Honey County’s Dani Rose and Sofie Lynn may not have a major country radio hit just yet, but the act’s music is still reaching plenty of country music fans. Later this month, they will celebrate a fourth sync placement on the hit Paramount series Yellowstone, when their new single “Chess” is featured on the Dec. 26th episode. Yellowstone’s second season featured two Honey County tracks, “Love Someone,” and “Under Your Influence” (featuring Spencer Crandall), while season three featured Honey County’s “Cigarette.”
Lynn notes that while the duo have been made privy to some of the details from the upcoming Yellowstone scene “Chess” will be featured in, she and Rose will have to keep it a secret for now. However, the placement is yet another nod of affirmation for the duo, who co-wrote “Chess” alongside Kalie Shorr and Hillary Reynolds.
“We’re so honored and humbled to have the opportunity, especially as independent artists,” Rose tells Billboard. “We’re the only independent female artists featured that don’t have the normal label support, and all the things that come with signed artists. We’re proud of that, and we want to inspire other female artists to go after what they want.”
Rose and Lynn spoke with Billboard about Honey County’s recent shift from a trio to a duo, the barroom brawl that inspired “Chess,” and their favorite holiday traditions.
What has it been like getting four placements on Yellowstone?
Rose: It’s surreal, honestly. We are honored to be part of literally our favorite TV show right now. We really owe everything to Taylor Sheridan. He created a masterpiece. We loved the show even before we knew we had songs on it. We are so grateful for his team, the music supervisor Andrea Von Foerster and Sabrina Del Priore, the vice president of music and licensing strategy at Viacom, they have been so great.
How did your first Yellowstone placement happen?
Rose: It’s hard to see placements for country music on television. Of course, you had Nashville, which we were super lucky to have a song on the final season of that as well. There are few shows that really showcase country music. Andrea had mentioned to me a couple of years prior to the show happening that Taylor Sheridan had reached out to her and said he was putting together a new show about a ranch and that there would be cowboys and crazy stuff going on. Then she had submitted some of Honey County’s songs to Taylor and he said he wanted to put it in the show.
You both co-wrote “Chess” alongside Kalie Shorr and Hillary Reynolds. How did that song idea come about?
Lynn: There was one night where I was out at a bar and somehow I got caught up in a bar fight that broke out. One black eye later, and with the help of Kalie and Hillary, “Chess” was born. We consider them the “dream team” for Honey County. They wrote on our last single, “Got It From My Mama,” too.
Rose: It’s about female empowerment, and standing up for yourself. It’s saying, “You messed with the wrong girl,” or at least Sofie will know how to handle it.
Lynn: Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.
Where did this incident happen?
Lynn: I was visiting my family back in California. It’s in Big Bear Lake, up in the mountains where we go snowboarding and skiing. It was a bar I happened to stumble into.
In 2019, two former members left the group and Sofie joined to create a duo.
Lynn: We tend to think that us becoming a duo felt kind of like kismet. I came to a show that Dani was playing with the old members of Honey County. I was just jumping into country music at the time and I thought they were so great and wanted to write with them. I hit Dani up on Instagram and she said they were having some changes within the band if I wanted to audition.
Rose: We had a couple of girls audition and when Sofie came over, the first question was, “Can we play and sing together well?” That was an absolute yes. The second step was we need to go to a party because you have to be able to hang with your band members. That was great, and then the pandemic hit.
How did you navigate that as a new duo?
Rose: We could have easily said, “This isn’t happening,” because that period gave us every reason to throw in the towel. Instead, we got to work writing and putting together music, practicing our stage show and playing as many outdoor, open-air venues as we could.
Lynn: As tragic as the pandemic was and has been, it ended up being the best thing for Dani and me, because she moved closer to me, so we were basically the only people we were seeing at the time, other than our significant others. We rehearsed in the little back studio I had and we went from like strangers to sisters in a year. Our writing together just worked; the first song we co-wrote over Zoom was “Got It From My Mama.” We aligned on a lot of things—the way we grew up in life, our values. That made it easy to write about things that matter to us.
Are you in talks to sign with any labels?
Rose: We can’t say what’s happening, but we are excited for what 2022 will bring. Everyone should stay tuned.
When did each of you decide you wanted to pursue music full time?
Lynn: I had spent two years at Baylor University, and my grandma had just passed away and my boyfriend at the time broke up with me. I moved back home to California and channeled all of that emotion into songwriting. It was such a constant in my life. I thought, “This makes me really happy” — and soon after I met Dani.
Rose: I was hosting a music video show on PBS [Strictly Global]. I heard Sarah McLachlan was coming into town for Lilith Fair and I was obsessed with the idea of all these badass females on one bill. I was doing music on the side at the time. I interviewed Sarah, and Missy Higgins was singing in the background. I thought, “I need to do music. That’s my calling.”
What is the last song each of you listened to for fun?
Lynn: “Blue” from LeAnn Rimes. I love it and that whole album is just a classic throwback vibe.
Rose: Tai Verdes, “A-O-K.” It’s funny that Sofie mentions a great country artist, while I mentioned a pop artist and that works because that’s what we blend.
What are your favorite holiday traditions?
Lynn: My family is Polish and we love to keep those traditions. Every year we have this tradition called Lamb Butter, it’s butter that’s shaped like a lamb. We also make pierogi and I make them from scratch.
Rose: Growing up, we would wake up to Kenny G’s holiday album. The whole house would smell like cinnamon, and we would wake up and would hear this really sultry saxophone. My grandpa had this beautiful menorah in the shape of a lion that we used to light for Hanukkah as kids. He’s since passed and my dad gave it to me. Now every time the holidays roll around I think of him!