Cyndi Thomson

The day after spending almost 24 hours on a Los Angeles video shoot, Cyndi Thomson got on yet another cross-country flight and headed back to Nashville for what was supposed to be a rare day off.

“No, it’s not a day off. They tell me that it is, then I get home and there’s 20 things to do,” Thomson grumbled with a slow, distinct Georgia drawl. She confessed she’d just finished a load of laundry.

Her debut album, My World, was released July 31st, but her world changed in ways she would have never dared predict after the lead single, “What I Really Meant To Say,” climbed to the top of the country music charts and didn’t budge for six weeks. She hasn’t seen many days off since then.

The 25-year-old singer/songwriter from Tifton, Ga., opened a tour for Jo Dee Messina last summer. She went on a whirlwind radio tour during the fall. She’s been making the round of awards shows this winter, including a performance at the prestigious CMA telecast. She’ll be featured in a six-page spread in Redbook women’s magazine in March.

So Thomson was definitely ready for a break when she sat for a telephone interview with POLLSTAR, if only a quick one.

“It’s hard for me,” the raven-haired singer said of the pace. “… I remember when we first started traveling, just to go on the radio tour. …You’re not really even out there yet with a single but you’re flying all over the country. I was on a different plane every day; sometimes three,” Thomson said.

“I’m such a homebody and things have just happened so fast, it’s overwhelming.”

But, she added, “Not to sound like I don’t appreciate it or I’m not doing what I want to do, it’s just a lot of work and it’s a lot at one time. But gosh, to be doing what I’m doing is pretty amazing for being just 25.”

Also pretty amazing, considering her youth, is the level of involvement she has with her career. She admits to being “a bit of a control freak,” and is learning to relinquish some of that control to her management team.

Thomson had already spent one-and-a-half years at Nashville’s Belmont University taking music business and public relations courses before deciding to pursue a singing career full time. It took dropping out of college for those business books to suddenly become interesting.

“In college, it was hard for me because I think my pursuit was for an ‘A’ rather than for a career, because that’s what you’re doing in school. So being out of school, reading the books, it was easier for me to comprehend because I was pursuing a music career and there was no grade or tests at the end of it all,” she explained.

“So business to me was just all of a sudden an intriguing entity, especially knowing that I’m by myself in this. I’m not married. I’m 25 years old

and at the time, 23. I was making all my own decisions responsibly. And so with all that pressure, I wanted to make not just the right choices, but the extremely right choices.”

Her goal-oriented approach to the business as well as the artistic sides of her career suit Simon Renshaw, her manager at The Firm, just fine.

Cyndi Thomson

“It’s kind of like a win, win, win situation,” Renshaw said of working with Thomson. “She does her own songwriting, but she works on the videos too. She does her own designs. She’s very, very hands-on. She knows exactly what she wants and she has a very, very clear sense of style and direction and her own personal goals, which I like working with.”

Thomson is what she calls a “real Southern girl” and that sensibility is reflected in her music, which appealed to Renshaw, who also manages the Dixie Chicks.

“Musically, she stands out with a very fresh, very contemporary sound. It’s definitely rooted in traditional country but with a contemporary take on it,” Renshaw said. “I think combined with her incredible songwriting, that makes it just a very attractive proposition when you listen to it.

“And that is, if you talk about Shania [Twain], and you talk about Faith [Hill], and you talk about the Chicks, you’re talking about women whose projections of themselves through their material, as well as their styling, says, ‘I am woman, I am strong, don’t mess with me.’ Cyndi is the other end of the scale from that. It’s practically ‘Gone With the Wind.'”

But make no mistake, if Thomson has a bit of Southern Belle going for her, it comes with a streak of Scarlett O’Hara. She’s a businesswoman as well as an artist, and she’s got some of the best in the industry guiding her along. Renshaw is happy to be one of them.

The gregarious manager didn’t mind explaining the current touring strategy for his newest star: There is none. In a down economy, he’s waiting until “the time is right” to roll out a tour.

“Ultimately, you know, you always have to consider the true value of touring and the true value of the exposure you really receive. So (for example), is she going to be earning $5,000 a night playing to 200 people in a club somewhere?

“Guess what? No. Won’t be going there. Less is more,” he said, laughing.

That will probably suit Thomson just fine, leaving time for her songwriting and maybe even a load or two of laundry. Pull Quote: “I was making all my own decisions responsibly. And so with all that pressure, I wanted to make not just the right choices, but the extremely right choices.”