The Darlins; Nashville’s Fastest Rising Duo Creating Music with the Hit Makers

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Jude Toy and Erinn Bates are “The Darlins” one of Nashville's most popular duo's they are quickly rising in the music industry. They share a common goal; to write and perform the next series of number one hit's in country music. Over the course of the last few months Jude and Erinn have been involved in some serious song writing with several of Nashville's heavy hitters. Maybe some of these names will pop out at you. Tia Sillers who wrote “I Hope You Dance” recorded by Lee Ann Womack and “There's Your Trouble” by the Dixie Chicks….The Darlin's are proving time and time again that they are serious about not only the “music” but the “story” that the music tells.

In the first installment of a two part candid interview with Jude and Erinn we touched on a little more of the personal side of being a singer/songwriter in such a huge industry and about what matters most as well as what's closest to their heart.

NMG: Who are/or what has been your biggest musical influence?

 Jude: I would have to say my mom was my biggest influence initially. She was a concert pianist, she practiced for hours while I was growing up. I really had a good example of great composers and melodies. Mozart and Beethoven especially and Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Willy Nelson, and Hank Williams were also great influences; and also my high school teacher, who taught me the value of a great song, and the power of a great lyrics. He was the first person to take a major interest in me as a writer.

Erinn: For me personally, my biggest influences in this career have been the incredible hit writers in this town. I thoroughly try to learn from every co-writer and from each song that grabs me.

The next perfect collaboration for the Darlins is writing with Tony Mullins who wrote “Me and My Gang” Rascal Flatts, “How Forever Feels” Kenny Chesney…

NMG: What experiences, if any, influence your music and the lyrics you write?

Jude: I would say that you write what you know and I do feel that love has always been a motivating factor in my writing.

Erinn: As a songwriter, it is true that you should write what you know. Every substantial relationship I ever had has a song about it. Negative and positive.

NMG: Is there a famous song that you wish you had written and if so which one is it and why?

Jude: I wish I would have written “Crazy” Willy Nelson because it's just such a great song, and no matter how much time goes by it remains classic, or “Hey Jude” for obvious reasons. Lol

Erinn: I wish I wrote “I Hope You Dance”. There's not another song out there that hits me harder. It really has helped me through tough times.

NMG: How do you balance being an entertainer and a business woman?

Jude: I feel like I am constantly working and I am grateful to have Erinn to balance me out. We share much of the work that needs to be done and between the two of us we get a lot accomplished. It also helps so much to have a partner with such a great work ethic.

 Erinn: It's tough even this early in the game. Keeping a plan and following through on it is key. That's why I'm glad we are a duo! We help each-other try to balance both.

NMG: What's your favorite non-country song and why?

Jude: “I Can Only Imagine” It's beautiful and moving, I love the way it makes me feel.

Erinn: My favorite non-country song is Don Henley's Boys of Summer. Everything about it is perfect to me. Nobody has written about Summer love and pining for someone better.

NMG: Tell me about what feeds your writing fix?

Jude: I am inspired by melody, and it's most likely my biggest strength. I play around my guitar and it's so fun for me to come up with different ideas. I am also inspired by the incredible talent that surrounds us in our writing appointments. We are really blessed to be working with such amazing folks.

Erinn: The constant need to always write the best song and the desire to make it greater than the one before definitely feeds the fix.

NMG: Who are some of the top song writers you have been writing with?

Jude: Well, I would have to say Tony Mullins, Brian White, and Tia Sillars. I also really feel like you can write with people you really believe in, people that don't have big hits but have such inspiring ideas and amazing talent that you know you can get something really great. An example of this would be Jaron Boyer. He is incredible and although a total pain in the ass, his talent is just unreal.

Erinn: Jude and I write a lot together and on our own, but the top five for me have definitely been Brian White, Kostas, Tia Sillers, Steve Pasch, and Max T. Barnes.

NMG: Who is the most famous song writer you would love to collaborate with and why?

 Jude: I would love to write with Victoria Shaw because she is just so cool!

Erinn: I think the most famous we should collaborate with would be Dolly Parton. Both of us being from Tennessee, I have always felt a connection with her songs and her voice. That writing appointment would be incredible. We'd probably talk makeup, high heels, and hair for half of it!

There's no doubt that Jude and Erinn are enjoying all the cool and exciting things happening for “The Darlins” and that the future holds unlimited possibilities. Check out “The Darlings” at for all the latest news, show's, and appearances in your area and check back with us here at Nashville's Music City Guide for the second installment of our interview with Jude Toy and Erinn Bates, “The Darlins”……….

About Sherryl Craig 410 Articles
Sherryl is a Senior Writer and Assistant Editor with Nashville Music Guide and her blog, Lyrics N Legends has been featured since 2012. Her articles has graced the cover and have appeared as feature stories in the NMG print edition. She is also a member of WMMW, Women of Music Music of Women, a non-profit organization in support of women in the music industry. WMMW also appears here in Nashville Music Guide.