Melissa Etheridge is eyeing a fourth-quarter release for her next Island album, her first in three years. The set began taking shape around the time Etheridge won the best original song Oscar in Febru

Melissa Etheridge is eyeing a fourth-quarter release for her next Island album, her first in three years. The set began taking shape around the time Etheridge won the best original song Oscar in February for "I Need To Wake Up," from Al Gore's environmental documentary "I Need To Wake Up."

"I was recording my new album in between rehearsing for the Oscars. So I would record for seven hours, go and rehearse for the Oscars, and then come back and record," the artist tells Billboard. "When I won the Oscar, it was a huge honor. It was like a sign saying, 'You're doing the right thing.'"

Etheridge has conquered breast cancer since the release of 2004's "Lucky," an experience that has informed the lyrics for the as-yet-untitled new project.

"When I was on chemotherapy, I listened to all my albums back to back," she says. "It was therapy for me. I realized what I had been saying to myself in my music -- the things that I would put down that I wouldn't think consciously, but I would think subconsciously. When I started creating this album I asked myself, 'What [would happen] if I create from a subconscious level consciously?' There are very personal things on the album, including one of the greatest love songs I have ever written. These songs are 100% truthful about me and how I am feeling."

On Wednesday (April 18), Etheridge will be honored with the ASCAP Founders Award during the 24th annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. The award ceremony is part of ASCAP's "I Create Music Week" to celebrate songwriters and music-makers.

"I have never had an honor like this where folks get up and pay tribute," she says. "It makes me feel like I'm old, but as long as everyone knows I'm at a halfway point, then it's good. I have been on the other side. I have paid tribute to many artists, so it is a big honor."