Thomas Rhett has proven he isn't afraid to crossgenre lines when it comes to his music. The 27-year-old has released three albums, including his recent Life Changes record. With each project, Rhett fuses country music with blues, R&B, rock and jazz -- bold and brave decisions that, for Rhett, simply pay homage to his childhood.
"At a very young age I was introduced to literally every different kind of music.," Rhett tells Music Row. "Whether it was bluegrass or hip hop or heavy metal or whatever, music was always a huge part of my life and it was the thing that brought me close to a lot of friends. We all gathered and socialized over all different kinds of music. What I’ve noticed is that 'genre' is just a word these days. It’s more like good music versus bad music rather than it is hip hop or reggae or country music. Great songs can transcend boundaries like never before. And that’s really cool to see happen in music today."
Not that Rhett's choices have always come easy for him. The "Marry Me" singer admits he struggles with not being a rule-follower in an industry that is often reticent to change, but he is fueled by his love of authentic and honest music.
"I’m probably one of the biggest, most second-guessing people on the planet," concedes Rhett. "I will ask a 100 people what their opinion is before I finally make a decision. But since the beginning I’ve always enjoyed blurring the lines. Whether it’s from what I’m wearing to songs I’m singing, ‘cause what I do is definitely not traditional country music ... Every 20 years I feel we repeat a little bit and we kind of do something that’s been done before, just in a different way. And I think people that are defining what country music is sort of forget that people were slamming what country music was 20 years ago as well.
"People say, 'We need real country music like Merle Haggard and all those outlaws,'" he adds. "Well, the reason they were called outlaws is because they were doing something that wasn’t the standard in country music. I guess you can call me an outlaw in a way, except for the fact that I wear skinny jeans and Vans."
Life Changes was recently nominated for a Grammy for Best Country Album. Rhett will head out in 2018 on his Life Changes Tour, with Brett Young serving as his opening act, along with Russell Dickerson, Jillian Jacqueline and Carly Pearce. A list of all of Rhett's upcoming shows is available on his website.