By Aaron Wagner
There’s something just special about the sound of a male and female voice singing harmonies together on a song. Whether it’s a collaboration between Luke Bryan and Kimberly Fairchild or a duo like Sugarland, it’s one of my favorite sounds in country music. One of my favorite male-female duos in country music at the moment is The Dryes.
Husband and wife duo Katelyn and Derek Drye make up the rising country duo The Dryes. Both from their hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina the two were initially solo acts before they were set up on a blind date and as people say…the rest is history.
One of the things I enjoy most about their music is they can do it all. They have the groovy and fun songs like “Marley” and “Amen” that make you want to crank it and jam out. Then they can pull a 180 and put you in an intimate state of mind with beautifully written ballads like “Simple Truth” and “June.”
We chatted with both Katelyn and Derek about how they met, when they realized they would be better playing music together, and their latest single “YES” that was just released on Friday.
Raised On It: Who were the artists that you each grew up listening to that influenced your music and who you are as an artist?
Katelyn: I grew up on Shania, LeAnn Rimes, and Dixie Chicks! Later in high school (and still), I’d drive around in the car listening to Little Big Town, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Miranda Lambert, and Keith Urban. Even Patsy Cline and Johnny & June made the mixtapes! Safe to say we were “raised on it!”
Derek: Honestly, anywhere from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Pearl Jam, to Tim McGraw! I was obsessed with how the blues crossed so many genres, since I played guitar before I started singing.
Raised On It: When did you two meet each other?
Derek: In 2008, our mutual friends set us up on a double date. We talked for 3 hours the night that we met, and the rest was history. I texted my buddy saying “Dude, I don’t know how you knew, but I’m probably gonna marry this girl.”
Katelyn: Yup! I actually texted my friend the same thing…I don’t know how they knew. We dated for 3 years, playing in bars under my name, until Derek started singing songs that we’d written together. We knew the harmony and support thing was cool, but he’s got a great vibe that people need to hear as well.
Raised On It: Did you two always know you wanted to make music together?
Katelyn: We were a month into dating, and the first time we sang together was a pivotal “a-ha” moment. There was a certain comfort and we could guess where each other was going with the melody…and really, we’re better together.
Raised On It: What do you think the benefits have been of working together with your spouse to pursue this music career?
Derek: As an artist, no one cares more than the artist themselves, so it’s definitely a blessing to have someone who cares just as much. It’s great to have each other to bounce ideas off of so it’s not just on one person. This industry is tough enough. Better together is our motto.
Raised On It: What is your songwriting process like? Do you tend to write together or do you venture off separately to be creative?
Katelyn: We do both. But mostly, we write together. I love words and melodies. Derek is so great with an idea of a song and song titles. We love co-writing with other writers in town. It’s like a hang talking about life that turns into a song after a few hours.
Raised On It: Your song “War” has been your biggest success to date. How did that song come to be and how did that change your career?
Katelyn: It’s ironic cause we wrote that song right before going into the studio to record our first project. The write almost didn’t happen. We brought the work tape into the studio to show our band who tracked with us and our steel player said “y’all this one is special.” So we recorded it. The story evolved organically with the music video for it that tells a story of life and fighting for love, honoring Derek’s mom who passed from suicide. It is still on many playlists and people globally listen to it and send us stories about how it has impacted them. That is the true power of a song. Nothing tells it more than a personal story.
Raised On It: Your most recent release is “YES.” What’s the story behind this song and what feelings and emotions do you hope your fans experience when they hear it for the first time?
Derek: I had a dream two years ago the night before our wedding anniversary. In the dream we were on a cruise and we went to a nice dinner. At dinner, Katelyn sat me down and listed reasons why we weren’t supposed to be together. I immediately woke up, rattled by this dream. So I started to jot down a bunch of reasons why we were meant to be together while Katelyn was still asleep next to me. When she woke up I told her about the dream and she said “we need to write a song about it.” We took the idea to the two co-writers and Mia Fieldes said “the title needs to be YES.” So we told the story of our love through the song. After we recored the demo and left, Katelyn had tears in her eyes because we both knew this song was a gift to us. To keep saying YES to each other until we are old and gray.
Katelyn: We believe in real love. Real love ain’t easy, it’s a choice everyday. We believe marriage is sexy and that commitment is sexy. We hope that when our fans listen to it they will feel hope. Who knows, maybe it could help a couple who is struggling or looking for their forever partner.
Raised On It: Lastly, what can fans expect music-wise the rest of 2020 and going into 2021?
Derek: We have a lot of songs that we believe in honestly, and we are going to be releasing anything from a beer-drinking song to more songs like “YES.” I’d say another truthful motto of ours is “Raisin’ beers and hallelujahs,” so we aim to represent that in our releases too!
Katelyn: Couldn’t have said it better. We will continue to do our Monday night livestreams from the living room, which is exactly where we play these unreleased tunes. Join us on our Facebook at 7pm CST! Cheers, y’all!
Fast Money Questions:
Katelyn: Dolly Parton & Little Big Town
Derek: Keith Urban & John Mayer
Katelyn: Miranda Lambert’s “Wildcard”
Derek: Currently, Jake Owen’s “Greetings from…Jake.”
First concert you remember:
Katelyn: Backstreet Boys!
Derek: Dave Matthews Band
Song you wish you wrote:
Katelyn: “The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert
Derek: “Some of It” by Eric Church
Favorite Nashville venue to play:
BOTH: The Basement (OG)