by Jessica Nicholson
Last year, duo Maddie & Tae earned a Platinum-selling No. 1 hit with the ballad “Die From A Broken Heart.” The song’s vulnerable lyrics of a young woman turning to her mother for comfort and assurance after a bad breakup resonated not only with country fans, but with pop audiences, and the track was recently honored at ASCAP’s 2021 Pop Music Awards virtual ceremony.
“It’s so exciting to have our song heard by all genres,” the duo’s Maddie Font tells CMT. “I love a good heartbreak ballad, and they are few and far between.”
Following that chart-topper, the duo’s new single, “Woman You Got,” is a 180-degree shift from ballad territory. This time, Font and her Maddie & Tae bandmate Taylor Kerr deliver an up-tempo anthem about a woman who may not be perfect, but she’s perfectly devoted to making her romantic relationship go the distance.
“This song is us,” Font tells CMT of the song, which she and Kerr penned with Laura Veltz and Mark Holman. “We started talking about ourselves and things that maybe we aren’t the most proud of at times, but that make us who we are. We just thought there was something so powerful about putting that into a song and wrapping it up with a line like, I’m gonna love you and never stop/and that’s the kind of woman you got.”
They wrote the song in June 2020, while crafting songs for their upcoming third album. Veltz had the idea of making the song “a little self-deprecating, but confident,” Font says. “It was totally a collaborative process. We made a laundry list of flaws, like, ‘I’m not perfect, I’m a perfector’ and ‘Don’t trust me in the kitchen,’ just those types of things if it’s not both of us, it’s one of us, and it fell together to naturally. “
Over the past year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has kept artists off the road, the duo has turned to songwriting and recording as a way of coping with the uncertainty in the world. In October 2020, they also released their first holiday project, We Need Christmas.
Embedded from www.youtube.com.
“Writing really has been such an important outlet for us,” Kerr says. “It was a way for us to make sense of everything we were feeling. I’m glad we’ve been able to keep doing what we love, making music, even though it looked a little different, writing over Zoom and things.”
While Font and Kerr have each had more time to delve into making music during quarantine, they’ve also focused on plenty of non-musical pursuits, like cooking and spending time with their significant others. Maddie married Jonah Font in 2019, while Taylor married Josh Kerr last year.
“I’ve been rocking it, honestly.” Font says of her cooking experiments. “My enchilada recipe is wonderful, my shrimp scampi rocks. My pasta is good, but I have an unfair advantage because my husband’s a chef. He teaches me how to do a lot of that. And Taylor, we’re working on your cookie recipe.”
“We’re working on it,” Kerr adds. “I tried to be spontaneous a couple of months ago and make my husband cookies from stuff I had in the pantry, because people do it all the time and they make it look so dang easy. Well, somehow I got the recipe wrong and the consistency it was runny and they were salty. It was a fail. But you know what? We’re going to try again. We’re going to get it rockin’.”
“Josh won’t even know what hit him,” Font says. “He’s going to propose to you all over again!”
Like every artist and musical group, this duo is eager to return to live performances. In 2019, they opened for Carrie Underwood’s massive Cry Pretty Tour 360. Last year, before the COVID-19 pandemic forced tours to shut down, Maddie & Tae had been set to hit the road with country trio Lady A and Jake Owen, in addition to shows with Avenue Beat.
“We still haven’t gotten to hear ‘Die From A Broken Heart’ sung back to us, so I know this year, or whenever we get to do that, I’m gonna be a hot mess,” Font says.
Maddie & Tae confirm they do have some yet-to-be-announced touring plans in the works, and they are focused on getting road ready.
“We’ve been working out! We’re a little sore,” Kerr says.
“Tae’s been on her elliptical. I started a boot camp class last year,” Font adds. “We’re trying to get those road bodies back because let me tell you, this booty was not looking right during the pandemic. We are getting right and tight again and getting our endurance up again for singing and dancing and performing.”
“You know what I need to start doing? Wearing more heels,” Kerr says. “We were so used to wearing heels every single day that they never bothered us. If I put on a pair of heels now—“
“Oh, girl, my feet would be hurting for a whole week!” Font agrees.
They may not be back on the road just yet, but they have been working on the music video for “Woman You Got.” For the clip, they reunited with TK McKamy, who helmed the video for their 2014 breakthrough hit “Girl in a Country Song.”
Though they can’t reveal too much about the video, Font does offer this teaser: “The wardrobe is insane. Lots of characters. I would say [Legally Blonde character] Elle Woods is a good theme for the video.”