Florida Georgia Line: Brian Kelley on the Band's First Headlining Tour

Categories: Q&A

Florida Georgia Line
Kristin Barlow
Florida Georgia Line is just here to party.
Here's to the Good Times, country duo Florida Georgia Line's platinum debut record, is more than just an album title; it's a promise to fans for a tightly woven, danceable, and good-time rocking theme of country music and party anthems. Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, from Ormond Beach, Florida, and Monroe, Georgia, respectively, have achieved international success by staying true to that promise since their first single, "Cruise", shot to number one.

"That Fireball whiskey whispers / temptation in my ear" -- so it says in the chorus for the second song, "Round Here", on FGL's record. That festive cinnamon Fireball whiskey will taste even sweeter this Thursday night when FGL takes the stage at Comerica Theatre to headline the annual Almost Acoustic Christmas concert.

Now, one year removed from the groundbreaking success of Here's to the Good Times, Up on the Sun spoke with FGL member Brian Kelley about achieving his wildest dreams, crossing genres to work with Nelly, and the band's first headlining tour.

I've heard your debut album referred to as the party album of the summer.
I'd have to agree with that. We wanted to make an album that represents Tyler and me, where we come from and where we're at in life. We just put songs on it that we fell in love with that we wrote and a couple that we didn't. It's a feel-good album.

There are a couple darker songs, and a couple songs that make you think and reminisce. We just wanted to create an album that people can enjoy and know when they come to a show that they're going to party. We're very blessed that we have the most amazing fans in the world.

What does country music mean to you?
Country music is amazing. We love all sorts of music, but country music is real and it comes from the heart. People are just connecting with it. The songs and the lyrics are honest and the stories are awesome. Country music has a great vibe and a great family atmosphere. On this side, it's great to be part of that family and that tradition. We love country music.

What other music do you listen to?
We love rock, hip-hop, rap. If you listen to the album we have influences all over the map.

Would you ever record music in a different genre?
Yeah. We actually did a remix with Nelly on our first single, "Cruise", and we did a song on his album called "Walk Away." We're big fans of crossing genres and doing things with different artists, but only if it feels right. We're not just going to do anything that comes around, but if it feels like Florida Georgia Line then we'll do it.

What was it like working with Nelly?
It was incredible. He's a genius, man. He's such a hard worker and he's incredibly talented and creative. The success of him has been incredible, but even more than that, the relationship we have built with him and his crew is great. He's become a mentor to us and a big brother. We're just very blessed to be a part of that and it's a dream come true to work with him. I've been a fan of his music since I was in school.

Describe the songwriting process for Florida Georgia Line?
You never know where songs are going to come from or how they're going to start. A lot of times we just have an idea, or a hook, or a melody or a title. You just never know, but when it does come together you just gotta be ready to write it down.

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