"We wrote a song about ourselves that felt confident and self-deprecating at the same time," the country duo tells PEOPLE. "It's telling our husbands that we are grateful for you, but this is what you signed up for"

By Tricia Despres
April 30, 2021 06:40 PM
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Mere days before the Academy of Country Music Awards, the ACM duo of the year nominees Maddie & Tae were already planning their concession speech.

"I don't think it's going to happen this year," Maddie Marlow Font, 25, admitted to PEOPLE a few weeks back. "Dan + Shay had a big year, so I bet they will win."

And they did.

"But next year, they are going to need to move over because we are coming in hot," she says — and it doesn't sound like a joke. "It's going to be our lucky number seven — we are claiming it!"

The proud Texan refers to the fact that while she and 25-year-old duo partner Taylor Dye Kerr have been nominated for the honor six times, the multi-platinum-selling country duo have never come away with a win, despite impressive accomplishments such as their chart-topping smash "Die from a Broken Heart" from their critically acclaimed sophomore album The Way It Feels. (Earlier this week, the two were nominated for top country duo/group at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards.)

Maddie and Tae
Maddie Marlow and Taylor Dye
| Credit: Joseph Llanes

Nevertheless, the women don't seem too fazed by it all. As they begin to crawl out of the cloud that is the pandemic, both Font and Kerr seem a little more confident, a little grittier, a little more prepared to begin placing their stake as the future legends of country music.

Personally, they have also grown by leaps and bounds.

"I adjust to change better than what I have ever given myself credit for," admits Font, who recently took home an ASCAP Pop Music Award as a co-writer on "Die from A Broken Heart". "The last year-and-a-half has shown me that I am mentally stronger than I ever thought I was. I never gave myself credit for that."

"I used to call myself shy a lot," adds Kerr with her own personal revelation. "I used to put pressure on myself in social settings and I realize now how detrimental that was. Calling myself 'shy' was just me being insecure and feeling like I couldn't walk into a room and be myself. When I stopped labeling myself, that is when everything changed. I mean, I'm not shy!"

The two women laugh at the proud proclamation, sounding similar to the girls they once were when they were busy making history as teenagers as only the third female duo in 70 years to top the country airplay charts with their debut single, the No. 1 platinum-selling anthem, "Girl in a Country Song."

But girls they are no more.

Maddie and Tae
Maddie Marlow and Taylor Dye
| Credit: Joseph Llanes

Having both married their significant others in recent years and now partaking in adult activities such as "applying for home loans," Maddie & Tae now seem to exude a more mature, yet still sassy, sound, heard loud and clear on their new single "Woman You Got."

"We kind of paid homage to the writing of 'Girl in a Country Song' because we literally listed out all the things, you know?" Font says of the fresh new song she co-wrote alongside Kerr, Laura Veltz and Mark Holman. "Believe it or not, it was one of the easiest songs to write because it is one of our most autobiographical songs we have ever written. We wrote down all of our quirks that our respective husbands now have to deal with."

"We had so many that we had to cut back," adds Kerr with a laugh. "There were a ton that didn't make the cut. We could have gone on and on."

Indeed, the downtime offered up by the pandemic allowed ample time for the two to spend with their significant others, often exposing some of those sweet quirks that their respective loves might have missed while they were out on the road for so many years.

"Basically, we were writing about our husbands, and how we know we're a lot to handle," laughs Font, who dated her now-husband Jonah for 11 years before marrying him in November of 2019. "We didn't mean to, but we wrote a song about ourselves that felt confident and self-deprecating at the same time. It's telling our husbands that we are grateful for you, but this is the woman you got. This is what you signed up for."

"You chose me," adds Kerr, who married fellow songwriter Josh Kerr in February of 2020. "I always tell him to just remember that."

Of course, the guys have their quirks too.

"I always knew Jonah had a bit of germaphobia, but it's been on a different level as on late," emphatically explains Font. "As a little kid that he had a problem with germs, but the pandemic was definitely his worst nightmare."

"Josh says he doesn't know how to do laundry, but I think he's lying," jokingly adds Kerr.

And as Maddie & Tae once again laugh at the mere thought, make no mistake. "Woman You Got" may be one of the lighter pieces one will hear off of their forthcoming third studio album, as both singers admit that the past couple of years has brought some things to the surface — topics that are ultimately finding their way to the writing room.

"''Woman You Got' is just scratching the surface of what you are going to hear on the third album," says Font, who alongside her bandmate wrote 57 songs over quarantine. "We have learned so much and experienced so much in our life, and with that has come a lot of self-awareness. So, there are parts of the album where we go very deep, in terms of topics and from a lyrical point of view."

"Emotions and feelings were coming up for us that we were able to turn into lyrics, which was really cool," concludes Kerr. "The time gave us a chance to dig deeper into ourselves, and you are going to hear that."