Thompson Square's Shawna Thompson Goes Solo with 'Burn It Down': 'It's Been a Long Time Coming' (Exclusive)

The singer-songwriter's debut single — and upcoming album — is produced by husband and duo partner Keifer

  • Shawna Thompson is going solo with her debut single and upcoming album

  • Her Thompson Square duo partner (and husband!) Keifer produced the record

  • "This is the album I wanted to make when I moved to Nashville in 1996," the singer-songwriter tells PEOPLE

There is a familiarity in the luscious tone of Shawna Thompson. And while many might assume that familiarity is a result of the time she spends as one of the two voices that make up the collective sound of country duo Thompson Square, there might be something else in play.

Perhaps, Thompson’s sole voice reminds us of the country music of old.

"I want people to remember what country music is," says Thompson, 46, in a recent interview with PEOPLE. "I want them to remember the songs that they heard their parents playing around the house. That's what I wanted to do. It's almost like going back in the time machine."

And it's a trip fans will soon take right along with her on her debut solo country album Lean on Neon, set for release via the legendary Sun Records on Sept. 13.

"This is the album I wanted to make when I moved to Nashville in 1996," she says of the project that has been finished since 2019. "This is the artist that I wanted to be, and of course, then I met [husband and Thompson Square partner] Keifer and all that kind of went out the window."

<p>Ford Fairchild</p> Shawna Thompson

Ford Fairchild

Shawna Thompson

She lets out a laugh, quick to interject that she wouldn’t want it any other way, as Thompson Square remains one of the genre’s most successful duos with numerous No. 1 hits such "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not" and "If I Didn't Have You."

"It's been a long time coming for me to be able to show people the type of artist that I am and the kind of music that I adore with every ounce of my being," says the Alabama native. "It was just so cool to be able to make the music that I wanted to make."

Related: Thompson Square Ready to Return to the Road Following Shawna Thompson's Recovery from Back Injury

Indeed, Lean on Neon has long lived in Thompson’s heart as an album she not only needed the world to hear, but an album filled with songs that she needed to hear just as much.

"What this whole thing is… therapy," she explains. "I love what we've done [as Thompson Square], but it wasn't what is my heart. The whole reason, honestly, why we made this album is because of my dad and me trying to feel closer to him."

<p>Sun Records</p> Shawna Thompson's Lean on Neon

Sun Records

Shawna Thompson's Lean on Neon

Thompson's dad "Mickey" Mcllwain died in 2012 after fighting colon cancer. He was just 62 years old at the time of his death.

"My dad's the one that turned me on to country music, and we played music together when I was growing up," she continues. "I mean, since I was like 8 years old, we were singing honkytonks. It was just something that I had to get out."

Nevertheless, Thompson knew that the project would need her husband on it in one way or another. "Keifer is at the heart of this thing as well," she says of the album recorded within the anointed walls of Southern Ground studios in Nashville. "He produced it, and when we started talking about doing it, I knew there's nobody that knows my voice better than him."

<p>Ford Fairchild</p> Shawna Thompson

Ford Fairchild

Shawna Thompson

Related: Whatever You Do, Don't Ask Country Duo Thompson Square Where They've Been: 'We Never Stopped'

"Shawna is an extremely underrated singer in Nashville," Keifer, 51, interjects during the PEOPLE interview. "She's a much better singer than I am. When it came down to this record, I wanted this for her probably as much or more than she did. And that's saying a lot because this is her lifelong dream. I'm prouder of this album and her than anything that I've ever done with Thompson Square personally."

It's big words for an album that is not even out yet, but an album that will begin to sonically drip out in the coming months, with PEOPLE exclusively premiering the album’s fiery first single "Burn It Down."

"It's got a little angst to it," Shawna chuckles of the song she wrote alongside Keifer Thompson, Paul Jenkins and Rob Hatch. "We really needed something that was very Waylon. And I like to have a good time and party with the boys. I think it's got that all over it, and it just sets up the whole retro vibe of the album."

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Read the original article on People.