Thomas Rhett may be spending isolation surrounded entirely by women, but it seems he wouldn't have it any other way. The country star sat down with Ben Mulroney back in the spring to discuss his new music, what he's listening to in quarantine and how becoming a dad to daughters and seeing his wife, Lauren Akins, become a mom changed his perspective on, well, everything.Ahead of his performance for etalk Open House
, the "Be A Light" singer revealed that though he misses touring, being forced into self-isolation in Nashville has allowed him extra time with his three daughters—Willa Gray, Ada James and Lennon Love. Being outnumbered is NBD when your wife is your "hero" and your three little girls are the most adorable beings on the planet.Ben: Where are we talking to you from and how are you doing?
Thomas: We’re in Nashville and today is about the tenth day of rain. We’re doing good here, man, the family’s all good and just rocking along.Talk to me about “Be A Light” what’s the meaning behind this song?
I wrote this song about a year ago, not really having any idea of where it was going to live—like on an album or a one-off or whatever—but about a month into quarantine, I turned 30 on March 30th
, and I wanted to release a song for my birthday. And this song really just felt super fitting for the time. Seemed there were a lot of people just down on themselves and I really just wanted to spread some joy and some love and encouragement and it felt like this song could really help us portray that. It’s been a really cool journey with the stories of what the song has brought to people’s communities and it’s been a really special song to be a part of.[video_embed id='2005254']Thomas Rhett tells us why family life is so 'awesome'[/video_embed]It’s happened with a lot of songwriters that something they wrote pre-pandemic has been really appropriate for the time.
Yeah for sure! I’ve looked back at some of my songs from three, four records ago and I’m like “Man, that would have fit way better now than it did three or four years ago.”But “Be A Light" has been super special to me and especially with all my friends I got to sing on it with me [Reba McEntire, Keith Urban, Chris Tomlin and Hillary Scott] to help spread encouragement and that joy and it’s been really, really, really fun to be a part of.“Beer Can’t Fix” can also apply these days as well. That is one fun video!
You know, we shot that video literally a week before the country shut down. Me and Jon [Pardi] went down to Key West and literally just got on a boat and fished and rode some scooters through Key West and had a blast doing it. It’s been a lot of fun to get to do a song with my good buddy Jon.A lot of musicians have felt a real pain in having cancelled concerts and losing that ability to connect live with audiences. Where do you fall on that?
Man, it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve been touring for 10 years now and I’ve had one show cancelled ever and it was because of a horrible, horrible storm and wind where it wasn’t safe to get on the stage. Never in a million years did I think I would have to cancel a tour due to a global pandemic. It’s unfortunate because when summertime rolls around—that’s my favourite time of the year to get back on the bus and get to go drive a golf cart through the parking lot and get to hang with people while they tailgate. I know for fans—even my friends—who love going to festivals and summer concerts, that’s just not going to happen this year.Something we really needed was the children #CandyChallenge and I have to say, your daughter is the best of them all.
When my wife showed me that, I was like “There is no way she didn’t touch that candy.” But her phrase for the past few weeks has been “very, very, very patient” and that’s what she’ll say a hundred times. When I saw that video, I watched it a hundred times—it was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.
Do you ever feel outnumbered at home because it’s you, your wife and your three daughters?
Yeah, and two dogs—I have one male dog who keeps me company.When I had my daughter, it changed everything for me—changed my perspective as a dad, as a man, everything. Did you go through the same thing?
Absolutely. When me and Lauren talked about having kids, I thought we were going to have like three or four boys but I think I was meant to be a girl dad. That’s what we produce—it’s girls!It’s been awesome though, it’s softened my heart a ton, I’ll tell you that much. When you watch your daughters come up and hug your leg and say, “I love you, daddy!” And when I’m getting on the bus and they’re like “Please don’t go,” it breaks your heart. And so I’ve really enjoyed being a dad of three girls, it’s just been really sweet.A dad of three girls and also a husband to, as you say, your "hero." What makes her your hero?
Yeah, she’s my hero. I’ve said this before but when you get married, obviously you love the person that you’re married to, but when you watch that person become a mom, I feel like the depth of love goes so much deeper. Just watching the patience and the calmness my wife has with our kids—it’s the most humbling thing I’ve ever gotten to watch. She’s made me a more patient person—just a better person in general and a better dad to be totally honest. Just the way that she deals with stuff with our kids with such grace makes her a huge hero of mine.
Is there any type of music or artist you’re listening to right now that’s giving you comfort?
I’ve been listening to so much ‘50s music. The ‘50s genre has been one of my favourites for a really long time. My grandparents showed me a lot of that stuff when I was little and today I find myself, even when I’m working out, just playing ‘50s genre on any kind of service. It just puts me in a happy place, I don’t know.When life returns to something that more resembles “before,” what’s the first thing you want to do?
Go to a movie theatre? I know that sounds dumb but when you can do anything, you don’t think about that stuff—you take a lot of things for granted. But I think when you’re forced not to be able to walk to your favourite ice cream shop or just go to a movie or just sit out at your favourite restaurant or have a drink at a bar—it makes you desperately want to go out and do things that feel normal to you.But on the other hand, it has been really nice to be at home. I’ve never been at home this much in ten years. I’ve gotten to put my kids to bed every night, wake up with them every morning, got way better at cooking and ordering food in. But I do miss being able to just go hang without putting a mask on. I can’t wait—for that aspect—for things to get back to normal, for sure.etalk Open House
is a weekly series that features performances and exclusive interviews with incredible talent like The Killers
, Jessie Reyez
, Niall Horan
and more. Catch the series on Thursday night as part of etalk’s regular broadcast at 7pm ET on CTV
and 7:30pm on CTV2.[video_embed id='1987731']BEFORE YOU GO: Jessie Reyez performs 'Kill Us' for etalk Open House [/video_embed]