Thomas Rhett is killing it.
The guy scored two big wins at the 52nd ACM Awards recently and has now found himself in business with rap mogul Jay-Z, not to mention some important Nashville notables. Home Team Publishing launched last month as a partnership with longtime manager Virginia Davis, Rhett's dad Rhett Akins and Roc Nation, Jay-Z's all-encompassing entertainment company.
The project is representative of Thomas' love for songwriting more than anything else. "I was a songwriter before I was an artist," he explains to Billboard. "I was lucky enough to find a team that believed in me really early on. Songwriting is the foundation for my artist career, so I’m excited and honored to be able to invest in the future of the songwriting community." Thomas has recorded plenty of his own songs, of course, but so has Blake Shelton ("Honeybee"), Justin Moore ("Point At You"), Billy Currington ("Hey Girl") and Jason Aldean ("1994") to name a few others.
Davis, his manager and an increasingly celebrated Nashville mover and shaker, has been with him from the start. "We've been working together since he was beginning [as a] songwriter as a college student at Lipscomb; I think he was 20 years old when we started working together," she tells Billboard. "[Nashville publishing executive] Ben Vaughn sent me some demos on a writer that he thought was great. I listened and was blown away at the depth of talent and thought he was something really special, especially for someone so young. Just to witness and be a part of that evolution has really been one of the greatest privileges of my life so far."
Roc Nation's foray into the country music world began with last summer's publishing partnership with Warner/Chappell, the publishing arm of Warner Music Group. The first signing to Home Team Publishing is Eric Olsen.
Russ Penuell lives in Nashville with his girlfriend, three dogs and a lot of music.