NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — Singer-songwriter Tyler Hubbard was more than ready to hang up his boots when his duo on the Florida Georgia Line When partner Brian Kelley said he wanted to sing solo.
The duo have been together for more than a decade, and whether you like their sibling country music or not, their music (“Cruise,” “Meant To Be,” “Round Here”) set the tone For a generation of country fans. As a songwriter for FGL and other artists such as Jason Aldean, Hubbard, who had written more than a dozen hits, figured he’d focus on writing for other artists.
“It’s a really big shift in someone’s career, 10 or 12 years, and saying we’re going to pivot now,” Hubbard said. “I didn’t expect it to come. It took me a minute and, you know, it really did. But we are also in the midst of a pandemic. So I have no choice. “
But the COVID-19 pandemic has made him realize that his need to perform and document is as strong as ever. Now, a year after launching his solo career, Hubbard has reintroduced himself to fans with two hit solo songs and a debut record.
“I’m grateful (Brian) had the courage to go into this new field and make the decisions that ultimately led me to do the same and brought me to where I am now,” Hubbard said.
Both Kelly and Hubbard said there was no animosity between them and that FGL did not disband, but “Resting.” Now, the two appear to be exploring music they couldn’t make together. Florida-born singer Kelley has been exploring his coastal country music, and Hubbard’s self-titled solo debut album, released in January, gave him a chance to reflect on his personal life as a father and husband and his beliefs.
But Hubbard acknowledges that there are always skeptics when an artist goes solo after the success of a group or band. The Georgia-born singer sees this as a challenge.
“A lot of people told me it couldn’t be done and that I should absolutely stay with FGL,” Hubbard said. “It lit a spark, a fire, in me.”
Two of Hubbard’s most successful singles, certified platinum “5ft 9,” about his wife and “Dancing in the Country,” This one, co-written with Keith Urban, shows that fans haven’t forgotten about Hubbard, or maybe he’s changing the minds of those who never thought of themselves as FGL fans.
Producer and songwriter Jordan Schmidt was the first to sign to Hubbard and Kelly Publishing Tree Vibez, he recalls, they instilled in him a strong work ethic. The duo would take their writers with them on the bus when they were on tour, and spent time writing and composing songs before and after shows.
As such, Schmidt is well-suited to serve as co-producer and co-writer for Hubbard’s solo album.
“Naturally it’s going to be different, he’s calling the shots,” Schmidt said. “But in the grand scheme of things, it’s the same mentality and work ethic he had at FGL, which was ‘I want to write songs that make a splash.'” He’s still coming out with songs that really sound different, like It was the same as “Cruise” back then. “
And he puts in his dues like any new act. Hubbard, who opened for Urban on his tour last fall, will be taking part in festivals and fairs this summer, something a little different than the Florida Georgia Line’s high-energy, massive fireworks arena show.
“I’m really excited to be able to spin it off and run these smaller shows with very little to no production,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard has grown up, and so have his fans.
“I hope they can improve with me because I feel like it’s a season,” Hubbard recalled. “
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