Nashville, Tenn. (AP) – Singer-songwriter Tyler Hubbard was all set to hang up his boots when Brian Kelly, his duet partner in Florida Georgia Line, said he wanted to go solo.
The pair were together for more than a decade, and whether you were a fan of their bro country sound or not, their music (“Cruz,” “Meant to Be,” “Round Here”) inspired country music for a generation. The fan set the tone. Hubbard, who had recorded more than a dozen hits as a songwriter for other artists such as FGL and Jason Aldean, thought he would just focus on writing for other artists.
Hubbard said, “It’s a really big change in anybody’s career, 10 years or 12 years, and that’s to say we’re just going to pivot.” “I didn’t expect it to come then. And it took me a minute, you know, it actually happened. But we were also in the middle of a pandemic. And so I didn’t have a choice anyway.
But the COVID-19 pandemic made him realize that his need to perform and make records was as strong as ever. Now a year after launching her solo career, Hubbard has reintroduced herself to fans with two hit solo songs and a debut record.
Hubbard said, “I’m thankful that (Bryan) had the courage to step into this new place and make the decision that ultimately led me to make the same decision and got me to where I am now.”
Both Kelly and Hubbard have stated that there is no blood between them and that FGL is not breaking up, but rather “taking a break.” Now the two are ready to explore the kind of music they couldn’t make together. Florida-born singer Kelly is exploring her coastal country music roots, while Hubbard’s self-titled solo debut record, released in January, finds him reflecting on his personal life as a father and a husband and his faith. Gave the opportunity
But Hubbard acknowledges that there are always skeptics when an artist goes solo after phenomenal success in a group or band. The Georgia-born singer took it as a challenge.
Hubbard said, “I was told by a lot of people that it couldn’t be done and that I should definitely continue with FGL.”
Hubbard’s two successful singles, the platinum-certified “5 Foot 9”, about his wife, and “Dancin’ in the Country”, which was co-written with Keith Urban, show that fans have not forgotten Hubbard, Or possibly he is changing the minds of those who never considered themselves FGL fans.
Producer and songwriter Jordan Schmidt was the first person Hubbard and Kelly’s publishing company Tree Vibes signed, and he recalls that they instilled in him a strong work ethic. The pair would bring their writers out on a bus with them as they toured and would spend time before or after shows just writing and producing songs.
Schmidt was therefore a natural fit as co-producer and co-writer on Hubbard’s solo album.
“Obviously it’s going to be different, he’s calling all the shots,” Schmidt said. “But in the grand scheme, it’s the same mindset and work ethic they had with FGL ‘I want to write songs that move the needle.’ He is still giving songs that sound unique and different, just like ‘Cruise’.
And he’s paying his dues like a new job. Hubbard opened for Urban on their last tour and is hitting festivals and fairs this summer, with a somewhat different vibe from Florida Georgia Line’s high-energy, big pyro arena shows.
Hubbard said, “I’ve really enjoyed being able to take it back and play these little shows and really have little or no production.”
And just as Hubbard has grown, so have his fans.
Hubbard said, “I hope they can grow with me, because I think this was one season.” Memories.”
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