Thomas Rhett Spills on ‘T-Shirt,’ All-Star Collaborations
Thomas Rhett is having a memorable 2016. Fresh off celebrating his six-week No. 1 with "Die A Happy Man" and his first time performing in the U.K., Taste of Country caught up with the singer-songwriter to learn more about his current single, "T-Shirt," as well as his recent writing sessions with Dave Barnes and Jason Mraz.
As Rhett explains, "T-Shirt" has been on his mind for years. He says he wanted to record it for his first album, 2013's It Goes Like This, after first hearing the song because "that guitar lick roped me." The reason he couldn't record it was because Tim McGraw had the song on hold.
"Right when I got done recording my first album Tim took it off hold, and then I put it back on hold immediately, and held it for an entire year before I put my second album out," he explains. "It's one of those songs that have hung on for a long time. For me not to get tired of a song that I've had for that long is shocking to say the least. That song has been with me forever and I've always wanted to put it out as a single. I figure, 'What better time than after 'Die a Happy Man?'"
The perfect summertime song, Rhett says his wife also loves "T-Shirt." Rhett will be spending most of his summer on the road and after that, he's headed overseas for his first European tour. Having performed the Country 2 Country Music Festival last month, he's prepared to tailor his tour to the U.K. crowd, which he explains is much less rowdy than U.S. audiences.
"The crowd, a lot of them like to sit down and that doesn't mean they're not enjoying the show, that's just how they know how to enjoy shows. It definitely took a little tweaking on my show part," he admits. "It was like, 'All right, TR. Calm down, just play your songs. That's all they want to hear.' I found myself doing a lot more acoustic numbers rather than playing loud and high energy. It was fun to get over there and change up the set list and play some older songs off the first record and have a chill environment."
We've got a long time until the third album, but anytime I get to collaborate with somebody like that is definitely a huge contender for an album cut for sure.
While TR's two dogs travel with him during his U.S. tours, he says he won't be bringing them along to the U.K.
"When they travel with me in America . . . my Lab just lays on the cold, hard tile in the front lounge and my other dog sleeps with me and my wife in the bed. They have grown accustomed to being on the road," he explains. "The more people we put them around, the more chill they become. Right when we walk off the bus everyone comes over and pets them and they have a field day out here because all of the attention is focused on them."
When he's not on the road or traveling the globe, Rhett sets aside time to write. While he admits it will be a "long time" until a third album is released, that's not to say he isn't thinking about one.
Rhett has spent some time co-writing with Jason Mraz and Dave Barnes, with the hopes that the songs will be on one of the artists' projects. A huge fan of Mraz, TR admits he "never in a million years" thought he'd get to write with him.
"My buddy Jesse Frasure called me and asked if I wanted to [write with Jason], and I said absolutely and we went in there and wrote a song. We've talked about writing again the next time I'm in San Diego, which is where he lives," he reveals. "He's a super chill guy. He writes really laid back music and owns an avocado farm and basically lives off the land. He's a super interesting guy and is as kind as he could be. I look forward to writing with him again. We've got a long time until the third album, but anytime I get to collaborate with somebody like that is definitely a huge contender for an album cut for sure."
Another artist Rhett has been writing with is Dave Barnes, who he describes as the "most hilarious person" he's been around his entire life.
"He came on the road with me for a weekend and we wrote several songs that I know for a fact will be on an album," he asserts. "He knows how to write a love song better than anybody I've ever been around and is such a sweet guy. We had a blast and I hope we'll get to do that again."
While plans are in the works to write again with Mraz and Barnes, Rhett says one artist he hopes to write with in the future is Nick Jonas, who he'll be teaming up with for an episode of CMT Crossroads. Rhett says he's certain the two will take turns performing both of their singles on the episode, and is also hoping to showcase some of his new music.
"We'll get to do a cover song together, which we haven't figured out what yet," he says. "I hope it turns into me and him getting to write, and hopefully I wind up on his project or he winds up on mine."
Rhett's single "T-Shirt" is out now.
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