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Thomas Rhett on His Debut Album ‘It Goes Like This,’ No. 1 Single & Working With His Dad

“[My dad] has become a great friend and awesome songwriting partner."
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Thomas Rhett

Thomas Rhett (photo courtesy Big Machine Label Group)

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Thomas Rhett has had his name on a number of high-profile songs the past couple years, so it’s about time he had an album of his own. With the release this week of It Goes Like This, that situation is now remedied.

An accomplished songwriter as well as recording artist, Rhett has seen songs of his cut by the likes of Jason Aldean, (“1994”), Lee Brice (“Parking Lot Party”), and Florida Georgia Line (“Round Here”)–the latter his his first No. 1 as a songwriter.

He’s also seen success a singer, notably with a pair of hits from 2012, “Something to Do with My Hands” and “Beer with Jesus,” which gained him a strong following. Now, though, his debut album’s lead single “It Goes Like This” is taking him even further. The song landed him his first-ever No. 1 as a recording artist on the country singles charts.

“It Goes Like This” was written not by Rhett but by his father Rhett Akins, a 1990s country star who is now one of Nashville’s top songwriters (he frequently writes with Dallas Davidson and Ben Hayslip, a trio known as the Peach Pickers).

“He sent it to me and I played it to my phone speakers just sitting there by my ear,” Thomas Rhett told Radio.com during a recent interview (watch below). “From the first listen I was hooked. I loved the simply brilliant lyrics, talking about writing a song for a girl. I just thought it was really a cool song and I knew that girls would love it and that guys would love it.”

Rhett said he knew the song was going to be career changing. “This song has been a wild ride. It’s my first Top 10 song ever and my first gold record ever. There’s a lot of firsts that came along with the song.”

Rhett cowrote eight of the album’s 12 tracks, but when selecting a song he didn’t write himself, he said he has to be able to imagine himself singing it live.

“If I can’t imagine myself singing that song live, it’s not going to work for me,” he explained. “I’ve got to hear myself singing it in the studio and doing it for the next 20 years of my life in order for me to put it on a record.”

It Goes Like This kicks off with the fast-paced “Whatcha Got In That Cup” and Rhett said he wanted to grab listeners right away.

“’Whatcha Got In That Cup’ is a very, very rocking song. That opening lick immediately lets you know what you’re in for on the record,” he said. “Off the bat you’re like, ‘OK, this is definitely different.’ Your brain is open to more things and once you listen to the entire record you’re ready for every song that comes your way.”

While Rhett’s songwriting skills have helped him climb his way up the charts, he thanks his dad, singer-songwriter Rhett Akins, for his advice along the way. The two often write together and his dad helped write five songs on the album.

“Dad was an artist in the ’90s and now he’s one of the biggest songwriters in Nashville. I’ve gotten to learn a lot from him. He was the one always giving me advice and telling me which roads to avoid and which roads to go down. He’s been a very solid advice giver,” Rhett said. “He’s become a great friend and awesome songwriting partner. He let me do this thing a lot on my own and never took credit for any of it.”

Thomas Rhett (R) with his father Rhett Akins

Thomas Rhett (R) with his father Rhett Akins (photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

Since he took so much advice from and now actually works alongside his father, we had to wonder: Is it weird for him to write songs–especially love songs–with the man who raised him?

“It’s not weird at all writing with Dad,” Rhett said. “I guess it used to be a little bit, but now that I’ve had success without him, it’s cool to get in the room with him and write.”

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