Birthday Boy Thomas Rhett Releases New Song (Featuring Famous Friends!) to Aid Coronavirus Relief
“On my 30th birthday, we are in the middle of a world-wide pandemic affecting every single human on earth, all while our town of Nashville is still healing from devastating tornadoes," Thomas Rhett said
Thomas Rhett is celebrating his birthday in a very special way.
The country star marked the big 3-0 on Monday by releasing new music and giving his fans an intimate acoustic performance on Instagram Live from inside his home. Thomas Rhett played his new song “Be a Light” which dropped moments before and features fellow artists Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, Keith Urban and Chris Tomlin. Proceeds from the track will benefit the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund to aid musicians impacted by the coronavirus. He also performed portions of his fan requested tracks “Die a Happy Man,” “Beer with Jesus,” “Sixteen,” “Unforgettable,” “Watcha Got in That Cap” and “Front Porch Junkies” during his live show.
“Cool way to celebrate my birthday, putting a song out for you guys… the more you stream it, the more you download it, just know your money is going to a great cause,” he told his fans before beginning his at-home concert.
“I wrote ‘Be a Light’ last year as a way to process negativity and sadness I was seeing in the world,” Thomas Rhett said in a statement.
“Now, as I sit in my home with my family on my 30th birthday, we are in the middle of a world-wide pandemic affecting every single human on earth, all while our town of Nashville is still healing from devastating tornadoes that destroyed so much of our city less than one month ago. But, among the wreckage, I see us come together in ways I never dreamed possible. I knew in my heart this was the time to share this message with the world and our community. The voices who join me on this track are some of the brightest lights I know. I hope this song serves as a reminder that we are all in this together.”
During his Instagram Live, Thomas Rhett said he’s been having a “relaxing” day and “in a strange way this whole quarantine has forced everybody to slow down and realize how good we got it.” The star also revealed that he had seen his dad — Rhett Akins, 50, who welcomed a new son two weeks ago — for the first time in about a month earlier in the day, but the two followed coronavirus safety protocol and stood six feet apart.
Thomas Rhett said his best friends also visited to wish him a happy birthday, but they followed social distancing measures as well and met on the driveway where they stood feet apart.
“It’s turned into a concert, there’s 18,000 people in here right now,” Thomas Rhett said as he strung the guitar he told followers he previously received from his dad. “This is how you know you’re getting old, when you’re Googling the lyrics to your own song,” he said as he indeed forgot some of his lyrics and pulled them up. “Next time I will actually learn the words to my songs,” he later quipped.
The star joked that he has “song ADD” and “can’t listen to songs much past like the chorus” as he explained why he only sang the first portion of each of his jams. He even briefly sang “happy birthday to me.”
The timely new release — co-written by Thomas Rhett, Matt Dragstrem, Josh Miller and Josh Thompson — has a heartfelt message about staying strong even through difficult times.
“In a time full of war be peace / In a time full of doubt just believe,” the song goes. “Yeah there ain’t that much difference between you and me / In a time full of war be peace.”
Further along, the song encourages listeners to be the change they want to see. “In a place that needs change make a difference / In a time full of noise just listen / Cause life is but a breeze better live it / In a place that needs a change make a difference.”
Thomas Rhett and his wife Lauren Akins, 30, welcomed their third child together last month, a daughter named Lennon Love. Lennon makes baby girl number three for the happy couple, who are also parents to Willa Gray, 4½, and Ada James, 2½.
“Lennon Love Akins was born at 8:30 AM on February 10th! It was such a joy to watch this little angel be brought into the world,” he captioned his Instagram post announcing her arrival. “My wife is just incredible through the entire birth🙌🏼 watching our kids meet Lennon for the first time was probably the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life! Ada James and Willa Gray are going to be the best big sisters on the planet. The Lord is so good and I’m so grateful for my beautiful growing family!! Y’all pray for us as we switch from man on man defense to zone👍”
Just two days ahead of his birthday, the star shared a hilarious video of himself taking a tumble when he tried to swing on a tree branch in his backyard.
Thomas Rhett seemed to know how things would turn out from the jump. “This is definitely gonna fall,” he said as his wife recorded. The mom of three then got their daughter Ada James to join in on the fun. “Say, ‘Use your biceps, daddy,’” she said to their little one who cheered her dad on and giggled once he landed in the grass.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.