From the outside looking in, the rise of Thomas Rhett as a country music star may seem like a rapid one, but, for the Valdosta, GA native himself, the 2013 release of his debut album, IT GOES LIKE THIS, was a long time coming.
“We held off for a very long time, longer than most new artists hold out for a record,” Rhett says of the two-year process. He and his record label, The Valory Music Co., were waiting for the right moment, and they found it in the form of the platinum-selling, smash-hit single, from which the album takes its name.
“It Goes Like This” spent three weeks on top of the Billboard Country Singles Chart in 2013, tying the record set by Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” three years earlier, for the most weeks spent at #1 for an artist’s first chart-topping single. The success of the anthemic country/rock smash was all the more special for Thomas Rhett, as it was written by his Dad – country artist and hit songwriter, Rhett Akins. Father and son got to celebrate together at a unique “double” #1 party last year, where the younger Akins was also recognized for writing Florida Georgia Line’s two-week #1 single, “Round Here.”
This 2014 CMA New Artist of the Year nominee’s talent as both a performer and a songwriter is fully evident on the diverse, yet cohesive, collection of songs that make up his chart-topping debut album. From his second #1 Hit Single “Get Me Some of That,” to the Top-15 singles “Beer With Jesus” and “Something To Do With My Hands,” and current single “Make Me Wanna”, the Georgia native showcases the breadth of musical influences that seamlessly work together to make up his unique sound. “The coolest thing about this record is it’s kind of like a timeline of my life from 2011 to 2013. There are almost three different versions of myself on the same record, so there’s a little bit for everybody,” Rhett says.
Citing Luke Bryan as an influence in his unpredictable musicality, Rhett is striving to reach that point where fans aren’t surprised by anything he does; whether it’s writing hits for other artists (like Jason Aldean’s “1994” or Lee Brice’s “Parking Lot Party”), or exploring the multiple sides of his personality in his own music. “I want my brand to be where people are not shocked when I do certain things. I want people to go ‘I knew Thomas Rhett would do that because he likes to extend and go past the boundaries,” he says.
Still reveling in a year that saw him top the charts, tour with Jason Aldean at sold-out stadiums across the country and make national television appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Queen Latifah Show and The View, Thomas Rhett says has no idea what the future holds for him. “I don’t have a clue where it’s going to go or where it’ll end up, but the journey is cool enough for me,” he muses. “I’m here for the ride and to entertain people.”
For right now that journey includes a recent run of sold out headlining shows (at stops including New York, Boston, Charlotte, Knoxville, Chicago and more), touring with Brantley Gilbert on his LET IT RIDE TOUR, and hitting the road with Miranda Lambert and Justin Moore for the PLATINUM TOUR.