Billboard recounts the biggest takeaways from Rhett’s album release event.
billboard.com — Thomas Rhett held nothing back on his latest LP Life Changes — as indicated by the set’s weighty title. And while it’s hardly the first time he’s approached personal subject matter — “Die A Happy Man,” the country smash from 2015’s Tangled Up, was penned about his wife Lauren — he admits this is the most no-holds-barred he’s been on a record.
“I was really just trying to have hits, you know? Make a name,” Rhett told Billboard of his previous work at his iHeartRadio Album Release Party. “But looking back, never in a million years would I have thought that people would want to hear my personal stories in a song. But I’ve learned that my fans truly love a story, and they love an honest story — and that’s what I tried to do on this record. Every song that I wrote, if it wasn’t personal, I’ve at least experienced it in some form.”
Rhett sings of just about every stage of his life on his third effort, from being a frustrated 18 year old who just wants to be 21, to being a dad to two kids under the age of 2. With so much personal accounting over the course of one 14-track album, Rhett hopes his latest record takes fans on a journey: “I want them to feel like they knew me when they were 16 and we were in high school together.”
After Rhett sat down with Billboard at his album release event, he joined the four producers of Life Changes (Julian Bunetta, Joe London, Jesse Frasure and Dan Huff) on the iHeartRadio Theater stage in New York City to detail how a handful of the songs came together. Take a look at some of the best takeaways below.
He wrote 50-60 songs for this album and had a really tough time narrowing them down. “It’s like having 17 kids and telling five of them you can’t come on the family trip,” Rhett said — to which event host Bobby Bones replied, “What a terrible analogy!”
He was supposed to help co-write “Craving You,” but had a sinus infection — and in fact, didn’t like the song at first. “I told him to listen to it more and more,” Bunetta recalled. “I said, ‘Here’s maybe an angle you’re not seeing that you would really thrive in.'” Once Rhett was on board, “I gave TR a ton of chances to put his mark on the song,” Bunetta said. Rhett responded with a smile, “I’m a stand-up guy so I didn’t take any of the credit.”
The sweetly specific lines about Mang-o-Ritas and the 14th of October in “Unforgettable” were actually made up. “We just randomly picked those,” Rhett explained, adding with a laugh, “I do love Mang-o-Ritas though, they’re great.”
He almost didn’t marry Lauren. Rhett said that after the track listing for Life Changes came out, lots of fans were saying they’d want to use his song “Marry Me” for their wedding. “That’s the song you [definitely don’t] want to play at a wedding,” Rhett laughed. “That was basically my ‘What if’ song — there was a time [Lauren and I] dated and broke up forever and almost married other people… That’s a very morbid thing to write about, but it’s one of my favorite songs on the record, I’m such a sucker for a sad song.” Continue reading