Editor’s note: Thomas Rhett will join Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Chris Stapleton and Carrie Underwood as honorees at the 2016 CMT Artists of the Year special premiering Thursday (Oct. 20) at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
For a guy who’s only released two albums, Thomas Rhett has established himself as one of the most consistent hitmakers in country music.
Tangled Up, the singer-songwriter’s sophomore album released in September 2015, has already netted the hits “Crash and Burn,” “Die a Happy Man,” “T-Shirt” and “Vacation.” On Oct. 28, he’ll unveil a deluxe version of the album with five new tracks, including the new single, “Star of the Show.”
This marks the first time Rhett has been selected as a CMT Artists of the Year honoree, but Thursday’s (Oct. 20) special isn’t his first visit to the annual celebration.
“I was there last year helping to honor Florida Georgia Line,” Rhett tells CMT Hot 20 Countdown’s Katie Cook. “I just remember being just in that environment, like ‘Gosh, what would it feel like to be one of these artists that were named an Artist of the Year?’
“Just looking around the room and seeing the amazing talent and how many people showed up to their shows that year and how many records they had sold, it’s just one of those things that I think every artist wants to be a part of. When I was named one of those this year, I was blown away.
“My wife and I were just kind of reminiscing what this year’s done for my career and for us. To be able to be in that room as someone they picked is just a true honor.”
Looking back over the past year, he gives special credit to those who have helped him build his career.
“I’m just proud of how my team has helped me pick what songs we’re gonna put out to radio and helping me design my show,” he said. “You know, helping me go from someone who is a 20-minute act onstage to maybe more of an hour act. My team has really helped me prepare for what is happening right now.
“But I would say ‘Die a Happy Man’ would be one of the biggest things I was proud of this last year. I was proud of the entire record, but that one was really special for me. It gave me a little bit of a boost, and I’m just very, very proud of how that song was written and how personal it was and how well it did.”
Rhett will close out his 2016 performance schedule with an overseas tour through Ireland, the U.K., Belgium and the Netherlands staring Nov. 9 in Belfast.