Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard's tailgate writing sessions, not long after the two met as students at Nashville's Belmont University, kicked off a partnership that has made them one of country's hottest acts.
The duo's breakthrough single, "Cruise," hit the Top 10 just 14 weeks after its release. It's the kind of affirmation few young artists ever experience, and yet was just the cap on a year that saw Brian and Tyler thrill audiences on tour dates with Alabama, Brantley Gilbert and Jake Owen; cut an EP and their first album, Here's To The Good Times, with producer Joey Moi; and sign a label deal with Republic Nashville — after selling nearly 200,000 digital downloads independently.
The journey that led to their breakthrough project began in two small southern towns--Monroe, Georgia, for Tyler and Ormond Beach, Florida, for Brian. Both loved the music of their churches and both branched out into a wide variety of popular music, heavy on the country.
Brian played baseball at Florida State, and then transferred to Belmont, where he met Tyler. The two knew right away that their vocal blend was special, and they became dedicated co-writers from the beginning. They played the city's writers' nights, and reaction was so good they decided they'd like to take a shot as artists as well as songwriters. So they set out in Brian's Tahoe, at first doing acoustic gigs, and later with a band. In the meantime, there were a variety of day jobs to pay the bills and keep the dream alive.
Their first, independently produced EP, 2010's Anything Like Me, included the Tyler-penned song "Black Tears," which was covered by Jason Aldean on his chart-topping 2012 album Night Train.
"The one thing that set us apart and made us able to sell copies of 'Cruise' before we had a deal with Republic," says Tyler, "was the fact that we did work hard. Instead of looking for a deal, we were looking for fans. So we went out there for two years and just did show after show. We knew that when the fans were there the labels would be there and that's exactly what happened. That's what set us apart, and that's what led us to the best team in Nashville."
Florida Georgia Line made their Grand Ole Opry debut August 12, 2012.
"It is an honor to play the Opry and to stand on such a legendary stage," says Tyler.
"Playing the Opry is a dream come true!" Brian adds. "It's at the top of our musical bucket list."
"Playing the Opry is a dream come true! It's at the top of our musical bucket list."