Thompson Square’s Keifer and Shawna Thompson consider themselves blessed to have lucked out with the parents who raised them.
Keifer’s parents, Darrion and Carrol Thompson, supported him in every function he pursued growing up whether it was sports or music. Shawna’s parents Mickey and Mattie McIlwain have been there for her in every step in life, and she remembers her late father being her No. 1 fan. Carrol passed away in February, and Mickey died in 2012.
“My dad was my heart,” Shawna tells CMT.com. “We were the best of friends and shared our love of music by playing in a couple of different bands together when I was growing up. Both my mom and dad worked super hard to build and manage an outdoor music venue for me to have a place to perform just a short walk up the drive from the house I grew up in. My parents were the best, most supportive parents ever. Whether it was performing on a football field in marching band, ‘trying’ to play high school basketball or acting in a small-town theater production, they were always, always there.”
“[My relationship with my parents] was great,” Keifer says. “They supported me in everything I ever did no matter if it was soccer and we were traveling everywhere of if I was singing they were there.”
The dynamic duo has compiled personal family footage for the new “Masterpiece” lyric video to honor their parents’ contributions and sacrifices they made to give them a beautiful start in life. The heartfelt clip is an artful expression of the love the Thompsons and the McIlwains have shared over three generations. “Masterpiece” was written when Keifer and Shawna’s son, Cooper, was 18 months old.
“For me, it’s always easier to write about things that mean something to me and as far as Cooper being my masterpiece that’s about as personal as it gets,” Keifer explains. “Shawna and I have always had a hand in the ideas for our videos, and this just seemed like a no brainer. We got to talking about using an old 8mm camera, and I was like I have tons of that stuff from when I was a kid that my dad filmed. So, I [we gathered] all the videos up, converted them, and there it was.”
Thompson Square is on tour through November. Enjoy more from the couple’s exclusive Father’s Day Q&A:
Keifer, do you have any stand-out funny stories from your time as a father?
Keifer: Honestly, there are too many to count. He makes me laugh about something every day. He did pee on my face once, which will always stand out a little.
Cooper seems to love the spotlight whenever you bring him out onstage. If he decides he wants to follow in your footsteps and pursue a career in entertainment someday, what kind of advice would you give him?
Keifer: If it’s something he really wants to do, we’ll support him to the fullest, making sure he understands what it takes and what’s at stake. And if he still wants to do it, I’d tell him to be yourself from the beginning and don’t let go of the dream. Work harder than everyone else, and don’t be worried about things where you have no control. Most importantly, have fun, and enjoy the journey. There’s another long list of mistakes I made along the way that I would do my best to make sure he didn’t make, but we’ll leave those out of this list for now.
How has becoming parents to Cooper impacted the way you see the sacrifices your parents made for you?
Shawna: I know now becoming a mother that I would do anything for Cooper. It’s a love that can’t be explained. Coop definitely has his dad’s personality! He never meets a stranger and never stops talking. There are a lot of things I hope Cooper inherits from Keifer. But, his faith In God and love for his family are the ones that really stand out. Not to mention his drive to reach goals and be successful in whatever it is, he decides to do in life.
Keifer: But he’s really sweet like his mama.
You just celebrated your 20th wedding anniversary, correct? Talk about how parenthood made you a tighter couple.
Shawna: We are a T-E-A-M now. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Having a baby solidified our partnership in ways I can’t even express. I loved Keifer like crazy before Cooper. But now it’s love, appreciation and mad respect for the kind of husband and dad he has become.
Sometimes Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and family functions, in general, can be emotionally painful and bittersweet for those who have lost a parent. What’s the best thing to do or say for those facing a Father’s Day without dad?
Shawna: Just remind them to remember all the good times. Dialing up memories and enjoying whatever it might have been that they enjoyed doing with their dad. For me, it’s listening to the music my dad loved or just something as simple as drinking his favorite beer with one of his best friends.