Thomas Rhett Opens Up About His Father’s Impact on Country Music Career

by Jennifer Shea

Country star Thomas Rhett is proud of his dad. And he hopes his dad is proud of him, too.

In a recent interview with Apple Country’s “Today’s Country Radio,” Rhett told host Kelleigh Bannen that he believes he was “destined” to be a musician because of his dad’s influence.

Rhett’s father is the singer-songwriter, Rhett Akins. He’s most famous for the Top Five single “That Ain’t My Truck” and the No. 1 hit “Don’t Get Me Started.” But more recently, he’s been writing songs for the likes of Blake Shelton and Jason Aldean.

Thomas Rhett Recalls Father-Son Bonding Moments

“When I see a picture of me being young like that, on the road with my dad, I can definitely go back there, because my dad’s got all these hilarious photos,” Rhett told Bannen, according to Country Now. “I used to just wear the same red cowboy boots and a diaper every day. By the time I was four years old, there wasn’t really a song on the radio that I did not know all the words to.”

Rhett said that father-son bond drove him to pursue music. He loved to sing at an early age. And his father definitely encouraged it.

“That’s all I wanted to do was sit in the living room and have Dad play every country song on the radio so that me and him can sing them,” Rhett recalled. “It’s been pretty wild. It was kind of destined, maybe not for me to do exactly what I’m doing now, but I think I would have always done something in music because it was just so part of my childhood and so part of my dad’s history.”

Akins Said Son Is ‘Always Right’

Akins and Rhett sat down with BMI in 2015 to talk about Akins’ decades-long career and Rhett’s nascent one. During the course of the interview, Akins repeatedly sounded every bit the proud papa.

“Thomas Rhett is a trendsetter,” Akins said. “Everything he does scares the daylights out of me. And he’s always right! It never turns out that I’m right. Maybe it’s because I’m a parent, I’m like, ‘You sure you want to do your hair like that?'”

Not only was Rhett right about his hair, Akins said, he was right about clothes. He was right about tennis shoes instead of boots. And he was right about his first single.

Indeed, with the benefit of hindsight, Rhett seems to have an instinct for the music business. His career has really taken off since then and remains ascendant. Maybe he’s just a natural. But then again, it’s also thanks to Akins that Rhett grew up living and breathing music just like his father.

Rhett Has Fond Memories of Touring With Dad

“When your daddy is an entertainer and a songwriter and gone two hundred-and-something days a year, I think you definitely grow up a lot differently than the majority of your friends,” Rhett said. “But every chance I’d get, I just wanted to get on the bus. I used to love riding in the bunk and getting to hang out with the band and watch Dad play shows. And I always loved getting the chance to entertain, to make people laugh, and I think that’s what I loved about being around Dad.”

Moreover, Rhett’s love of music shows no signs of abating. He’s been writing new music lately and recently announced plans to release a double album, Country Again. It will be his first studio album since the 2019 release Center Point Road. So Rhett fans should have plenty of fresh tunes coming their way in the future.