Concert Spotlight: Interview with Florida Georgia Line

Superstar Duo Light Up Prudential Center
Florida Georgia Line

Just three albums deep into their career, Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line have been on a hot streak ever since their 2012 debut single “Cruise,” which is certified Diamond and is the best-selling country digital song of all time, and even featured a Nelly remix. The Florida and Georgia natives, respectively, have hit #1 on 12 of their 13 singles, and most recent record Dig Your Roots has spawned popular new tunes such as “H.O.L.Y.,” “May We All” featuring Tim McGraw, and “God, Your Mama, and Me” featuring Backstreet Boys.

The “Dig Your Roots Tour” continues in 2017 at Newark’s Prudential Center March 18, following numerous dates in 2016 that brought the country duo to Jones Beach last July and the Theater at Madison Square Garden in August. Despite the fast-track lifestyle, Brian and Tyler took some time with New York City Monthly to share their love for NYC fans, the #1 single they are most proud of, and why they have collaborated with so many other acts.

When Florida Georgia Line formed as a duo several years back, did you mostly plan on performing country music, or did you ever imagine that you would collaborate with a range of performers like Nelly, Backstreet Boys, and Ziggy Marley?

Brian Kelley: We are fans of all kinds of music, and our musical influences were all over the map growing up, so for us we always knew that we would collaborate in some way. Tyler and I have been lucky enough to work with some of the artists that have inspired us the most over the years. And the fact that these all came about in a completely organic way made it even more amazing.

You have toured with Taylor Swift and Jason Aldean to name a couple, but you have also enjoyed the success of three headlining tours including the current “Dig Your Roots Tour.” You have played Jones Beach, the Theater and the main stage at Madison Square Garden, and Best Buy Theater (now Playstation Theater). What is it about your fans in the New York City region that make it particularly fun for you?

Tyler Hubbard: We truly have the best fans. And the NYC crowd always delivers; they show up, sing with us, and dance on their feet the whole night. It is a rush for us every time.

12 of your 13 singles have reached #1 on one chart or another, which is unprecedented in country music for the most part, or across any genre of music for that matter. Do each of you have a #1 that you have a personal story with or a personal reason as to why you are proud of the achievement?

TH: I think for both of us “Cruise” will always be that special one – it was our first #1 as well as one that we wrote. When we first recorded it in the studio, Brian joked that he thought we would sell a million copies. Fast forward to now and we could have never imagined what an impact this song would make on the genre.

“Cruise,” “Sippin’ On Fire,” “This Is How We Roll,” and other upbeat songs are really crowd-pleasers at your shows, but you have also perfected the art of the ballad in a way that’s authentic and powerful, from “Dirt” to latest single “God, Your Mama, and Me” with Backstreet Boys to the beautiful “H.O.L.Y.” How important is it to you guys to show all different sides of you as musicians and as people?

BK: It is super important. As writers and artists we are constantly creating, evolving, and we are just scratching the surface of showing fans who we are. We have been able to show a part of us on the first three albums, but there are so many sides to Tyler and I. With these songs we have been able to peel back another layer and let everyone see more of who we are.

It’s always a party with Florida Georgia Line. What about New York City gets you pumped up and inspired to play when you’re in town, and why should music lovers not miss this particular tour?

TH: The magnetic energy of NYC always get us pumped up for a show for the Dig Your Roots Tour. We have amped up the production, and it is definitely an experience. We’ll be bringing the good vibes and guarantee that good times will be had.

Photo Credit: Justin Mrusek