If America as a whole hasn't heard of country duo Thompson Square yet--that certainly changed this week, when American Idol hopeful Scotty McCreery performed a rendition of their hit "Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not" on the show's Top 3 night.
That's not to say Thompson Square--a duo composed of real-life married couple Keifer and Shawna Thompson--is exactly unknown at this point, or anything. The pair, which signed to Stoney Creek Records at the beginning of 2010--landed at the top of the Hot Country Songs chart with the release of their second single (yep, "Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not"). Additionally, that same single recently surpassed the 1 million mark in digital sales--no small feat for an act barely a year and a half into a label deal.
All that official credential-ing aside, the husband and wife Thompson have just celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary. And based on my conversation with Keifer Thompson--he chatted with me while wife Shawna was busy getting ready for their show that evening--the couple's most impressive accomplishment is managing to work creatively together while still cultivating and respecting their marital relationship. (In other words, they're good role models for a kid like Scotty McCreery!) Read on and learn a bit more about these level-headed lovebirds.
Our Country: How do you feel about reaching the milestone of 1 million digital sales of "Kiss Me"--that seems a pretty overwhelming stat achieved in a fairly short amount of time.
Keifer Thompson: It's a crazy thing. We were in Nashville so many years, and you can only hope for something like that. You hope and dream about certain plaques up on the wall, and having your party at BMI and ASCAP and all that. But to see it finally happen...well, I was at a loss for words.
OC: How long have you two been living in Nashville?
KT: Since 1996, so about 15 years.
OC: The obvious question--is it hard working creatively with your spouse? I know many couples who would definitely not be married anymore if they had to work together every single day!
KT: To be honest, it's not all that hard. It just works best for us when we're together--working together, writing together, and everything else. We argue about songs--what's good and what's not--but at the end of the day she knows what I bring to the table and I know what she brings to the table, and we try to respect that.
OC: So you feel that you two are stronger musically together, than you would be as solo artists.
KT: That's essentially why we started Thompson Square. We were like, "you know, let's do this thing together, and if it works, everybody wins. And if it fails, at least we tried."
OC: What happens when you are collaborating on a song and you just can't agree on how it should go, or be arranged, or whatever?
KT: If we can't agree, we just go down a different path and try something new. Because at that point, if you're already arguing about it, it's not going to work anyway.
OC: Man, this sounds so sane and healthy. You guys could be on Dr. Phil giving relationship advice!
KT: Hah. Yeah, well, that's what I'm saying--you just work on it until you both find something you can agree on. You might not record it, but at least you're both satisfied with it. There's those instances too, where one of us kind of held our ground on something. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. We just try to work together on that.
OC: Sounds like good advice for marriage in general. I know sometimes in my own marriage, my husband will insist on something, and I'll say no. But then I give in and I end up liking whatever it was that he insisted on. And he'll be like "Right! That was my idea!"
KT: Yep. It's the same with us...it's the same with us.
OC: Do you and Shawna ever disagree about musical taste? Like, you can't understand why she likes a certain artist, or vice versa?
KT: Nooo...not really. But, when I get into an artist, I tend to immerse myself in them and listen to them like a hundred times over to learn it all. I tend to wear things out. And she'll be like "Oh my God, can we give it a rest already."
OC: What do you personally think is Shawna's strongest artistic talent?
KT: Her singing, definitely. When I first met her, I listened to her sing, and I was like "Holy crap." I was pretty captivated. It's been a real joy for me to be with someone who sings so well.
OC: What would she say is yours?
KT: Shawna, what would you say is my biggest artistic talent? (Pauses) She says songwriting.
OC: Oh, so Shawna is there?
KT: (Laughs) She just popped out of the bathroom for a second.
As always, be sure to: