It's safe to say that Shawna and Keifer Thompson aren't going to forget the 2012 Academy of Country Music Awards anytime in their future. The husband-and-wife pair, who perform together as Thompson Square, were presented with a huge surprise the night before the awards--an early announcement that they'd won vocal duo of the year.
Now, not only was this a tremendous achievement in itself (just a year ago, Thompson Square was still in the new artist categories at awards shows), but it marks a milestone for the books. This is the first time since 1991 that a duo other than Brooks & Dunn or Sugarland have won in the ACMs' vocal duo category. (The Dixie Chicks, a trio, won in 1998 and 1999, but the category combined groups as well as duos in that slot at the time.)
The announcement was made on stage Saturday night at the ACMs' Salute to the Military concert, where the couple were playing a free show for military families and country-music fans. We chatted with the band just a few hours before they scored their award--they didn't have solid plans for a celebration in case of a win, but I'm sure they were able to rise to the occasion Saturday night.
Of course, this latest accolade is just yet another whirlwind moment for Thompson Square, who have keeping up with a rocketing rise in their career since signing a record deal a little over two years ago. Their breakout single "Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not" sold more than a million downloads in what seemed like an instant's time, earned the band two Grammy nominations, and placed them squarely into big-time awards-show territory.
"Lately, every day, at some point in the day we look at each other, and say 'Can you really believe this is happening?" Shawna notes, while her husband just grins.
Another seemingly charmed element of Thompson Square is the fact that the young couple have managed to keep their marriage intact for over a decade while working together through a notoriously difficult industry. In fact, the pair will celebrate their 13th anniversary this spring--a relationship which Shawna has described as "love at first sight."
They've also managed to weather family tragedy while juggling their formidable schedule--Shawna's father passed away earlier this year, in the middle of the duo's tour with Lady Antebellum.
So, what is the secret to maintaining such a solid partnership? "It's weird, we don't work at it, we just coexist...and that's just how it works," shrugs Keifer.
"We used to fight more before we got a record deal--and were working jobs we hated," Shawna adds.
Fans who can't get enough of the duo's debut album will be thrilled to hear that they've confirmed a new record is in the works--they're busy writing while out on tour, and will enter the studio "hopefully in April."
- Thompson Square