"It was one of the first songs we wrote during the quarantine," Katelyn Drye tells PEOPLE. "Honestly, we have seen the power of speaking things out before they happen"

By Tricia Despres
April 30, 2021 07:00 PM
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Derek Drye was 30 years old when he remembers hearing his mother's voice for the very first time.

"I found these videotapes of my mom that I didn't know existed," the North Carolina native quietly tells PEOPLE about the memories he discovered back in 2018 of his late mother, who died by suicide when he was just a baby. "I had seen pictures and stuff, but I had never heard that Carolina drawl that she had, until I pressed play."

It's a sad fact within what has turned out to be a somewhat sublime life for Drye who, alongside wife Katelyn, have made a career of taking the ups and downs of everyday life and putting them into songs as the country duo known as The Dryes.

"Anything we go through in life is not just for us," explains Katelyn in a recent interview with PEOPLE. "We take those painful moments and put them in a song to hopefully inspire someone else going through the same thing. That's what we did on our single 'War' a few years back. We took the heartache Derek obviously still felt over the loss of his mom and in doing so, it was like a rebirth for him, and in a way, for the both of us."

The Dryes
Katelyn and Derek Drye
| Credit: Sean Hagwell

The couple, who are celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary this year, is once again experiencing yet another rebirth as of late, as they have traded in their time living in a constant string of apartments in favor of a one-acre plot of land in Whites Creek, Tennessee, a quiet neighborhood north of Nashville that they fell in love with last year.

"During quarantine, we were living in a one-bedroom, one-bathroom, no backyard apartment," says Katelyn, who alongside her husband released The Dryes debut EP, Vol. 1, back in 2018. "We're from North Carolina, so it's in our roots to be in the country alongside the hills and the creeks. It's been a slice of heaven in such a crazy year."

The Dryes
The Dryes
| Credit: Sean Hagwell

Naturally, it's this place of solitude that ended up serving as the inspiration and the foundation of The Dryes' new single "Whites Creek," an emotionally soothing song that Derek and Katelyn co-wrote alongside fellow songwriter Sarah Reeves.

"Every morning, I wake up and I can't believe we have a house in Whites Creek," explains Katelyn. "We have a front porch and a back porch and it's just a whole new world for us."

Indeed, the circumstances leading to The Dryes' sweet new residence seems touched by a higher power, as the song itself was written before the couple ever decided to live in Whites Creek.

"It was one of the first songs we wrote during the quarantine," reflects Katelyn. "Honestly, we have seen the power of speaking things out before they happen. There is a lot of power in our words and what we speak. So, we were just like, 'Let's write a song about where we find peace and where we find God.' People can find God in so many places."

Coincidentally, in February of this year, as the country duo went into the studio to record "Whites Creek," they were given the news that they were approved for their loan, and the home they had envisioned was finally theirs. Understandably, the fact that they were able to pull this off in the depths of a pandemic is downright impressive, as Derek and Katelyn are the first to admit that they used the donations fans sent in during their livestream performances over quarantine to help them get the loan in the first place.

"At its core, this song is basically about hoping for something, and believing that it will happen," says Katelyn. "Things can and will happen for them."

The Dryes
Katelyn and Derek Drye
| Credit: Sean Hagwell

And for The Dryes, this place of solitude that they now call home will be marked by much more than a song as the years go by.

"We have roots now," concludes Katelyn. "We will have kids here and we will write songs here. This is where we will start a new chapter. All that happened surrounding Derek's mom's suicide will not be a thing in our family. We will always love one another here. We will always have something to fight for."

"We are all here to leave a fingerprint in the world that needs more relatability than division," Derek concludes. "The power of music can do just that."

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.