Maddie & Tae Share the Bully Story That Inspired Song From ‘Start Here’
On their debut album Start Here, Maddie & Tae have their “How Do You Like Me Now?” Actually, "Sierra" is more Maddie Marlow’s story, but Tae Dye was instrumental in helping her get over a high school bully that just wouldn’t quit.
“One of my friends transferred schools because this girl was so terrible to her,” Marlow tells Taste of Country. The song is called “Sierra,” and it’s actually about a girl named Sierra. The two were friends in junior high and even on the cheerleading team together.
“And we get to high school and she kind of turns into the Regina George where she thinks she’s the hottest thing and she’s the best,” Marlow explains.
Things reached a breaking point during senior year. The girl organized a group of girls in the lunch room to gang up on the budding country singer. They were relentless, telling her she wasn’t good enough, pretty enough and “I was stupid for trying to be the next Taylor Swift or whatever that means.”
“I went home crying at least once a week because she was just so mean,” Marlow furthers. “I went home bawling that day, picked up my guitar and wrote that first verse."
"I wish I had something nice to say / About that girl and her million-dollar face / But beauty only gets you so far / A heart of pure gold is something very rare / And the only one she has is on that necklace that she wears / Acts like she's some kind of movie star," they sing before the infectious chorus.
Enter Tae and producer Aaron Scherz. The next day in Nashville the group met to write, and Marlow said she needed to get this story out. The first verse was already written. The rest came quickly.
“We write it like so brutally honest, obviously. I mean it has her name in it, for God’s sake.”
In an all-time twist of familiar irony, Sierra and her friends asked for tickets to see the country duo on tour with Dierks Bentley this summer. They joked that maybe they’d give them some, front row, and then play that song to them. In reality, music healed all wounds and Marlow says she holds no grudges.
She’s forgiven, but not forgotten. “That song is for people who are going through that,” Marlow says of the uptempo anti-bully jam. It’s one of the more entertaining songs on Start Here, and like “Girl in a Country Song,” it also cuts like a razorblade.
Start Here will be in stores and at digital retailers on Aug. 28.
Listen to Maddie & Tae, "Sierra"
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