Story Behind the Song: Thompson Square, ‘Masterpiece’
When Shawna and Keifer Thompson of Thompson Square decided to release their album Masterpiece in 2018, the birth of their son, Rigney Cooper Thompson, was the biggest shift in their lives since their last studio record. It seems only right, then, that the title track of the project would be about the process of becoming parents, and how, despite the duo's many musical achievements, their son is the greatest accomplishment of their lives.
Read on to hear both Shawna and Keifer Thompson's perspectives on writing and recording the song "Masterpiece," and why it still makes them emotional when they perform it today.
Keifer Thompson: The title actually woke me up one morning at about six o'clock. We were at the house, sound asleep. It was weird: I just woke up, and the song was like, "Write me." So I wrote it in my phone and went back to sleep, thinking I'd get to it later, but I just kept thinking about it and thinking about it. I finally got out of bed -- trying not to wake Shawna up, because that's a bad thing -- grabbed my guitar and my computer, and went out by the pool, trying to figure out what it was I wanted to say.
I started thinking about what a masterpiece is, and, to me, a masterpiece is a person's best work, something they'll never be able to top, artist or otherwise. I was thinking about what my masterpiece would be today, and I couldn't think of anything else I've done that's more important than having Cooper, our kid. He's clearly the masterpiece of all masterpieces in our eyes. I started writing down thoughts, making comparisons of what the general public thinks about masterpieces -- the Mona Lisa, that kind of stuff -- and I'm sure those things mean as much to the artists as Cooper does to us.
Shawna got up a few hours later, and she asked me what I was working on. I told her I had written this song and said I'd play it for her, which is always scary for me because I'm just trying to impress her with songs all the time anyway. I hit record on my phone to get a work tape while I played for her.
When I finished, I was a little bit verklempt because I had just written it and it was hot off the press, but I looked up, and she was crying. I was like, "Okay, so you like this one?" She told me she thought it might be the best song I'd ever written by myself, and it ended up being her favorite song on the album. We were going to call the album something else, and then she had an epiphany later on that we had to call the album Masterpiece.
Shawna Thompson: [Keifer] wrote it later in the process, too. We had everything else recorded, I think. Being Cooper's mom, even though I didn't have a hand in writing it, I took a little bit of ownership putting my voice on it.
When we sing it onstage, it's kind of like the first time every time. Some nights we see in each other's eyes that we're really thinking about the lyrics that we're singing, and we'll get emotional. We'll both get verklempt!
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