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When you look at CMA Award-winning country duo Maddie & Tae, you probably see what we see: two beautiful, young, talented, happy, bright and optimistic young women destined for greatness with each step they take.

Which they are to the core—but that doesn’t mean that they don’t occassionally struggle with feelings of doubt and worthlessness just like the rest of us do sometimes.

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The road to success can be bumpy, and the girls recently revealed that 2017 was full of unexpected professional and personal trials for them.

In a refreshingly honest YouTube video message to their fans, both Maddie Marlow and Taylor “Tae” Dye took turns addressing the camera without the other present. Each shared with fans the truth about their year in 2017 and their plans for the future.

And what they shared is nothing short of inspirational.

In the video, titled “New Years Recap,” the girls talk about how they set a plan for 2017 at the end of 2016 to make it a year of growth and exploration for them.

“We decided to call 2017 ‘The year of uncomfortability,’” Tae said in the video. “We wanted to intentionally make ourselves uncomfortable. We wanted to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones.”

As part of that, Tae — who has gone from blonde to brunette since we’ve last seen her — says the duo best known for their tongue in cheek 2014 hit “Girl In A Country Song,” set out to write about things that they’d never written about before and really push themselves in new directions in the hope of finding musical magic.

All was going well and according to plan until February when they were hit with life-changing news.

Their label, Dot Records, was shutting down. And for the first time, the duo wondered if this would be the end of their musical journey. Other Dot acts were reassigned within parent company Big Machine Label Group, but Maddie & Tae were not.

“It was pretty scary, I’m not gonna lie,” Tae said. “Maddie and I definitely had those moments of fear taking over us.”

Maddie admits she took the news very hard, and was riddled with questions and heartbreak.

“At the time I was like, ‘Why is the happening?’” she said, admitting to thinking, “Our career is over, we’re never going to get to put out a new album, we’re going to disappoint our fans. I felt horrible.”

They were worried that they wouldn’t get another record deal. And even if they did get another deal, it would only further delay the process of moving forward with their careers.

But things turned around for the duo. Powerhouse label Universal Music Group Nashville picked them up and set the wheels in motion for the next phase of Maddie & Tae. For the girls, this was the best news they could ever hope to get.

“I have never been more sure that God is real and that God has a perfect plan for me and for everyone,” Maddie said.

That wasn’t always the case, however. In the gap between labels. Maddie revealed that she struggled to understand the purpose behind all the changes and her own place in the world.

“We talk about God and our faith a lot,” Maddie said. “God has a purpose for all pain. If I’m being honest, I went through a really tough depression after the label thing happened. I kind of always was the person that had a plan, had it figured out, I’ve never kind of been dropped on my ass before. That was really hard. My self-worth was tied into it, my purpose—everything. I learned now: I truly look in the mirror and love who I am today because of the pain I had to go through to get here.

“God always has a purpose,” she continued. “If you’re going through a hard time and something isn’t going your way, there is a purpose. There is a reason. He is building your character every day. I’m not going to allow my trials to defeat me. I’m going to let them build me up, and learn from them and take as much wisdom as I can from each trial.”

There is such wisdom for all of us in that statement.

The biggest lesson she learned in 2017: “Do the best with what you have, with where you are. Me and Tae have definitely learned how to make lemonade out of lemons,” she said.

As for Tae’s feelings on the next musical chapter of Maddie & Tae—well, like Maddie, she’s over the moon about what’s to come.

“It’s the best thing ever,” Tae says. “We absolutely are in love with our label. We just wish you guys knew how excited and happy and free and fulfilled Maddie and I feel in our lives right now with our career.”

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We hope we’ll get to hear some of the fruits of their labor very soon.

Maddie told Rare Country’s Hunter Kelly during last November’s BMI Country Awards in Nashville that the two were heading into the studio in the coming weeks—which means by now, they’ve definitely started putting album No. 2 together!

Tae is thrilled, and told Rare that night, “We’re where we’re meant to be. This place is awesome for us.”

As for the coming year, the two have big plans and dreams, and we can’t wait to see them soar as they conquer their goals together.

Samantha Stephens absolutely lives for music. When she's not making it, she's talking or writing about it. She's worked in all arenas of the country music world for nearly a decade, from syndicated radio and television to print journalism. She's even been known to crash a red carpet or two, true story.
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