your Head — And Your Hobbies
Even as the song storms up the country charts, Maddie and Tae are continuing to work hard on their debut. But in their downtime? ”We play card games like grandmas,” Maddie admits. ”We like crafting — we fill up little boxes and take them to radio stations to let them get to know us.” And come fall, she’s got her eye on another prize: ”Hunting season starts in November. I got my first buck last year, and I’m hoping to get another one.”