Thomas Rhett, Dad Rhett Akins Find Support in Each Other
Music runs in Thomas Rhett's blood: As the son of singer-songwriter Rhett Akins, Rhett grew up immersed in the country music industry. So when he decided to focus on his own music career, the "Craving You" singer didn't need to look far for support.
"Dad has always been such a constant when it comes to me and my live shows," Rhett recently shared with The Boot and other reporters. "A lot of that just comes from me growing up and watching him play so many shows as an artist. He is the sole reason on a lot of shows where I’ve not completely had a panic attack: I’ll walk offstage and know that I did not play my best show, and he’s always the person who’s like, ‘You know, a couple of things were pretty rough, but overall, it was good.’
"He’s always been that calming presence and always been the guy who says, ‘Why don’t you try swapping these two songs and see what happens?’ Or, ‘It’s all right. We’ll write it. Don’t worry that you don’t have your first single. We will make it happen, one way or the other,'" Rhett continues. "So, always, he's just really been such an encouragement and somebody, when I’m feeling like, ‘What is happening right now?’ he’s always the person who comes in and says, ‘You’re going to be fine.’"
Akins -- who released several albums in the 1990s and had a No. 1 hit with "Don't Get Me Started" before focusing on songwriting -- says that he couldn't be more proud of his famous son, but not just because of his successful career.
"Honestly -- I mean this with all sincerity -- I’m more proud that everyone thinks he’s such a good person, and [of] the love that he and [his wife] Lauren have," Akins says of Rhett. "I’m more proud of the way he’s grown up and become a man, even though I can’t look at him without thinking he’s 16. I don’t see him as a star."
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Rhett's father might not see him as a star, but everyone else does. Now that he's wrapped up the first leg of his headlining Home Team Tour with two sold-out shows at Nashville's Ascend Amphitheater, Rhett will play several fairs and festivals this summer before continuing on with that trek due to fan demand.
"I’m not used to Thomas Rhett being the headliner. It [is] so weird to pull in a parking lot and go, ‘Every single one of these people came to see Thomas Rhett,'" Akins shares. "Everybody else is freaking out: Old friends that you haven’t heard from in 15 years [ask] ‘Can we get tickets? My three little girls love him.’ [But] I still see him as the kid who ran into the mailbox.
"So, it’s really hard to look at him onstage," Akins adds. "I look more at the crowd than I did him. I’m just turning, looking, going, ‘Those people way up there are standing up and screaming for my kid.’ It’s really, really weird."
In addition to writing songs for other artists -- including "When She Says Baby" for Jason Aldean, Dustin Lynch's "Mind Reader" and Lee Brice's "That Don't Sound Like You" -- Akins has also written several songs for his son. Among Rhett's many hits that Akins wrote for or with him are "It Goes Like This," "Get Me Some of That" and "Star of the Show." For Akins, who says he grew up wanting to do just that for a living, it's a dream come true.
"How many kids grew up, with their best friend in eighth or ninth grade, thinking, ‘We’re going to be big stars. We’re going to write No. 1 songs’? Me and [songwriter] Ben [Hayslip] were doing that in eighth grade," Akins recalls. "That [dream coming true] just doesn’t happen. One out of a billion teenage kids dream about doing this, and it actually happens, and that’s happened with me and Ben ... That’s the most God-given miracle of all time, that two 14-year-old boys who moved to this town to write songs [succeeded], and then your son is a part of it. I really can’t explain it; I can only thank God that this is even happening."
A list of all of Rhett's upcoming shows is available on his website.
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