Thompson Square’s Keifer and Shawna Thompson have accomplished a lot over the years. Along with scoring back-to-back Vocal Duo of the Year trophies at the ACM Awards in 2012-2013, they earned two Grammy nominations for their 2X Platinum breakout hit “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not.” But, no matter how many accolades they receive, the multi-platinum husband-and-wife duo will always consider their adorable son, three-year-old Rigney Cooper, to be their crowning achievement.
That’s why they chose to lead with the song “Masterpiece” as their first single in over three years. Penned solely by Keifer, the tender loving song compares the married couple’s precious child to famous works of art like Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Beethoven’s symphonies. Keifer tells Country Now he wrote the ballad one early morning when he had the word “masterpiece” stuck in his head.
“I couldn’t go back to bed, so I just got up and took my guitar and computer out back and tried to figure out what the word ‘masterpiece’ meant to me. To me, it meant the best thing in my life I wouldn’t ever be able to outdo. That’s the creation of it, and that was easily our son,” Keifer explains. “We’ve won a lot of awards and had a bunch of hits and stuff, but I would trade all of that for him. Life comes into perspective when you have a kid. In our little bubble in the world, I hope the best thing I’m known for is for him. He was definitely the inspiration for the whole thing and, obviously, my marriage to Shawna is the second half of that.”
“Masterpiece” serves as the title track to Thompson Square’s third studio album. The full-length project follows the duo’s two previous Top 5 albums released via BBR Music Group’s Stoney Creek Records. Even though their earlier works performed well, Thomson Square’s shift into the independent spectrum offered them an opportunity to have more creative freedom. Having more control over their music also gave them the edge to be able to draw from their respective musical influences and also build a truly diverse album with some of their favorite producers, including Nathan Chapman (Taylor Swift), Dann Huff (Keith Urban) and Ilya Toshinskiy.
“Choosing the players was great, but more than anything else, choosing the songs and not having someone tell you what you have to record was awesome,” Keifer says. “With all that pressure off of us, we just went into the studio, and had fun and did exactly what we wanted to do.”
“So there’s a lot of rock influence on there, there’s some reggae, there’s ballad country, it’s all over the map, but we just try to stay true to ourselves and not change anything, just create,” he adds of the project, which includes upbeat songs like, “Good Day” and “Up In Smoke” along with emotional numbers like its closing track, “Breakers.”
With such a strong track-list, Thompson Square’s completion of Masterpiece caught the eyes and ears of a new label. In March they began working under Reviver Entertainment Group. They now agree that signing a recording and publishing deal with Reviver is a decision they won’t regret, partly because they’re able to continue focusing on making music that feels and sounds right to them.
“This new label is so behind us on all the creativity that we have going on right now,” Shawna beams.
“It’s a fresh feeling. They loved everything we wanted to do,” Keifer adds with as much enthusiasm as his wife. “I think for us there was more we wanted to accomplish, and you can’t accomplish certain things without the machine. It’s been a while since we’ve had anybody in our corner on the label side. But they’re just great people. They’re super supportive and love what we’re doing.”
With new music, a new label home, an adorable baby boy in tow and even a children’s book out, it’s hard to think that Thompson Square has enough time for anything else. But along with all of their recent undertakings, Keifer has added one more venture to his plate. He’s now testing out a new lane with stand-up comedy. Already, Keifer has hosted comedy shows at various venues, including Nashville’s popular Comedy Night Club, Zanies. He says he became obsessed with comedy as a kid and finally decided to take the leap after his friends and family persuaded him to do so.
“I don’t fancy myself a comic yet. It’s a side passion project. I’m not trying to switch gears from music,” Keifer assures us. “But, we have so many creative outlets in our head, and this is one of those things for me. It’s a way for me to create in a solo form. I want to do it because it’s fun for me. I do take it seriously though, and I have so much appreciation for these guys who have been doing it for 10-13 years. So its a little bit like, ‘I don’t belong with you guys.’ But, they welcomed me into the fold, and it’s been an awesome experience.”
And, although baby Cooper is only a toddler, he could potentially one day follow in his daddy’s footsteps, whether it’s in music or comedy.
“He’s probably going to be an entertainer of some sort. He loves to make you laugh, he likes to sing, he likes to play the drums, he’ll do something or say something and go, “that’s funny,” Shawna shares. “Whatever he decides to do, we’ll support it. We’ve been extra supportive of him. If he wants to come out on stage and get on the microphone, we let him do it.”
For now, the hit-making duo’s adorable human “masterpiece” will have to wait for his turn in the limelight since his superstar parents have plenty more projects ahead.
“We’ve been writing this entire time. We have a bunch of songs. We probably have enough for another record right now,” Keifer admits. “There’s always stuff in the works. This project we’re working on right now has realigned my thinking on albums too… Just writing for a project, and putting an album together and being focused on that. We have a ton of projects, and we’re not going to be bored for a while.”
Thompson Square is currently performing shows across the pond as part of their first-ever international tour. The 10-day trek, which launched in Amsterdam on Sept. 2, sees them crossing through five countries in Europe and the United Kingdom. The trip is expected to wrap with a show in London on September 12.