Thomas Rhett and Katy Perry recently dropped the music video for their current collaboration, “Where We Started.” Now they’re sharing a behind-the-scenes look into what exactly went down leading up to their dreamy debut.
Interestingly, the duet partners never actually crossed paths until they teamed up for the introspective pop-laden ballad, which belongs on Rhett’s sixth studio album of the same name. Perry, who says she has always been interested in recording a country song, even confessed that she had no clue who the 32-year-old Georgian was before his team reached out to her to ask if she would join him on the track.
In this clip, Perry, 37, explains that she initially consulted fellow American Idol judge and country star Luke Bryan before deciding whether to contribute vocals on Rhett’s record.
“I actually asked my friend Luke Bryan about Thomas Rhett. I go up to Luke, and I say, ‘Luke! What do you know about this Thomas Rhett guy? Is he a good guy?” Perry shared. “He said, ‘He’s a good one.’ He was also jealous. He was like, ‘I can’t believe it.”
“This is the first time we’ve met in real life. It’s pretty cool,” she added. “I heard this song and I was like, ‘Oh! There it is!’ After wanting to do a song in the country genre, I’ve never found that song until today.”
Rhett, meanwhile, has long been a fan of Perry. But when he heard his team was considering her for the song, he didn’t think she would say ‘yes.’ When the “Dark Horse” pop star obliged, he couldn’t wait to work with her.
“When we wrote ‘Where We Started,’ it wasn’t even on my brain to have a feature, to be honest with you,” Rhett shared regarding the song he wrote with Jon Bellion, Ashley Gorley, and Jesse Frasure. “As I started to listen to it, it felt like it was missing something. Then I was told it was sent to Katy and I was like, ‘There’s no way she’s going to respond. Second of all, she has probably never heard of me. Third of all, is she going to like it at all? Then the next day, she said she resonated with the lyric so much and the melody. I was just floored.”
“I’m so glad we met today. This is truly a dream come true of mine,” he continued. “This is our first meeting ever, and also our first, kind of, performance scene together in this music video. So, we’re really just now getting to know each other. Every scene is a little more cohesive.”
The official music video for “Where We Started” finds Perry dressed in a flowy gown and corset and Rhett sporting denim. The artists appear in separate rooms featuring cascading sheets as they sing about their teenage years and reflect on where it all began for them in their individual journeys to stardom.
“Those days when you’re brokenhearted/ And you get knocked down/ And you say you don’t know how far we’re gonna go/ Just look at that road and think about where we started/ Keep your eyes on me ’cause talk is cheap/ We’re all we need, yeah/ Darlin,’ I know how far we’re gonna go/ Just look at that road and think about where we started,” Rhett and Perry sing.
“The concept of the video is very performance-based but sort of this loose interpretation of Katy and Thomas reflecting on just their pasts and where they are today and what got them there,” Patrick Tracy, who directed the music video, explains.
To honor that concept, this behind-the-scenes clip looks back at some videos from Perry and Rhett’s respective childhoods.
“I’ve always wanted to do this. I’ve always wanted to come back to my roots and this is the first chapter of that,” Perry, who struggled as a musician in Nashville before getting her big break in LA, shared. “It’s an example of great storytelling. That is what country music is. It is perfect at telling the best story. When I sing that second verse, that’s the life that I’ve already lived. I was here in Franklin, Tenn., from age 13-16 staying at the Mara Suites eating my Chick-Fil-A, and going to Bluebird Café. When I started, I had two cars repossessed. I would always go overdrawn by like one Crunchwrap supreme. It would be like, ‘Okay. $3.75 is going to cost me $38.75. But just all of those beautiful moments of hard times.”
“I’m excited to see footage of you from back in the day,” she tells Rhett. “I’ve seen a couple of you in the cargo Hollister pants, the puka shell necklace with your wife.”
“We’ve all been there,” Rhett added, before opening up about his road to success as clips of him in his younger years appear in the background. “I was kind of writing and never had any vision really of becoming an artist at all. I remember my wife looking at me. She’s like, ‘Why don’t you just sing what you feel like you should sing?’”
“A pivotal moment for me was when I decided to write a personal love song about my wife and that song being, ‘Die A Happy Man,’ it was a huge pivotal moment that allowed me to move in different directions,” he added. “There are so many days in the last decade that have been in weird times like in the chorus where it said, ‘On those days when you’re broken-hearted,’ think about where we were.”
Aside from his journey in music, Rhett also has experienced a journey with his wife and childhood sweetheart Lauren Akins. A large part of that is the milestones he experiences with daughters Willa Gray, 6, Ada James, 5, Lennon Love, 2, and Lillie Carolina, 11 months. Perry, too, has a 2-year-old named Daisy Dove, who she shares with fiancé Orlando Bloom.
“We literally talked about our kids the entire time… how we’re raisin’ ’em and what we’re feeding ’em,” he told Audacy of the bonding moments he shared with Perry during breaks on the set. “I think that’s what you do as a parent these days, you’re just like, ‘Oh, let me show you this one picture on my phone of my kid that you’ve never met!’ ”
“I feel like when you’re a parent and you talk to another parent it ends up being the majority of the conversation you have because that’s just what your life is consumed in,” he added, per the report. “So to be able to talk dad-ing and mom-ing with someone like Katy was kind of hilarious, but awesome at the same time.”