Tyler Hubbard was maybe kissing elephants in Africa or browsing marketplaces in Marrakech when Brian Kelley sits down to catch up with Country Update. Brian, the Florida to the Georgia, is also on holidays. However, he chose to return to his homestate for a little R&R ahead of their first ever headline concert tour of Australia.
The recently Grammy-nominated duo is in high demand, breaking records and selling out stadiums like nobody’s business. Brian now often goes by BK, and Florida Georgia Line is no longer just a name, but a brand identifiable by its acronym.
They’re the guys featured in the Bebe Rexha ear candy ‘Meant To Be’ that radio can’t get enough of. It’s officially this and last century’s longest running No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, surpassing 50 weeks. An incredible feat. “’Meant To Be’ took us on a crazy ride and opened up a whole new market for us. Research was coming back from a lot of different countries saying people were enjoying it,” BK explains. “That song is the best of all the worlds we live in. It’s got the country twang, it’s got a beat behind it, and led by a piano, a loop and pretty much just vocals.”
FGL have now spent more weeks as Billboard Hot Country Songs chart toppers than any recording artist ever – over 90 weeks, and ironically the King of Country, George Strait sits runner up on 84 weeks. Amazingly, they’ve ascended to those dizzying heights with just six No. 1 singles on the chart averaging 15 weeks each. Strait’s credits have accumulated over numerous decades while FGL have achieved this within a relatively short seven-year career and a mere four albums. Never had a song been at the chart’s summit for longer than 16 weeks prior to FGL’s scorching debut single ‘Cruise’ (24 weeks).
From day dot, FGL was labelled one of the bro-country pioneers for blending country with pop, rock and hip-hop. Those redneck accents and drinking, loving and driving lyrics were a combination all unto their own…albiet not palatable to all. Now they’re sticking it to country traditionalists with their fourth album Can’t Say I Ain’t Country.
“I think there’s some people that with every song we release we’re slowly winning them over, softening their antipathy and that’s really important to us,” BK says, revealing that he and Tyler decidedly chose to keep a positive mindset and refrain from defending their music from criticism.
“We’ve disrupted the industry in a good way from 2012 on and that’s because we’ve chosen to do music our own way and create our own brand of country. Call it what you want, but it’s our own and we’re in our own lane. That’s what George Strait did, that’s what Tim McGraw has done, even Sam Hunt. Everybody’s their own country artist, that’s what makes it cool.”
…read the rest in Issue 92.