A year ago, Caitlin & Will were complete strangers. Now, the duo has taken an unlikely pairing on a music reality show and crafted an album with the kind of artistry and professionalism that usually comes after years of performing together. With the release of Dark Horse, Caitlin & Will are quickly distinguishing themselves as a strong force in country music as they approach the next chapter of their lives. Produced by music veteran Chris Lindsey, Caitlin & Wills much-anticipated Dark Horse is a compelling debut showcasing the duos true staying power.
In the summer of 2008, Caitlin Lynn and Will Snyder, each with their own singing partner in tow, traveled to Nashville in the hopes of becoming country musics newest sensation by auditioning for a brand-new music reality television show. 22-year old Caitlin arrived with her best friend and co-founder of their band, Eighty1South. Will, also 22 years old, entered the competition with his cousin and long-time singing partner, Belvis Morgan, who was 20 years his senior.
Much to their dismay and shock, both original partners were eliminated in the first round. The judgescountry superstar Naomi Judd, acclaimed vocal coach Brett Manning and award-winning songwriter Aimee Mayo next paired Caitlin & Will each with a second partner, both of which were also eliminated.
Caitlin & Will barely knew each other when the judges finally put them together as a duo. "It totally felt like a shotgun wedding at first," Will recalls. "It was so awkward. On the show, emotions were running rampant and crazy. You had so much stress, because you have your original partner who youd prepared with jerked out from under you. And then youre put in a situation where youre teamed up with random partners that you dont know whether or not youre staying together."
"We couldnt get to know each other personally; that took a backseat to our goal," Caitlin says of their partner roulette. "We had to get to know each other musically before anything, because everything happened quickly. The episodes aired every week but within the course of one week, I think we taped about three shows, maybe four. It was fast but we had a good work ethic; we got done what we could in such a short amount of time."
Because of the rollercoaster Caitlin & Will went through with multiple partners, the judges dubbed them the "dark horse" of the show. To their surprise, the unlikely twosome Caitlin, the feisty brunette from Glen Burnie, MD with searing vocals, and Will, the unassuming guitar-slinger and smoky vocalist from London, KY went on to win the competition.
Though the excitement of their win made the duo anxious to rush into the studio, Caitlin & Will deliberately took their time working to develop themselves as a duo, and creating songs that would resonate with others while staying true to themselves."We had to work at it," Caitlin says of the whirlwind process. "The music, the magic with both of us together just came naturally but we definitely had to work with what we were given. It wasnt just two individuals together; we had to become a duo."
After the show ended, the pair was immediately signed to Columbia Nashville and began listening and choosing songs that could potentially be used on the finished record. "Going into the album process, Will and I thought we were rookies and wouldnt be able to contribute. We were just kids from a TV show," Caitlin remembers. "That didnt happen. When we were given songs and we said no, they were thrown out. I was floored at how much input we did have in the entire process."
As their confidence in themselves and each other grew, both Caitlin & Will threw themselves into the creative process in their own individual ways. Working with accomplished songwriter Aimee Mayo, producer/songwriter Chris Lindsey and award-winning songwriter Hillary Lindsey, Caitlin was able to have a hand in co-writing their first single, "Address In The Stars." The touching song about losing a loved one was inspired by Caitlins aunt who passed away after a battle with breast cancer in 2006. "Its hard for me to talk about it sometimes but it was an important thing to get out there because Ive always wanted to write a song about my aunt and the emotions I was feeling," Caitlin says of the process. "Writing the song allowed me to pour my heart."
"Theres a certain level of innocence and gloom," Will says about the poignant song. "Its got a dark side because its about loss, but theres hope in it too, because you know other people have been there. Whenever you get a song that makes you reflect about someone who really meant a lot to you, its powerful."