Thomas Rhett had no idea just how much his life would change in the first grade.
That’s when he first met his current wife, Lauren Akins, and his love for her has provided inspiration for some of the biggest songs of his career, including the award-winning “Die A Happy Man.”
“I think it’s just one thing that I know really well,” Rhett, 27, tells CMT.com of his love for his wife. “I’m not perfect at it but I have gotten to learn how to harness what me and Lauren have to try and put it into song. Since I know so much about our relationship, what better subject for me to write about than something I know very well.”
These days his phone is loaded with more pictures of their adopted daughter Willa Gray than it is with his original song ideas. Within the next few weeks, he and Lauren will be parents of two baby girls under two.
“You can try to plan, and plan, and plan and try to envision yourself where you’re going to be at 35, but you really have no clue,” Rhett said. “For the majority of people, events happen in your life that take you one way or another that ultimately leads to where you are now.”
The title track of his third album Life Changes, available Sept. 8, chronicles the various changes in Rhett’s personal life that made him into the man he is today. Co-written with his father Rhett Akins, Jesse Frasure and Ashley Gorley, the verses paint a picture of Rhett starting out writing songs in college and wondering whether anyone will ever hear them. Then he sings of proposing to Lauren at 22 and later breaking the news to his parents that they’re going to be grandparents of a adopted baby from Uganda.
“While I was wrapping my head around being a dad,” Rhett sings, “a big wrench got thrown in the plans we thought we had. Now Lauren’s showing, got one on the way. Yeah, that’s two under two. Hey what can I say?”
And Rhett wouldn’t change it for the world.
“Adoption is an amazing thing,” Rhett said of adopting Willa Gray. “When you can take a child who might not have had anything else in life but to be in an orphanage until they’re 18, I think it’s a great thing for you to do. It’s probably the hardest thing we’ve ever done. But we wouldn’t take it back for the world, and we were more than willing and so glad to fight for her and bring her home. Now that she’s here it’s like she was always with us in the first place.”
“Unforgettable” follows his No. 1 Maren Morris duet, “Craving You.” His next show is Aug. 17 in Brownsville, Oregon.