By John wirt
September 21, 2012
Tyler Hubbard is from Monroe, Ga. Brian Kelley is from Ormond Beach, Fla. Together, they are country music duo Florida Georgia Line.
“We wanted to represent where we’re from,” the traveling Kelley said from somewhere in West Virginia. “I’m from Florida, Tyler’s from Georgia and the Line represents where we meet in the middle, creatively, musically and as friends.”
Florida Georgia Line released a five-song digital EP, It’z Just What We Do, earlier this month. It contains the duo’s ripe for summer single, “Cruise,” and, the song Kelley and Hubbard open their shows with, the EP’s rap-featuring title track.
“It’s been a ride so far,” Hubbard said of the duo’s developing career. “We started out on two bar stools in a writers’ circle. We built this thing from the ground up.
‘It’s been a cool process watching it grow, from radio stations picking us up to fans knowing our lyrics. It’s a special time for us. We’re looking forward to seeing where it goes.”
Hubbard, 25, and Kelley, 26, met while they were enrolled in music business programs at Belmont University in Nashville.
“We hit it off and started hanging out and writing songs together,” Hubbard said. “We decided to pursue this music thing together, see what happens.”
Songwriting came first.
“Honestly,” Hubbard recalled, “it was a while before we considered doing the artist thing. We just enjoyed writing songs together.”
Eventually, they wanted more than writing credits.
“We wanted something that we can call our own,” Kelley said. “We didn’t want to sound like everybody else on the radio or sound like a certain thing.”
Kelley cited the duo’s diverse influences.
“From Lynyrd Skynyrd to Lil’ Wayne,” he said. “From Alabama to Garth Brooks. I mean, we’re pulling from tons of different places and kind of making country music our own.”
Kelley and Hubbard have shared influences in country star Jason Aldean and Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa.
“Wiz Khalifa’s writing and rapping are really cool and fresh,” Kelley said. “He’s got crazy melodies and awesome production. Getting out of the box, getting into different kinds of music challenges you and makes you a better writer.”
“It’z Just What We Do” Kelley noted, pairs a rap verse with a rock chorus.
“You see everybody bopping their heads on the verse and then they’re throwing their hands up on the chorus,” he said.
Every song on the duo’s EP sounds like a natural mix of styles.
“We believe in every song on our EP,” Hubbard said.
Producer Joey Moe, who previously worked with country singer Jake Owen and rock band Nickelback, guided Florida Georgia Line’s EP.
“There was nobody else we were even considering,” Kelley said. “Joey took us to the next level, for sure. I don’t think we’d feel comfortable letting anybody else touch our music.”
Florida Georgia Line plans to record more songs for a forthcoming full-length album.
“We’re gonna record five or six more songs and release a full album in probably the next two months,” Hubbard said. “We’re excited about getting back in the studio.”