Thomas Rhett's Not-So-Idle 'Hands' Rises Country Chart
Thomas Rhett's Not-So-Idle 'Hands' Rises Country Chart

Talks Scoring a Writing Credit for Jason Aldean, Working Songs With His Dad Rhett Atkins

Things are moving very fast in the world of Thomas Rhett these days. The Georgia native is watching as his debut single, "Something To Do With My Hands," continues to make an impact on the Country Songs chart (No. 32 this week). Rhett emphasizes that things are happening at such a pace that it's hard to comprehend it all.

"It's tough to soak everything up, because I'm always thinking about the future," he told Billboard. "As a writer and an artist, you're always thinking about the next thing you are going to do. It's kind of hard to suck in everything that is going on now because we're on the road so much, but we've had a wild ride so far and it seems like things are going pretty good, so it's a real exciting time."

Fans might notice there's something a little bit familiar about Thomas Rhett. Well, that might stem from the fact that he is the son of Rhett Akins - currently one of Nashville's top tunesmiths, and a hit artist in the 1990s, thanks to songs like "Don't Get Me Started" and "That Ain't My Truck."

Rhett says that his musical style differs from that of his father. "Country is continuing to change. Compared to my dad's stuff, my music is more hardcore, and more rock, and more in your face. It's a different kind of writing style," he says, also telling Billboard that the two have collaborated on a few songs. "But, now that he's having a lot of success writing now, we're starting to mesh. We're coming up with some good stuff in the writing room. It's been really fun to write with my dad."

Rhett is having a lot of fun writing - period, having gotten a cut on Jason Aldean's My Kinda Party CD - "I Ain't Ready To Quit." He says the cut came at a pivotal time. "I would say that was a huge turning point in my life. I'd been writing songs for about five or six months pretty hard, and I was trying to balance songwriting and school - which was a pretty hard task. I wrote it with two other guys who had never had a cut, so for three no name writers to get our first cut on the Album of the Year was an incredible experience as an amateur songwriter."

When asked when he realized he wanted to pursue music as a career, he said "It's always been a part of my life. It's hard to avoid it growing up when your dad is doing it. So, I got to see the highs and lows of having a record deal and being a songwriter, and seeing success and failure, which you're going to have in any job. In college, I really started to pursue that, while wondering if I really wanted to do that. Then, I signed my publishing deal my sophomore year in college. I'll never forget sitting in the writing room the day school started for my buddies - post drop-out for me after going for three years, sitting in the writing room saying to myself 'I don't care if we write the worst song in the world today, as long as we're not sitting in a classroom.' I don't regret going to college by any means, but I definitely found my niche when I started to write songs. When I got the Aldean cut, it solidified that I was on the right path."

The past few months have seen Rhett embark on his first radio tour. It's a lot of work, he says, but also a lot of fun. "Any artist can tell you that it's grueling, and that it's one of the hardest parts of your career, which it is, but you don't know just how intense it is until you get out there and do it."

With the single recently having climbed into the top 30, it appears that the hard work is paying off.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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