We had the chance to speak with Republic Nashville duo Florida-Georgia Line yesterday afternoon. The country rockers have taken over the charts with their single “Cruise,” and have sold more than 225,000 digital copies of the single in just four months, ranking in at top 25 in major markets. The duo is made up of Tyler Hubbard from Monroe, Georgia and Brian Kelley from Ormond Beach, Florida. They’re hitting the country world hard with their expressive lyrics and rocking sound – and even getting cuts on some of the biggest stars’ newest albums out this year!
In our exclusive interview with the duo we find out how excited they were over news that Jason Aldean is cutting one of their tracks, what was going through their heads when they made their Grand Ole Opry debut this month, what special message they have for Jake Owen tour mates Love & Theft, if they’ve had a chance to reflect on everything so far, and what fans can expect from the duo this year. Get to know one of the hottest rising acts in country music right here on Keepin’ it Country and get ready to hear more of them on your radio soon. They’ll be hitting the road this Fall on the 11th annual CMT On Tour with Jake Owen.
So, you’re both from different states, so how exactly did the two of you meet?
Brian: We met in Belmont University here in Nashville, Tennessee. I had a third year writing class with one of Tyler’s roommates, and he introduced us saying that we’d hit it off musically. We became good friends, and when we graduated we moved in together and started writing songs. We came up with a name and decided to do it and here we are!
It was just announced that you’ll be on the CMT Tour with Jake Owen.. how excited are you guys?
Tyler: We’re jacked up. It’s a pretty big honor to be on that tour, and we’re pretty good friends with Jake and Love & Theft, also. We’re super excited to be able to travel with those guys and be a part of that tour.. it’s gonna be fun!
I’m actually talking to Love & Theft this week, is there a message for the boys?
Tyler: Uh.. nothing that’s appropriate for you to hear (laughs). I’m just kidding. You tell them congrats on the number one.
Brian: Tell them that we’ll have to celebrate that number one on every single show of the fall tour.
You guys just had your Opry debut.. what was going through your head when you walked out on the stage?
Brian: I’d say a lot of emotions and adrenalin and excitement. We played a couple of songs and it went by really fast. It was a really cool experience and we had our friends and family there… it was great, it was a really great night.
Have you guys been shocked at how well Cruise has been received?
Brian: Yes and no. We knew we had something special the day we wrote it and furthermore the day we tracked it, and Joey Moi, our producer, the way he made it sound. To have fans grasp on to it and radio support and accept it so quickly has just been a dream come true. You know, we kind of have to pinch ourselves daily because it’s just been a crazy last couple of months. It’s just a testament to our amazing fans – I feel like they’ve been spreading it like wildfire and we couldn’t be more grateful and more humbled to see their reactions to the song.
Have you been able to sit back and reflect on everything so far or is it still pretty much a blur?
Tyler: I’d say it’s somewhere in the middle. We’ve been so busy so we haven’t had time to take it all in, but when we get to lay down at night we get to think about where we are and what we’ve done. It’s just an exciting time for us right now, for sure.
This is kind of a fun one.. you two have influences from all over the place, but who would be your dream duet partners?
Tyler: For me, personally, it would be Lil’ Wayne. Is that weird?
Brian: I’d say for me either Wiz Khalifa or Garth Brooks. Garth’s so old school but he’s just Garth… although I’d take Lil’ Wayne, that works for me as well.
I know that you two have a lot of tattoos, but are there any plans for new ones?
Tyler: There’s always plans for new tattoos.
Tyler: Whether or not I’m getting one soon is to be determined, but we’re always brainstorming about new ones. I don’t have anything really specific right now that I’m ready to go get.
If you could put together your dream tour, who would you hit the road with?
Brian: The CMT Tour, basically. I mean, honestly, I think that’s two of my top favorites for sure as far as good buddies and good music.
I saw that Jason Aldean is going to be cutting one of your songs…
Tyler: Yeah, he’s going to have a song called “Black Tears” on his next record that was actually one of the first songs that me and Brian ever recorded on our old EP. It’s an honor to have a superstar like Aldean record a song that we wrote and believed in and pushed from day one. It’s pretty cool.
What was your reaction when you find out the news?
Tyler: We were excited. We got a phone call from Michael Knox and words just can’t describe it. It was very exciting, but at the same time, you can’t get too excited because you never know until you see it on the shelves. You never know for sure until it’s out. You know, after the last few months we’ve been pretty jacked up about it.
You’ve hit the road with some pretty big acts, but is there a favorite road moment that you’ve had?
Brian: Road moment? Gosh, there’s been so many… I’d say probably the top two or three was our second sold out show in Illinois at a place called Bunkers. I think there was 700-800 people there and when we hit the opening chorus of “Cruise” no one could hear themselves sing or play or anything because the crowd was so loud. That’s one example of it. That’s one of those goose-bump moments where we all looked at each other with smiles on our faces. That’s one of those cool moments when you know that Tyler and I, and our buddies that wrote the song, when we take it from a studio to a sold-out show and they’re singing every line… that’s kind of what you live for, right there.
As songwriters, where do you find you get your inspiration from?
Brian: I’d say from our lives and just being on the road and trying to stay creative and in a creative mindset. Just experiences and we’re lucky with what we do that we get a lot of different experiences that maybe most people won’t get to do. I’d say living life and getting to do stuff.
What is it about country music that you’re drawn to?
Tyler: I’d think, you know, country music is real. When it’s real it’s right. I don’t know, it has something that just hits you in a way that hits you that other genres can’t. There’s great music in other genres, and it can hit you too, but there’s the simplicity of it. Country music is awesome, we love it.
Do you guys have any plans about coming to Canada?
Brian: I think next year we’re going to be doing a few festivals and stuff up there. We’re excited.
Is there a message for fans for the support they’ve given you?
Tyler: I think our fans know us pretty well, and I think we have the best fans in the world. They’re so loyal and really spread the word for us. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be able to do this for a living. Our gratitude goes out to them and we can’t thank them enough, and we can’t wait to build up our fanbase.
Is there one thing you want to accomplish this year that you haven’t yet?
Brian: I think we got a couple things on that list. I’d say a number one would be cool to get this year, but that’s shooting for the stars. It still would be awesome, that’s for sure.
If you could write with anybody from any genre of music… who would you choose?
Tyler: I’d still have to go with Lil’ Wayne! I just want to be in a studio with Lil’ Wayne. As far as country music goes we pretty much get to write with the best, and we’ve been blessed enough to be surrounded with great songwriters that we get to write with.
Speaking of writing songs… is there a song out on the radio that you wish you wrote?
Brian: I’m trying to think of what’s out on the charts right now. I know there’s one that’s not out on the charts right now, but I think it might be his next single, but Lee Brice‘s “I Drive Your Truck.” It’s a great song.
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