Thomson chats with us about her lengthy hiatus as an artist

On March 15th, Cyndi Thomson released “The Georgia In Me,” her first single as an artist in 23 years. The Georgia native co-wrote the track with Paul Sikes, marking a significant chapter in her artistic journey. The song gives listeners a poignant glimpse into Cyndi’s personal and musical evolution, seamlessly blending her roots and experiences into a soulful narrative with authenticity and emotional resonance.

“‘The Georgia In Me’ I wrote with Paul Sikes and I knew that when you know we started talking about making new music, I was like there has to be a song about Georgia,” she tells The Music Universe. “I live in Tennessee and I raised my family here. This has been home for a while. But, you know, I’m from Georgia. That’s where my roots are planted. That’s where I was born and raised, and it’s still where my family lives. And so for me, there’s still the sense of home. And so for the old fans and the new fans, I wanted to just kind of give an ode to Georgia and just say, ‘Hey, this is where I’m from.’ There was just something about maybe just kind of making a tribute in a way and then, including things like I-75 which is the highway that took me home, back and forth to Nashville to Georgia. And then, of course, the one and only Trisha Yearwood. She was one of the first country artists I ever really saw and was inspired to just make music. There was just something about writing a song about Georgia that mattered to me for this music.”

Thomson abruptly left the recording industry after Capitol Nashville released her debut album, My World, in 2021. The album’s lead single, “What I Really Meant To Say,” hit the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. However, as her fame began to rise, she ultimately decided to step away from her career to address her inner struggles.

“I always dreamed of being a country singer since I was about 12 years old and so having that opportunity to make a record with Capitol Records and write my own record and tell my stories was everything I dreamed of more. In fact, I had no idea that it would turn out the way that it did. And it was such a beautiful ride. It was very fast and explosive. And, there were a lot of things that kind of took me by surprise,” she says.

“I had a great experience at my label. I had a great experience at radio. But for me, it was just hard because, at the height of it all, I was trying to balance being famous and making everyone happy. The life of an artist is hard to explain unless you’re walking in it. There’s no way someone can prepare you for that life. And even though it was a dream come true, I was overwhelmed, and I wasn’t ready in so many ways. And I think back then there wasn’t a lot of talk about mental health or kind of checking in and making sure you’re okay. And so I think for me, the best thing that I did for myself was to step away to preserve music, knowing that I would come back one day. I just didn’t know what it would look like. And so it wasn’t one particular thing that happened… I had major anxiety. I was having night terrors. I was just in this place of chaos and no one would have known it from the outside looking in, but I just knew, ‘Okay, I’ve gotta make a decision here and take inventory of my life, and I love music so much that I’m willing to lay it down for a while to figure this out.’ And so that’s what I did. And in the meantime, you know, I’ve had a family and started my jewelry company, and, it’s just been really a sweet life. There hasn’t been a day that’s gone by that I haven’t thought about singing again, or country music, or the fans, or making music. And on and off throughout the years I’ve written songs and played out here and there — not too much, just still been very quiet.”

She continues, “I’ve learned a lot about myself in this process, and honestly, it was one of the best things I could have ever done. I think the world might have looked at it like I’d lost my mind or couldn’t calculate, ‘How can you walk away from something when it’s doing so well?’
But I really couldn’t think about those things. I had to make a decision for myself. And no one was really involved in that decision, not my husband, not my family. That was just kind of just between me and God. I didn’t want that pressure on anybody to walk me through that.”

She says she was inspired to return to music after a conversation with her dad before he passed away.

“A couple of years ago, my dad passed away. But before he passed, I was sitting with him and we were just talking about life and all that my mom and dad had done [for me]. You know, just sharing with him how thankful I was that they had sold a car that could follow my dreams, and they just really encouraged me to go for the country music career. And, I was just kind of talking with him about that, and he passed that night and I just kept thinking about I didn’t play the Opry again. I wanted to make a record. So I drove around the next day throughout my hometown and I just was, like, you know, ‘God, I wanna make a record. I want to make a country record and I’m tired of talking about it, thinking about it. I’m just gonna do it.’ And as soon as I kind of made that agreement with myself, all the stars aligned, and everything began to fall into place, almost like I wasn’t even doing it,” she shares.

“The Georgia in Me” is the first taste of new music from Thomson fans can expect this year. She and co-writer (and My World producer) Tommy Lee James began working on the new project together after reconnecting recently.

“[Tommy] lived in Charleston and lives there now, and we had gone for Spring Break, and I was like, ‘Hey, do you wanna get together for coffee?’ And I didn’t know this was gonna happen, but we were just at his house [with my kids and husband] and his wife and daughters, and I just said, ‘Hey, do you wanna go sing in the other room?’ And so we started singing ‘What I Really Meant to Say,’ and then we sang ‘Life Ain’t Always Beautiful,’ which we wrote for Gary Allen, and I just looked at him and said, ‘Do you wanna help me write a record?’ And he said, ‘Absolutely.’ That was on a Friday. On Monday, he was in Nashville. He flew here and we just started writing this music, so when I tell you, this has been so fast it really has. I mean, there’s just been no holding back, and like I said I, I don’t know It’s just everything’s kind of falling into place, and it feels really good and it feels like home. So the timing seems to be right.”

She has plans to release a new song monthly in 2024.

“Coming back is so exciting. I love this music. I’m so excited. There’s so much music to share right now. We’re gonna be releasing a song one song a month. It’s just come to life and I’m so proud of it, and I just cannot tell you how good it feels to be back.”