Maddie & Tae Validated by CMA Awards Nomination

Maddie & Tae were pleasantly surprised to receive a recent CMA Awards nod for Vocal Duo of the Year. The nomination was a welcome validation for duo members Madison Marlow and Taylor Dye, albeit an unexpected one.

"Being nominated this year, one, we never expected it, obviously," Marlow recently shared with PopCulture.com and other media. "But we really didn't expect it this year just 'cause we just put the first single out ['Friends Don't'], and everything is slowly rolling out. Having that nomination was like, 'Oh wow, our peers do still feel like we're doing something special, and do still believe in us.'"

"That was just a really nice spirit lifter, where we're like, 'Oh my gosh, we are doing something right. We're making music that people are enjoying," she continued. "That was just a huge, huge compliment. And we're nominated with some of our favorite people in the industry."

The news comes after one of the most challenging seasons of both their personal and professional lives, when their record label, Dot Records, unexpectedly closed.

"Last year was a rough one," Marlow admitted to PopCulture.com. "Basically, the label that we had been with for three years shut down. We still don't really know the business side of things, but it just basically shut down. We had made half of an album already, and were ready to put out new music, and so we were kind of in this holding period for a while, trying to figure out, 'Where's the next label home? How can we get our fans new music?'"

"It was rough," she conceded. "Whenever you love what you do, and you're really passionate about it, it's hard to not get too emotional, and just keep the course and stay encouraged."

Maddie & Tae just released "Die From a Broken Heart," their second single from their upcoming, still-untitled sophomore album, and their first for Universal Records.

"We wrote it with Jonathan Singleton and Deric Ruttan, two of our favorite writers in town," Marlow recalled."They have another song on our record too; those are two writers that we really gelled with, because they love writing from a deeper place. So we just really connect with them on that. We walked into the write, and Jonathan actually had the title. We were like, 'How could we approach this? What's the most relatable way that we can make this?'"

"We kind of started talking about what we were going through, because we wrote this right when we were about to start transitioning labels," she continued. "We were still in the in-between, and we were feeling broken, and feeling defeated at this point in our career. Maybe not like relationship, but in our career we were really, really having a hard time."

Maddie & Tae share the Vocal Duo of the Year category with Brothers Osborne, Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line and Sugarland. The 2018 CMA Awards will air live from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Photo Credit: Getty images/Michael Tran