On Sunday night, the popular American country music duo Thompson Square, composed of husband and wife Keifer and Shawna Thompson, performed to a sold-out audience in the Aebersold Student Recreation Center at Slippery Rock University.
With the recent release of their sophomore album Just Feels Good in late March, Thompson Square performed new songs from the album for SRU, including the No. 1 hit off the album “If I Didn’t Have You”, as well as popular songs from their first album, Thompson Square.
The duo released their self-titled first album back in January 2011, featuring the No. 1 double-platinum-selling single “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not”, which swept the Vocal Duo Awards at the CMA, ACM, CMT, ACA award shows and earned them two Grammy nominations. The album also included the hits “I Got You” and “Glass”.
Although Thompson Square loved their first album for breaking them onto the country music scene, they say the second album is a stronger representation of who they are.
“The writing for the new album, Just Feels Good, was pinpoint. We just wanted to tell our story,” Keifer said.
“If you sequence the new album in a certain way, it’s our story from when we met up until the success we experience now,” Shawna added. “We honestly didn’t plan it that way. It was completely by accident. We just sat down after we finished and were like ‘Oh my gosh, we just wrote about our life’. This album is much more ‘us’ than the first one. It’s us as artists, as individuals, and as a married couple.”
While many celebrities try to keep their personal lives out of the public’s watchful eye, Thompson Square doesn’t try to hide their personal, yet professional relationship at all.
The couple, who worked as separate solo artists before meeting at a singing competition in Nashville in 1996, is approaching their 14-year anniversary this month.
“As soon as he walked into the Nashville Nightlife that night, I could just tell that there was something special about him,” Shawna said.
“I felt like we were going to be friends.”
After Shawna beat Keifer pretty badly in a game of billiards that night, the two have been inseparable ever since.
Keifer laughed as he said the two of them have been apart for maybe 10 days at the most.
“We’ve always worked together. I don’t know if it could work any other way,” Shawna said.
Spending most of their time on the road traveling from show to show can be stressful for the couple, but they definitely enjoy spending time together.
“Touring and performing gets crazy, but we love traveling together. It’s almost like we’re on vacation every day, except we have a tour bus” Shawna said.
Like any couple, the Thompsons have their disagreements.
“We definitely fight and bicker like every other couple, in fact, we had a good fight today. I won!” Shawna laughed.
“You just gotta know when to let go, which isn’t the easiest thing,” Keifer smirked at Shawna. “I admitted I was an asshole today.”
When it comes to inspirations, both Keifer and Shawna thanked their parents for always supporting all them and helping them get into music at a young age.
Shawna also talked about her long-time role model, country superstar, Reba McEntire.
“I thought she hung the sun and the moon,” Shawna said with starry eyes. “After the ACM win this year, she grabbed me and gave me a big hug.
The whole time I was freaking out because Reba McEntire was hugging me! I really have loved her since I was a little girl.”
In April, the duo won the Academy of Country Music Vocal Duo of the Year honors for the second consecutive year.
“Winning the ACMs the first time was amazing,” Shawna said.
“It came at a time when we really needed some good in our life. My dad had just passed away and it was hard on both of us. But winning the second one made us feel like we’re a part of the country music family. It really solidified that and meant a lot to us.”
In the next five years, Thompson Square says they definitely have plans to move up in their career and try new things.
“Headlining is definitely our main goal. That’s every artist’s dream,” Kiefer said with a smile as he reached for Shawna’s hand.
“And of course, we want to make great records and continue having as much fun as possible.”