Joseph Llanes Maddie Marlow Font and Taylor Dye Kerr
Maddie & Tae's Maddie Marlow Font is a tad stressed out at the moment.
"I keep looking up and I'm like, 'Why don't I feel like myself?'" says Font, 26, during a revealing interview with PEOPLE. "Why do I feel sad? Why do I feel like I'm in a funk? And then I'm like, 'Oh, that's because there's a lot going on."
The Sugar Land, Texas, native lets out a slight laugh, as if to mask the uneasiness that, she admits, always hides just underneath the surface. But there is no doubt that Font has had a crazy few months on top of a crazy few years, with things getting a tad crazier since the moment the phone rang in the Nashville home she shares with husband Jonah.
"We were literally getting ready for our band and crew Christmas party," Font remembers of the fateful evening of Dec. 15. "My husband is a chef and right when he was about to put this beautiful prime rib in the oven, the phone rang. She told me that the doctors had seen something alarming with the baby and they wanted to rush her to the hospital."
Maddie & Tae
The 'she' Font speaks of is her best friend and Maddie & Tae bandmate Taylor Dye Kerr, who was pregnant with her first child and soon to be admitted to the hospital on strict bed rest. Suddenly, the tour that the seven-time CMA Awards vocal duo of the year nominees had scheduled for the early part of 2022 had to be rescheduled, and Font suddenly found herself feeling very "on her own" for the first time in a professional career that began when the two were just teenagers.
"Just the way that Tae handles life's hardest situations with so much grace is just baffling," says Font, who spent countless hours on the phone with Kerr and her husband Josh getting updates from the hospital. "Ever since we were 15 years old, that woman has done that. And it's just beautiful to watch her. She's a champ. But yes, there were many a day where she and I were just on FaceTime bawling."
Though the baby was not due until early April, Kerr delivered 2 lbs., 5 oz. daughter Leighton Grace on Jan. 17.
"There's definitely been blessings through the madness," says Font, who alongside Kerr, broke out of the country gate with the spicy "Girl In a Country Song" back in 2014. "I think I jinxed us by naming the album Through the Madness because now, it has been pure madness."
But through the madness was in fact their new record Through the Madness, Vol. 1, which has already seen much love from fans via the touching "Strangers" to the radio single "Woman You Got" to perhaps, one of their very best songs ever titled "Madness."
"We try to balance songs in a way that you get to see that we are not these 'serious all the time' girls, but we're not these 'goofy all the time' women either," stresses Font, who alongside Kerr, co-wrote all eight songs on the project. "We have so many layers and so many different sides of us. Whenever we're writing, we always try to showcase an authentic part of us, whether the song more relates to Tae or me."
Take "Strangers" for example, which was written with Font's husband in mind.
"I don't know how it took so long for us to be in each other's lives because we grew up in the same hometown," says Font of the basis of the song that lives on the album that also features collaborations with fellow female powerhouses Morgane Stapleton on the pleading "Don't Make Her Look Dumb" and Lori McKenna on the revealing "The Other Side." "I'm sure Jonah and I crossed paths as kids but had no idea obviously. We just went down this rabbit hole of a conversation about how wild it all is, and we came up with a song."
If all goes to plan, Maddie & Tae will return to the road later this year as headliners on the 2022 CMT Next Women of Country Tour Presents: All Song No Static Tour.
And if things don't go as planned?
"I know in my gut and my heart that no matter what madness ensues, we always make it out on the other side," she says quietly. "We always make it out better and stronger. I know that God's brought me through even harder seasons. And so why would He stop doing that now?"