The singer-songwriter's first single is storming the Nashville charts

By Alanna Nash
Updated October 15, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Cyndi Thomson

My World (Music - Cyndi Thomson)

type
  • Music

The year was 1998, and Cyndi Thomson, who’d moved to Nashville the year before from her hometown of Tifton, Ga., to become a singer-songwriter, was not any closer to her goal. She never played in clubs and had no contact with the record industry (except for a gig at a party for Deana Carter’s ”Did I Shave My Legs for This?”, where she modeled her own legs in a claw-foot tub). Still, the devout Christian was determined. She finally got a break when she met veteran tunesmith Tommy Lee James (Reba McEntire, Brooks & Dunn) through a mutual friend and persuaded him to collaborate with her, though she had never actually written a song. ”My mama,” explains the 25-year old, ”always told me, ‘Walk like you always know where you’re going.”’ She was led in the right direction by James, who helped pen most of the songs and helmed the album with Dixie Chicks producer Paul Worley.

Today, Thomson, whose soft-edged Southern style of pop is often compared to Carter’s, is Nashville’s hottest new act. Released on July 31, ”My World” — which she cowrote — is the best-selling first album by a country female since LeAnn Rimes’ 1996 disc, ”Blue.” Its first single, ”What I Really Meant to Say,” an aching ballad that evokes the Civil War-era South with its anthemic mandolin intro and sorrowful pennywhistle, has made ratings history: It’s the only debut single from a female star that’s spent more than one week atop the 28-year-old Radio & Records country chart.

The singer admits much of her story has a fairy-tale quality. As a young teen, Thomson saw a video of Trisha Yearwood’s ”She’s in Love With the Boy” and decided she wanted to be a country singer. At 17, she met Yearwood in an autograph line and vowed she would remind her of it when she became an artist. Last summer, she opened several shows for her. Now Thomson’s touring with Jo Dee Messina, who feels a protective admiration for the neophyte. ”You have the essential sexy, you have the tough sexy, you have the glamorous sexy,” raves Messina. ”Who [else] can combine sweet and sexy? It’s very appealing and very real.”

Thomson herself downplays her looks to focus on the music. ”I want people to see every part of me,” she says. ”I want to make people feel.”

My World (Music - Cyndi Thomson)

type
  • Music

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