Country Next: The Dryes – Country Now
We take pride in introducing fans to country music’s brightest new stars through our Country Next series. Here, we chat with The Dryes.
The Dryes, made up of Katelyn and Derek Drye, may sound like a familiar name to folks as the married couple recently appeared on Season 22’s The Voice. The husband and wife team from North Carolina, drew attention on the show with their dynamic harmonies, effortless onstage chemistry, and equal talent.
After landing a spot on Team Blake Shelton with their rendition of “Islands In The Stream” – a duet by Dolly Parton and the late Kenny Rogers – The Dryes blew coaches away with covers on Brooks & Dunn’s “Red Dirt Road” and Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd’s “Chasing After You.” Although their journey on The Voice was cut short during the three-way Knockout Rounds, The Dryes continued to take their music to the fans off the show.
Now, The Dryes are gearing up for Christmas with a brand new holiday tune, which they penned with Kelli Johnson. The festive country song titled “Christmas Is Callin’” puts folks into the holiday spirit as The Dryes add a personal touch, singing about the Christmas traditions they love: eating homemade biscuits, reading Bible stories, decking the halls and spending time with family.
“Christmas is one of our favorite times of the year. It’s when we get together with our loved ones and create memories that live on for many years,” Derek shares in a press release. “We wrote this song about those family get-togethers; exchanging gifts, laughing about memories of the past, when Katelyn’s sister got Amy Grant’s Christmas album on Christmas Day in 1992, and it played all morning. It’s those moments that inspired us to write this song.”
“Christmas Is Callin’” follows The Dryes’ ultra-personal single, “House On Fire,” and sets them up to enter 2023 on a high note. The country duo plan to share more music with fans in the coming months.
In the meantime, Country Now caught up with The Dryes to find out more about their recent journey on The Voice, how they met and began a career in country music, and their latest holiday song, “Christmas Is Callin’.”
Read on to learn more about The Dryes in this exclusive Q&A below.
How did you meet and begin a career in country music?
We met through mutual friends who were dating at the time. They told us about each other. So we were kind of on a blind date. We met back in 2008, and we’ve been together for 15 years now. (Katelyn) Back then, my friend who put us together said, ‘I could see you guys getting married and playing music together.’ I thought she was crazy. I was like, ‘I don’t know about that.’ But we ended up meeting in 2008 over Mexican food, and that night, we sat in the parking lot and talked for a couple of hours. That night, when we drove away, I texted my friend and said, ‘I don’t know how you knew, but I’m gonna marry this guy.’ He did the same thing with his buddy Taylor. We dated for about three months before we started to play shows together. We moved to Nashville in 2014, and we’ve been here for about eight years. We started writing a lot and released music for the first time in 2018. It has just been a journey since then.
What led to your opportunity to compete on The Voice?
They have people that recruit in the casting department. They had reached out to us and saw some of our music videos. So they reached out to us to do a private audition. We thought about it and felt like the time was right, especially since we already had music out. We had so much already going for us. So wet felt like the right decision to go with The Voice. We said yes, and the rest was history.
Is there anything that fans didn’t get to see on TV about your experience on the show?
Getting to know the other contestants was probably one of our favorite things. If it weren’t for The Voice, we wouldn’t have met these people from different genres or contestants who were younger than us or older than us. We made many friends and got to enjoy the LA sunshine for a couple of months. On the day of our audition, we were probably on stage talking to the coaches for like 20 minutes. So they do not air everything. The coaches had positive things to say to us during every round. All of the coaches were super kind to us. They complimented our music and who we were as people.
Have you kept in touch with your coach Blake Shelton and if so, has he offered advice as you navigate the next chapter of your music career?
We haven’t spoken to him since we left the knockout round. I know he has reached out to Ole Red because he gave our number to Ole Red in Oklahoma. So there are certain things like that. He has sent a few tweets out, but we haven’t spoken. It’s been a busy season for him. I’m pretty sure we will get in contact with him at a certain point. From what we understand, he is filming, essentially, two seasons at once.
After competing on his team, do you have any thoughts about him retiring from the show after season 23?
My thought is wondering how the show will do without Blake. Being on his team, we both saw such a response from his fans toward us. We have had so many new fans join our social media. They are ‘Team Blake for life’ kind of people, which is amazing. Our thoughts are like, ‘Wow. Is the show going to do well without him?’ He is such a major part of it. So only time will tell. I wonder how country music will be represented. I’m sure they will figure that out. I think it is just one of those things where maybe he has done it for so long that he is ready for something different.
What has been the biggest takeaway with navigating your career since coming off The Voice?
The biggest takeaway I think it’s just to continue to write music and be who we are like the way that God made us I think this world is so full of like you can get so caught up in comparison of like what’s this artist doing and what is that artist doing but I think we both walked away going wow we just want to still keep create music that comes from my heart because life is so short and the biggest take away in a more superficial way would be it with the connections that we made from the shell and keeping that going I think Nashville is so full of opportunity And it’s just amazing opportunity that we had.
You just released ‘Christmas Is Callin’,’ which you wrote with Kelli Johnson. Can you tell me about that song?
Yes. So we actually wrote this song last year around Christmas. We wanted to release it then, but the timing felt off. We were trying to rush it, so we waited another year. Then The Voice happened, but it ended up being perfect timing. After being eliminated from The Voice, we had to wait for a certain time to release music. We thought that releasing a Christmas song would be perfect. So we got new distribution, and the timing was right on all ends. This is the first song that we’ve written and released that was a Christmas song. We have a song out called ‘White Christmas,’ but that song has been around for years. ‘Christmas Is Callin”’ is our spin on what Christmas is to us and all of the little traditional things our families have done through the years that have stuck with us and what we love about the holidays.
What are your holiday plans this year?
Fortunately, we are both from North Carolina, which makes it pretty easy to go back and forth between families. (Derek) One morning I could be eating breakfast with my mama and papa, and the next day, we’re hanging out with her family. But as far as Christmas goes, I usually do a thing on Christmas Eve, and her family does everything on Christmas Day. So it’s easy every year. We also do a big Christmas show in our hometown of North Carolina. This year, we decided to do two shows, and they both sold out in about four days. Tickets went on sale on November 1. So we added a third show, and that sold out. So now, we have three sold-out hometown Christmas shows. We call it Christmas With The Dryes. We have that when we go back to start the holiday, and then it’s Christmas. So, we take some time off to be with family and friends.
Have you thought about releasing a full-length Christmas album?
Oh yes, absolutely. We would love that! (Katelyn) It’s been one of my dreams since I was a little girl to have a full Christmas album with strings and all of the things to do a big Christmas show with a symphony. That would be one of our ultimate dreams and goals.
In early 2022, you released a very personal song called ‘House On Fire.’ What kind of music should fans expect from you in the future?
It’s hard to say what we will release as far as one specific style goes. But I think we like the honky-tonk stuff, but ‘House On Fire,’ that is the other spectrum. So it’s either the fun honky-tonk or, I guess you would say, mature love songs that lend itself toward radio as well. Before The Voice, we had written a lot of songs. So we are sitting on a lot of songs right now that we feel passionate about. So we plan to release more music in January and keep it going. We’ve never done a full-length album, so that is on our to-do list for next year. We don’t have all the details yet, but we have a song. So we’re just trying to decide what the order of all of it is, how we wanna lay these songs out, and what the flow of it all is. But definitely, be prepared for lots of music next year.
As a husband-and-wife duo, do you make all the musical decisions together – especially when it comes to what songs to release?
We make those decisions together since they’re such big decisions. (Derek) But I produce a lot of our stuff. Then, I get Katelyn’s input because I appreciate that. She takes a lot of the creative strategy and that kind of thing, and it’s cool that we have a team that supports us both. That makes a conversation easier, and not everything is on our shoulders.
What has been the easiest part of being a married country music duo, and what has been the toughest?
The best part is having somebody that you can trust. At the end of the day, the artist is the one that wakes up caring about their career because it’s their dream. But there are two of us. So, we both wake up with a similar passion. It’s also the hard part because we are married. We can spend all day working, and it’s hard to shut that off sometimes. We are intentional about having a date night at least once a week, where we try not to talk about music. But it’s hard, especially now since we have been on TV. We have a lot more eyes on us. We have a lot more opinions from people. So it’s difficult to be present with each other sometimes and not take heart to every kind of comment you get. You have to take it with a grain of salt and keep doing your thing and believe in what you’re doing.
As we prepare to close out the year, what goals have you set for 2023?
One of our biggest goals right now is to put out more music. With that, we want to tour a lot more. We’ve had a lot of people listening to our music in different states and asking us to come. So, right now, we’re game planning. We don’t have a booking agent, but we want one to help us navigate that. So look for much more music and just more of what people have heard from us – songs that come from the heart.
Fans can follow The Dryes on Instagram.