The Dryes Get Real About the Hard Times: 'Decided to Lean into the Pain of Everything' (Exclusive)

'The Voice' alums EP 'Dear Heart' is "a chronological story of the last three years of our life," Katelyn Drye tells PEOPLE

  • The Dryes released their new EP, Dear Heart, on Friday

  • The record covers the "chronological story of the last three years of our life," the country duo explain

  • The musicians (and married couple!) were Voice standouts in 2022

When the pieces of the life of The Dryes began crashing down in 2021, the husband/wife country duo did their best to put the sadness aside and keep pushing through.

“I've actually gone through a lot of loss in my life,” says Katelyn Drye in a recent interview with PEOPLE. “I think for many years I would pack it away and only allow myself to be sad for a little bit."

But this time, the sadness stuck around. A pair of treasured friends of the family died suddenly, and Katelyn was left with this overwhelming feeling that she was on the edge of emotionally caving in.

“It's the first time that I decided to lean into the pain of everything I've gone through in my life,” she says. “To be honest, there was days where I would wake up and immediately be in tears. Everything just felt so sad. I was depressed about the whole thing. It was just brutal. Being a performer, it's hard to go through things and be in front of people when you're grieving. But that was the first year that I made the decision to deal with it."

<p>Sean Hagwell</p> The Dryes

Sean Hagwell

The Dryes

Related: The Dryes Sing of Unanswered Prayers and Unconditional Love on New Single 'Mama's Do' (Exclusive)

Being forced to "deal with it" eventually resulted in the creation of perhaps The Dryes’ strongest body of work. The duo’s six-track EP Dear Heart is an ethereal trip of emotions that that seems to go from dark to light as one listens to them.

“It's a chronological story of the last three years of our life,” says Katelyn, who enjoyed a successful run alongside duo partner and husband Derek Drye back in 2022 on The Voice and have been in big touring demand ever since. “When you go through hard things like that, you just see things differently and everything changes. You begin to evolve in a beautiful way.”

<p>Sean Hagwell</p> The Dryes' Dear Heart

Sean Hagwell

The Dryes' Dear Heart

Indeed, this pain and these changes also provided the cracks in which some of The Dryes’ most touching creativity shone through, especially on the breathtaking song “A Little Longer.”

“We've written those out of a lot of hard and trying times, but there's something beautiful about it,” says Derek Drye about the duo’s current single released back in February written by The Dryes along with Mia Fieldes and David Leonard.

Certainly, it was Derek that found himself doing his best to not only being a compassionate partner in the writing room, but a compassionate partner back at their enchanting home in Whites Creek, Tennessee.

“It's just hard to know how to let feelings breathe,” says Derek, who lost his mother at a young age. “But when you figure out how to give someone space and just sit in that space with them, I think it takes the pressure off. You learn how to grow together.”

Related: Country Duo The Dryes Find a Song — and a Home! — in 'Whites Creek': 'We Have Roots Now'

<p>Sean Hagwell</p> The Dryes

Sean Hagwell

The Dryes

This growth can certainly be heard all over the EP Dear Heart that concludes with hopeful and brighter songs such as  “I Believe” and “Beauty Queen,” the latter premiering exclusively on PEOPLE.

“I think when you're going through hard things or when you're healing from something, it's easier to find the flaws in yourself,” says Katelyn of the song she wrote during a writer’s retreat in North Carolina alongside Michael Farren.

“Creating songs like ‘Beauty Queen’ felt like it was almost the reward for dealing with the pain for the first time. These songs were supposed to be written then. There is hope when you go through hard things." She pauses. "Me and Derek choose each other every day despite the hard times. Those are the things that we live for.”

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Read the original article on People.