ACM Awards: Backstage and Upfront with Thomas Rhett

Rhett Talks Center Point Road Goals and Sharing the Male Artist Category with Friends

Thomas Rhett assumed his daughters Willa Gray and Ada James were probably way up past their bedtime and watching when their dad win the ACM for male artist of the year for the first time.

“They should be in bed,” Rhett said during his backstage press conference after Sunday’s (April 7) ACM Awards. “But if they’re staying with my grandparents, they’re definitely not asleep. It will be really cool to go home.

“We were in Australia last month playing some shows, and I had just got done doing soundcheck and [Willa was] like, ‘Daddy, I’m so proud of you.’ First of all, I’m like how do you know how to say that? Second of all, it just melted me.

“It’s been really awesome to share some of these moments with my kids the way I got to share these moments with my dad, as well. It’s kind of coming full circle in a way. I do this for them, man. I write songs for them, and it will be really cool to show them this trophy when it comes in the mail probably in six months.”

Here’s more from Rhett’s backstage Q&A:

On whether he was thinking he was going to win… “We never go into award shows expecting anything. We’re just glad to be there. We’re glad to be nominated. I was just looking at that card that they gave me, just looking at those names in that category … all those people are truly my best friends, and I listen to their music. We hang out with them Mondays and Tuesdays because those are our weekends. The fact that their music has shaped who I am and I took a lot of things from them, gosh, I love that.”

On how awards impact his definition of success… “I never felt like I changed at all … Probably having kids and having a wife I love so much just really put a lot of things in perspective and so I really just try to live every day in the present and being present this year is my New Year’s Resolution … Success for me is always writing better songs, and playing better shows. And I’ll always try to be the best dude that I can.”

On the next chapter in his career …Center Point Road comes out May 31, and I have a couple cool collaborations. Little Big Town is on there. Kelsea Ballerini is on there, and Center Point Road is the street that I grew up on 20 minutes north of Nashville in a town called Hendersonville. So much of the songs on this album were shaped by past experiences of being in high school, in college, being young, successes, failures, and all the firsts and disasters in your life. I think I got to pull a lot of inspiration from that. So on this record, I went a little more rootsy and just very nostalgic on this record. I think people are going to really enjoy it.”

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Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.