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Thomas Rhett Says “Craving You” Video Inspired Him to Push Himself — Thomas Rhett didn’t hold anything back with the music video for “Craving You,” his duet with Maren Morris. The movie trailer-like video was inspired by Rhett’s desire to show his fans a new, even-more-creative side of himself as an artist.

“It would be unfortunate to make a video like that and then go make something average for the next few,” Rhett shared with The Boot and other reporters at a recent media event. “But, I think, with these songs, it’s really all about finding the right idea and then figuring out how to execute it. [With] “Craving You,” I’ve had that idea for a long time, of just wanting to make somewhat of an action-packed movie trailer of a music video — not that it really even related to the song “Craving You” at all. It was just fun to make, and I thought it was a cool visual, that my fans had never really seen me in that environment before.”

“Craving You” was the first single from Rhett’s Life Changes album. With his second single from the record, “Unforgettable,” rapidly climbing the charts, the artist hints that the “Craving You” video is going to inspire his future videos as well.

“I think these next videos off this record, I definitely want to continue to try to push myself, as far as making videos that may take longer or require somewhat of a script, or require me writing some of the story,” shares Rhett. “I’ve been very involved with my videos over the last three or four, and it’s nice to get in there and do something fresh and something that none of my fans have ever really seen before.”

“Craving You,” which was directed by TK McKamy, is nominated for Music Video of the Year at the 2017 a CMA Awards.

Thomas Rhett Is Excited to Celebrate Christmas with Kids: Last Year ‘Was Literally Me, My Wife and 2 Dogs’

Thomas Rhett Is Excited to Celebrate Christmas with Kids: Last Year ‘Was Literally Me, My Wife and 2 Dogs’

Thomas Rhett has belted out a lot of songs in his career, but his newest single “Life Changes” is probably the most apropos.

On Aug. 12, he and his wife Lauren Akins welcomed daughter Ada James. Just a few months prior, the couple adopted their daughter, Willa Gray, now 22 months old.

How’s that for life changes?

“Last Christmas it was literally me and my wife and two dogs, and this Christmas is going to be my wife, two dogs and two kids,” he told PEOPLE at the iHeartRadio music festival in Las Vegas on Saturday. “I would say that’s the most massive change on the planet.”

“It’s hard,” he said of juggling new fatherhood (times two!) and touring,” but Lauren has been so amazing.”

In fact, his wife flew to Los Angeles on Friday with the children to surprise him during his show at The Greek, which he says “is not an easy flight with two kids under 2.”

Like we said, life changes.

“I meet people in meet and greet and people will say, ‘I know that that story is your story, but I replace things that happen in my life and sing the chorus and it makes sense for all of us,’” Rhett said. “That’s one the things I thrive on as a songwriter is trying to make it as personal as I can and have it relate to as many people as humanly possible.”


Willa Gray can spot Thomas Rhett on the radio, but Bruno Mars is her favorite — Sure, Thomas Rhett has a #1 album on both the all-genre chart and the country ranking, as well as a top-ten song with “Unforgettable.”

But it’s likely the recognition of one single fan that means the most to him: that would be his adopted daughter from Uganda, Willa Gray.

“You can tell she loves music,” TR says, “because anytime there’s a drum beat, she’s dancing, she’s spinning around in circles. But lately, I’ve been pretty impressed, like when we’ll be riding in the car and ‘Unforgettable’ will come on the radio and she’ll go ‘Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.’ And so I think she knows the sound of my voice enough, even when she hears it in a song, she can pick out that that’s a song that I sing.”

The father of two — Willa also has a newborn sister named Ada — says his oldest definitely gravitates toward one track on his chart-topping Life Changes album.

“She loves this song ‘Leave Right Now’ and it’s probably because it has such an intense beat. Bruno Mars is her favorite,” TR reveals. “She loves dance music in general, so I think that’s her favorite on the record.”

Thomas got to meet Bruno this week, sharing a photo of the two together on his socials. Midland’s Cameron Duddy, a longtime friend of the “Uptown Funk” hitmaker who’s also directed his videos, put the two together.

Thomas Rhett Wants to Do For Country Music Merch What Justin Bieber Did For Pop

Thomas Rhett Wants to Do For Country Music Merch What Justin Bieber Did For Pop — “I’ve always hated directions,” said Thomas Rhett, who on Tuesday became the first country singer to top the Billboard 200 this year.
It was last Friday, just days before Rhett’s accomplishment officially marked him as a major crossover artist, and he was between dates on a nationwide stadium tour supporting third album Life Changes. Doing things his own way is clearly working for the 27-year but when we spoke he was referring to his family and his two young daughters, both just under 2.

“We’ve gotten a whole bunch of stuff lately like strollers and cribs and my wife is always, like, ‘Hey, wait, get the directions. But I won’t do it,” he said, laughing. “I would rather sit there for seven hours and figure it out by myself. But I get it done.”

Bucking convention has made Rhett one of country music’s top new stars over the course of three albums, and his latest further tiptoes into mainstream music, mixing pop hooks and guitar rock to create a modern country sound. “Country music is changing so much,” Rhett said. “It’s interesting to see this shift in people who love pop and hip-hop music starting to come to country music concerts and find a blend of everything they love.”

Banking on his new commercial success, Rhett is extending into fashion with a pop-up collaboration alongside the Los Angeles streetwear designer Daniel Patrick, a favorite of other music personalities like Justin Bieber, Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean and Teyana Taylor.

“I’ve never seen anyone else in country music do a pop-up store,” Rhett said, adding he doesn’t see any reason why these two worlds can’t fit together. “If you ask anybody how country artists dress, they would think probably a belt buckle and a cowboy hat. And there still are those people,” he said. At his pop-up shop, officially dubbed “Daniel Patrick X Thomas Rhett,” they’ll be able to buy anorak track pullovers, shorts and caps. “But, the people at my concerts, a lot of them are wearing Gucci T-shirts.” (The pop-up opens at L.A.’s Fairfax Melrose district on Friday, the same day as Rhett’s concert at the Greek Theatre, and runs through Sunday.)

As Rhett sees it, country fans want to embrace better merchandise, which in his view has been in a rut. “In country music, all we ever do is sell face-T’s,” he said, “and a lot of them are terrible, things that I would ever wear, ever.” So, he’s following in the footsteps of major pop stars, from Bieber to Kanye West and Rihanna, who are beefing up the quality of their merch by partnering with the likes of Fear of God and Alexander Wang.

Initially, Rhett met with some resistance from designers. “The response is always, our market is not country music, “ he said. But he argues that’s a missed opportunity to reach a huge and eager untapped audience.

“The biggest goal of the pop-up store is to put country music on that map, trying to get kids who want to be into fashion a way to start somewhere,” he said. “People could say, that’s not country. But, what is country? The goal is to change the sense that all we are is cars and dust and trucks.”

Thomas Rhett Earns First No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart & Country’s First of 2017

Thomas Rhett Earns First No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart & Country’s First of 2017 — Country singer/songwriter Thomas Rhett achieves his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as his new effort Life Changes bows atop the list. The set — which brings country back to No. 1 for the first time in exactly one year — earned 123,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Sept. 14, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 94,000 were in traditional album sales, Rhett’s best sales week and the third largest sales week of 2017 for a country effort.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Sept. 30-dated chart (where Life Changes debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard’s websites Tuesday (Sept. 19).

Life Changes is the first No. 1 country album in 2017, and the first in a year — since Jason Aldean’s They Don’t Know spent one week in the penthouse on the list dated Oct. 1, 2016.

Life Changes was released on Valory Records on Sept. 8, and marks the second No. 1 for the imprint (part of Big Machine). Valory previously led the chart with Reba’s Keep on Loving You in 2009 (on Starstruck/Valory).

Rhett’s new album was led by the single “Craving You,” featuring Maren Morris, which hit No. 3 on the Hot Country Songs chart and No. 1 on the Country Airplay tally. The song was followed by the album’s second radio offering, “Unforgettable,” which hit the top 10 on Hot Country Songs and jumped 13-11 on the most recent Country Airplay chart, dated Sept. 23.

Life Changes is Rhett’s third full-length studio album, and fourth effort overall. It follows Tangled Up (No. 6 on the Billboard 200 in 2015), It Goes Like This (No. 6 in 2013) and his self-titled debut EP (No. 133 in 2012).

Rhett brings country music back to the penthouse on the Billboard 200 for the first time in a year. Four country sets came close to hitting No. 1 earlier in 2017, as titles by Brett Eldredge, Zac Brown Band, Chris Stapleton and Brantley Gilbert all debuted and peaked at No. 2. As noted earlier, the last country album to lead the chart was Jason Aldean’s They Don’t Know (Oct. 1, 2016), which also marked the only country effort to hit No. 1 in 2016. Comparatively, in 2015, three country albums hit No. 1: Zac Brown Band’s Jekyll + Hyde, Luke Bryan’s Kill the Lights and Chris Stapleton’s Traveller.

Life Changes additionally notches Rhett his best sales week ever for an album. Its pure sales figure of 94,000 easily beats Rhett’s previous high of 63,000 logged by Tangled Up’s first week. Further, Life Changes has the third-biggest sales for a country set in 2017, following the debut frames of Stapleton’s From A Room: Volume 1 (202,000) and Zac Brown Band’s Welcome Home (139,000).

Rhett is also the fourth act in a row to notch its first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, following LCD Soundsystem a week ago (with American Dream), Lil Uzi Vert (Luv Is Rage 2) and Brand New (Science Fiction). The last time the chart housed four first-timers in-a-row at No. 1 was a little more than two years ago, when seven acts notched their first No. 1s in succession.

Rhett leads a big week for country in the top 10 on the Billboard 200, as a total of three country efforts arrive in the top 10. Dustin Lynch’s Current Mood bows at No. 7, while Kip Moore’s Slowheart starts at No. 10. It’s the first time there are three country albums in the top 10 in nearly a year, since the Oct. 8, 2016 chart, when Aaron Lewis’ Sinner bowed at No. 4, Jason Aldean’s They Don’t Know slipped 1-6 in its second week, and Florida Georgia Line’s Dig Your Roots held at No. 10 in its fourth week. Further, this is the first week we’ve had three country albums bow in the top 10 in almost two years. The top 10 last had a trio of country arrivals on the Oct. 17, 2015 chart, when Don Henley’s Cass County, George Strait’s Cold Beer Conversationand Thomas Rhett’s Tangled Up debuted at Nos. 3, 4 and 6, respectively.

Video: Thomas Rhett Dives Into ‘Life Changes’ & Tells Stories Behind the Songs at iHeartRadio Album Release Party

Billboard recounts the biggest takeaways from Rhett’s album release event. — 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

Finding Yourself in Thomas Rhett Songs

Finding Yourself in Thomas Rhett Songs — The day before Thomas Rhett‘s Life Changes album was released, he tweeted, “These 14 songs represent who I am today, I hope you can find yourself in each of them.”

And when I sat down with him before the final show of his release-day adventure on Friday (Sept. 8), we talked about finding yourself in songs. His hope is that his fans will be able to relate to all the songs, from the nostalgic ballad “Sixteen” and the Alabama-esque “Drink a Little Beer,” to the heartland rocker “Renegades” and the hopelessly romantic and retro “Sweetheart.”

“All of us artists are a little ADD in a strange way,” Rhett told me. “We all like to try new things and push that boundary. And when you do push that boundary and the stars align and it just clicks with fans, it’s a really special feeling. And I think that’s what we have with this record.”

As confident as Rhett was about releasing what is essentially a kind of mix tape, he was never 100 percent positive that all of this music would work.

“I think that’s the biggest fear of putting this record out. You don’t know what’s gonna work, you don’t know what’s not gonna work,” he said. But what he did know was that getting to know his fans up close and personal made him almost certain that if he was digging the songs, so would they.

“Getting to see my fans face to face, meeting them, and observing them when we play all kinds of pre-roll music made me feel like we’re all on the same level. We grew up at the same time, and we listen to a ton of different kinds of music. So if I can make a record that would make me want to listen to it, then hopefully you can listen to it at whatever stage of life you’re in.

“I’ve lived through all these experiences, and been influenced by so many different things, that I hope my fans have come along with me on this journey. Even if they didn’t know about certain eras of music, maybe this music makes them want to dive in back into that.”

And it sounds like Rhett was almost adamant that he didn’t want to keep making the same record over and over.

“Watching my fave artists — like Bruno Mars — from record one until now, it’s worlds apart,” he said.

“But I bought into him as an artist. Just like I bought into Luke Bryan as an artist. And I bought into George Strait as an artist. I think that when you believe in the person, you just kind of go with him. If they want to try something different, they try something different. It may not be your favorite thing in the world, but you’re still like, ‘I like that person.’”

Thomas Rhett’s “B-Stage” Earns an A

Thomas Rhett’s “B-Stage” Earns an A — “We obviously saved the best for last.”

That’s what Thomas Rhett told the sold-out Chicago crowd on Friday night (Sept. 8) the minute he took the stage for the third and final “Live From the B-Stage” release-day show. He’d been to Boston and Philadelphia earlier that day, then came to Joe’s Live just north of Chicago to wrap up the day of new music.

Although he didn’t just play the new stuff from his new album Life Changes, because he said that as a fan, he would hate that.

“We’re not gonna do that thing. When I saw artists I loved and they didn’t play (their big hit), I’d be so pissed,” Rhett said.

Instead, he played a mix of older hits and new tunes, and because the setting was more like the B-Stage at his arena shows, he was able to share the stories behind so many of his songs.

Before “Die a Happy Man,” the highest-charting single on his 2015 album Tangled Up, Rhett explained how it came from a writing session right before a date on Jason Aldean’s Night Train Tour.

“We were on the bus in Arkansas, opening for Jason Aldean, and the first song we wrote that day was ‘Die a Happy Man,’” he said of the song he wrote with Sean Douglas and Joe Spargur. “And it was at a point in the show where I just wanted to change it up. So I was like, ‘Well, we wrote this song today, and we’re gonna put it in our set tonight.’ And the writers were like, ‘You don’t even know the words.’”

“It doesn’t matter,” he said he told them before taking the stage in Little Rock and playing what he called a very botched version of the song. “I had no idea that song would do what it did.”

He also answered fan questions, one of which was about how nervous he was to release the new album. Rhett admitted he was very nervous, but that hearing the crowd sing all the words to the songs they’d only been hearing for one day — like “Unforgettable,” “Sixteen,” “Grave” and “Drink a Little Beer” — assuaged any anxieties he’d had.

“When you’re making a record, for me, I want it to sound completely different from the last one. All my favorite artists never make records that sound the same,” he said.

Thomas Rhett On Course for First No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart

Thomas Rhett On Course for First No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart — Country singer Thomas Rhett is aiming for his first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, according to industry forecasters. Those in the know suggest this new set, Life Changes, could launch with a little more than 100,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Sept. 14. Further, if Rhett starts at No. 1, it will give the country genre its first chart topper in 2017.

Life Changes was released on Sept. 8 through Valory Records and is Rhett’s third full-length studio effort.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The top 10 of the new Sept. 30-dated Billboard 200 chart (where Rhett will debut) is scheduled to be revealed on Billboard’s websites on Sunday, Sept. 17.

So far in 2017, no country title has led the Billboard 200, and the last country effort to do so was Jason Aldean’s They Don’t Know on the Oct. 1, 2016-dated tally. (Further, Aldean had the only country title to lead the list in 2016.) Rhett has never previously hit No. 1, having twice peaked at No. 6 with It Goes Like This in 2013 and Tangled Up in 2015.

Rhett will likely lead a busy Billboard 200 next week, as a bevy of new albums are on course for high debuts. (That’s in stark contrast to the current list, where LCD Soundsystem’s chart topping American Dream was the only title to start in the top 10.) Aside from Rhett, watch for high bows from The National’s Sleep Well Beast (with perhaps 60,000 units), Jack Johnson’s All The Light Above It Too (45,000 units), Dustin Lynch’s Current Mood (over 30,000), Gregg Allman’s Southern Blood and Kip Moore’s Slowheart (both with over 20,000).

Review: Variety Reviews Thomas Rhett’s ‘Life Changes’

Review: Variety Reviews Thomas Rhett’s ‘Life Changes’ — If you took Brad Paisley’s voice and amiability, axed (almost) all of the traditional country and goofy humor, and replaced those with some sharp Top 40 radio instincts, you’d have Rhett. The 27-year-old upstart pumps out singles that sound like they should be pop hits, even as his label makes little or no attempt to actually cross him over. If that sounds like the lead-in to some kind of pro-traditionalist dis, it’s not; Rhett is the kind of guy who could give country-pop a good name again.

Rhett is on a rare trajectory in a genre that typically moves slow as molasses in generating new superstars. He graduated to arena headliner status even before releasing his third album, “Life Changes,” which certainly won’t put any stall in that ascent. What the songs may tend to lack in depth, they make up in breadth, with each track occupying a slightly different subgenre than the last, united only in the breezy consistency of their craft.

Want some Chainsmokers Lite in your country diet? Try “Leave Right Now,” a pickup song that shows Nashville is hardly immune to copping a little bit of an EDM feel. Looking for something less dubstep and more doo-wop? “Sweetheart” has a back-to-the-1950s chorus. Somewhat more predictably, “Renegades” brings the heartland rock influence that’s been country’s bread and butter for a while. But if your nostalgia runs more toward Barry White than Johnny Cougar, “Kiss Me Like a Stranger” evokes gentle 1970s R&B bedroom balladry. (On tour, Rhett brings a horn section along to reinforce that old-school R&B feel, though he leaves it behind here.)

And if you want to talk about serious variety, Rhett even includes a kind of bro-country song, “Drink a Little Beer,” a chance to duet with… no, not a bro, per se, but his songwriter dad, Rhett Akins. More than that reverse nepotism, it’s a chance to prove that he can play the redneck if he wants to. Actual country music is just one more arrow in Rhett’s quiver, as it turns out.

The mature side of country is something Rhett can pull off, too, if he sets his mind to it, which he doesn’t very often. “Marry Me” is a nice attempt at a sad-sack ballad from a guy who’s been friend-zoned all the way to tearfully sitting on the bride’s side at a wedding. It’s the kind of thing you’d like to encourage Rhett to do more of… if he weren’t so good at borderline pop bubblegum like “Unforgettable,” wherein the singer remembers the moment he bonded with his girl over a Coldplay song.

That ear candy continues with “Craving You,” a semi-rocking smash that benefits from an energized Maren Morris backing vocal (even if it’s false advertising to bill it as a duet). And the album is at its poppiest as well as best with “Smooth Like the Summer,” which ought to be the song of the season for heartland teens. (The song of summer 2018, that is, since his label didn’t get it out in time for the one just past.) The fact that there isn’t a lot brewing under the surface of these tunes isn’t a huge damper. Agreeability isn’t everything, but Rhett makes it count for a lot.

Thomas Rhett
“Life Changes”
Valory Records
Producers: Rhett, Julian Bunetta, Jesse Frasure, Dann Huff, Joe London

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