The shine is still bright on Lady Antebellum's Grammy Award for Best Country Album for 2011's "Own the Night," but the trio is already at work on its follow-up even as it tours to support its third album.
"We probably have at least a dozen songs already, whether they're outside songs or ones we've written," the group's Hillary Scott tells Billboard.com. "Songwriting is such therapy and such a release for us, and it's a way for us to kind of not get caught up in the madness of our schedules. We really do write a lot. Whether we're at home or on the road, we'll find time to write."
But with "Own the Night's" third single, "Dancin' Away With My Heart," currently on the ascent and three other songs being considered to follow it, Scott adds that there's no hurry for Lady A and producer Paul Worley to make the album. "We're going to take our time with this one," Scott says, "because ('Own the Night'), as proud as we are of it, we all feel like we kind of rushed it a little bit. So we're going to just settle in and write and write and write. We may try to go in (to the studio) at some point this year just to try some things, but honestly it's hard to tell. We're going to really wait until we're ready."
Scott acknowledges that she and bandmates Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood were "so shocked" to win the Best Country Album Grammy this year -- which Lady A's "Need You Now" also won in 2011 -- figuring it would go to Taylor Swift or Jason Aldean. "We really were not expecting it," she says. "Honestly, after last year (when the group won five Grammys) we were just thankful to be invited back and to have a nomination. So we were stunned. But we're grateful and appreciative, and it made for a really, really fun night for us."
And the second Grammy in a row also raises the bar for what Lady A does next -- another reason for the group to take its time with the fourth album, Scott says.
"These awards and these accolades really do spur you on and inspire you and make you go, 'OK...we need to work hard and earn it again when the next record comes out and is eligible," she says. "You look at your shelf and go, 'Wow, OK, I need to really be inspired today. Then you get in the writing room and think about...What is us? What songs represent us the most? But we can't over-think it, either. We haven't made it this far by overthinking it. So when we get into those environments, whether in the songwriting room or the recording studio, we just have to let all of that go and really not think so much."
Lady A is thinking mostly about performing these days. The group is in the midst of its first arena headlining tour, with the North American run winding up June 30 at Summerfest in Milwaukee before the trio moves on to Europe in July. After that, Scott says, more dates are "too be determined. We'll slow down a little bit because we're touring so heavy the first half of this year. We have to make sure we don't have cobwebs in the ceilings of our homes and all that." But Lady A is also enjoying the experience of playing to filled arenas.
"It's a lot more of an ordeal," Scott says. "We realize just how expensive this stuff is and how lucky we were before to be opening up for all the headlining artists (Tim McGraw, Martina McBride) who would be so generous with their equipment. Now that we're paying for it, it's like, 'Whoa! They were really nice.' But we just wanted to build a show that made fans feel that we were continuing to grow this relationship with them and give all the fans -- those in the inner circle and those out in the arena -- a really unforgettable experience. We're not going too far outside of who we are, but we take it all up a notch."