What does country music look like in 2019? For some it’s the ethereal country pop songs of Kacey Musgraves or the classic Carrie Underwood revenge ballad “Before He Cheats.” But for fans who envision a handsome, Christian boy-next-door singing about trucks and beer, their guy is Thomas Rhett.
For 29 year-old Rhett, music has always been in the family. His father is Rhett Akins (Rhett’s full name is Thomas Rhett Akins Jr.), known for his own bout of country stardom in the late 1990s, when Rhett was still in elementary school. He fell in love with the genre at a young age and knew he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. “I was around eight-years-old on the road with my dad and I got to get up on stage with him,” he told GQ UK magazine in June. “I was immediately addicted to being on stage and entertaining an audience, and after that I tried to go out on the road with him and get on stage any chance I could.”
Rhett uses his starry-eyed childhood memories as inspiration for many of his songs, even going as far to name his recently released fourth album, “Center Point Road,” after the street he grew up on in Hendersonville, TN. Although he was born in Valdosta, GA, his family moved to be closer to Nashville, the hub of country music. “That’s where all my growing up really happened. All my first memories of life were on that little street,” the singer told Billboard in May. “So I feel like for this record it made a lot of sense — because the record is super nostalgic to me — to name it after something that had a lot of impact on my life.”
The brown-eyed, bearded country singer has the looks and the lyrics to make female country fans melt in their cowboy boots. Many fans regard Rhett as “husband goals,” citing his marriage to wife Lauren Akins as evidence of his perfection. Married since 2012, the pair met when the two were in the first grade. After years of on and off dating in their teens, they came together in a scenario straight out of a romance movie from the 2000(s). “I almost married someone else, and she did too,” Rhett told CBS Morning News in 2016. “Her dad called me and said, ‘If you don’t come over here tonight and tell Lauren how you feel about her, then I’m going to tell her.’” The couple now has two daughters Willa and Ada, with a third on the way.
The seemingly traditional country singer takes pride in his songwriting abilities as well, penning more than half of the songs on each of his records himself. His tracks mix old country twang, electric guitars, and even bass drops. He’s written dozens of tunes dedicated to his wife, including hits “Die a Happy Man,” “Look What God Gave Her,” and “Unforgettable.” They mix aspects of millennial life with those of his rural(ish) upbringing, with lyrics like:
That Mango-rita you were drinking/ From your blue jeans to your shoes/ Girl, that night was just like you/-Thomas Rhett “Unforgettable”
She got me drunk like Corona/ Heart racing like it’s Daytona/ Ooh, I’m in Heaven I swear right now-Thomas Rhett “Look What God Gave Her”
Although he now has four albums under his belt, the country trailblazer doesn’t plan to stop writing anytime soon. “I have written more songs than I know what to do with,” he told The Bobby Bones Show in 2018. “It’s amazing how much you haven’t talked about.”
Even with a strong marriage, (almost) three kids, and four albums, Thomas Rhett has just broken the surface to success. When he’s not writing or on tour with his family, he continues to make the girls swoon and the music lovers tap their feet to his feel good country-pop anthems.