Thomas Rhett came to his No. 1 party on Wednesday to celebrate his 12th and 13th chart-toppers, “Sixteen” and “Look What God Gave Her,” but his mind was much more on the future than these latest accomplishments.
There’s a lot in front of him: new music, new career honors, a new memoir by his wife, Lauren Akins. And then there’s that greatest expectation, their new baby girl, who’ll be joining big sisters Willa Gray, who’s almost 4, and Ada James, 2, in February.
“We’re all really excited,” Thomas Rhett, 29, said at a press conference before the party, held at BMI headquarters in Nashville. “Before I had kids, I never really imagined that I would be this at peace with two and one on the way. I thought I’d be like, what in the world is happening? … But we really do feel right now that we’re at a more peaceful spot than we’ve ever been. Maybe we found the calm in the crazy somehow.”
And it’s about to get crazier. The platinum-selling artist said a new home is also in the family’s future: “We’re moving because we’ve completely outgrown our house.”
The growing family is overtaking his new music, as well, he said, noting that only two cuts on his latest album, Center Point Road, feature lyrics about his girls. On the songs he’s now assembling for his next record, “I think every third verse ends with a baby line,” he said, laughing. “So we’ll just have to pick the best of the ones that we’ve written with babies in them.”
Two of his biggest helpers, Thomas Rhett said, are actually the “babies” themselves, whom he considers among his keenest critics. Both of his daughters regularly listen to Dad’s new demos, he said, and he pays close attention to their reactions. “Like, if Willa Gray wants to listen to a song six times in a row, maybe it should have a shot, you know,” he said.
The singer-songwriter and his posse of regular co-writers (five of whom, including dad Rhett Akins, appeared at the press conference) have finished about 100 songs since June while Thomas Rhett has been out on his Very Hot Summer Tour.
First up, though, will be music that’s holiday-themed — at Lauren Akins’ request.
“My wife’s been on me to record a Christmas album or EP for a long time,” he said. “And so we went in the studio and I recorded a classic and then I wrote an original.”
The latter presented a particular challenge. “It’s kind of impossible to write a classic,” he said. “You just hope that it’s cool enough to survive one year and maybe it’ll get played next year. I think my dream in life would be to write a classic Christmas song that gets played until my kids are older.”
Whether more holiday music will be added is still up in the air, but the artist said a December release has been set.
In the meantime, Thomas Rhett has three honors to enjoy: CMT Artist of the Year (to be presented on Oct. 16), a People’s Choice Awards nomination for country artist and two CMA Award nominations, for male vocalist and album. He revealed he’ll be singing new single, “Remember You Young,” at the CMA Awards. “I’ve never gotten to do that on national television before,” he said, “so we’re excited about that.”
And there’s one more much-anticipated event in his household after the baby’s birth: the May 2020 release of Lauren Akins’ book, Live in Love, a memoir that offers details about her childhood, marriage and motherhood.
Thomas Rhett confessed he’s not a reader — “the last book I read was Harry Potter” — but he’s definitely made time to finish his wife’s manuscript, portions of which she read out loud to him. Much of it, he said, was “hard to read” just because he lived through it, too.
“This book really gets into severe detail of the adoption process [of Willa Gray], of what it was like when we first had kids, and what it was like when I first got on the road,” he said. “It’s like if someone made a movie about your life, and you’re watching it, and you’d be like, oh, I don’t want to watch this part, you know.”
Of course, don’t misinterpret that to mean he’s anything but his wife’s biggest fan: “I think it’s a really, really great read, and I think it’s going to encourage and inspire a lot of people.”
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