Thomas Rhett shares how faith keeps him grounded
Lacey Klotz |
Thomas Rhett (Akins) is a Lipscomb alumnus who attended the university from 2008-2011 before signing a record deal with Big Machine Records in Nashville. While on campus, Rhett studied organizational communications and was a member of the Tau Phi social club.
This past year, Rhett has taken Music City by storm with the release of his second album, Tangled Up, which features his recent hit-single “Die A Happy Man” that tied Taylor Swift’s record claiming the No. 1 spot on the Billboard U.S. Country Airplay chart for the sixth week in a row.
“Die A Happy Man,” which is currently up for the 2016 Academy of Country Music Awards for Single Record of the Year, was written in honor of Rhett’s wife, Lauren.
Rhett is also nominated for New Male Vocalist and Album of the Year for his 2015 album, Tangled Up, at the ACM Awards on April 3.
On Tuesday, Feb. 23, Rhett, dressed in his Tau Phi jersey, and Lauren spent time on campus sharing insight into their lives in the limelight and how their faith keeps them grounded through the fame and fortune.
The couple began their morning by speaking to a music production class in Lipscomb’s contemporary music program.
Lipscomb’s contemporary music program officially launched in fall 2015 and since then has recruited 21 majors and counting.
Charlie Peacock, a songwriter, artist and Grammy-award-winning record producer as well as a Lipscomb artist-in-residence, is the founding director of the program. His expertise, along with the programs’ new facilities located in a Granny White Pike home next door to the headquarters of the Gospel Music Association, gives students a direct connection to the music business.
“The contemporary music program was designed to have no gap between the classroom and the professional music industry,” Peacock explained.
One way they do this is through connecting students with artists who are currently in the industry, such as singer/songwriter Thomas Rhett.
During the class, Rhett explained that although he is blessed to get to pursue his dream for a living, he and Lauren truly believe that they have been given this platform for more than just entertaining and writing hit-songs.
“It’s a huge blessing to be creative and to get to sing songs for a living, but at the same time, we know for a fact that we have been put in this position to be on the road and open for certain artists, and maybe only have one conversation with that artist that may have completely changed their life,” Rhett explained. “Not by anything that I said or have done, but something that The Lord completely ordained.”
Three students in the contemporary music program, Delaney, Zackary and Erika Daves, who make up the sibling trio, Daves Highway, also had the unique opportunity to sing Rhett’s song, “Tangled Up” for he and Lauren.
After visiting with the class, the couple joined Jeff Fincher, assistant dean in the College of Entertainment & the Arts, on stage at The Gathering, Lipscomb’s all-campus weekly chapel session.
Fincher asked a series of questions including why it’s important to stay grounded in the midst of such a crazy and consuming industry.
“You see people all of the time that basically come from nothing, are given a record deal and have such huge success, and then all of sudden they kind of lose and forget where they’ve come from and are overwhelmed with entitlement,” Rhett explained. “I think that with fame, the devil makes you think you deserve everything, and that is something since day one that Lauren and I have been very intentional about.”
He mentioned that one way he stays grounded is through the support of his wife and close friends and family.
“Lauren is one of the most insanely giving and loving people I know, and that is why I married her,” he continued. “She is so good about keeping me humble and I think for us, if we could rub that off on other artists, songwriters and people that we have to meet on a random day, then I think that is something we try to do, and invest in those people.”
Lauren, who grew up in Nashville, first met Rhett in the first grade, and explained how she has somewhat put her career as a nurse on hold to support Rhett and his dreams.
“Although I would consider myself a homebody, being on the road has become a new norm,” said Lauren. It’s cool to get to support him, and it’s obvious God has put him in this industry for a reason.”
Lauren also explained that although it is sometimes a difficult industry to be a part of, she is confident that God has them exactly where He does for a purpose, and she trusts His provision through the process.
“It is very evident to me that the Lord is just like, ‘hey you don’t want to do this sometimes, but you’re just gonna have to suck it up, because this is what you’re supposed to be doing, and so just keep doing it,’” Lauren explained. “There are so many good things that come from that and we try to always see the positives in that and trusting that for whatever reason, God has this faith in us to carry out whatever purpose that is, and that makes me feel good to know that He is walking us through it and that we are doing it for His glory, and not ours.”
The couple explained that no matter what, they are extremely grateful for this journey that God has them on in the music industry.