Photo courtesy of Adam Taylor
I had a chance to get a Q & A with Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line, who will be showcased on the Jagermeister Stage at the Preakness InfieldFest this Saturday. The country duo (Hubbard of Monroe, Georgia and Kelley from Ormond Beach, Florida) have been named both ACM New Artist of the Year and New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year.
Their debut single “Cruise” earned the duo their first multi-week #1 on the Country charts and is the fastest-rising debut single for a new duo since Brooks & Dunn’s “Brand New Man” two decades ago, according to Billboard.
Photo courtesy of Adam Taylor
Appearing on the Jagermeister Stage Saturday will be Kristen & the Noise beginning at 8:20am, followed by Florida Georgia Line at noon, and Chevelle at 2:30pm. On the main stage will be Afrojak at 10:45am, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at 1:15pm and finally Pitbull at 3:45pm. Going to be an epic day of music and racing and of course the ABRV will be at the InfieldFest for all the action!
John Cox (JC): Talk a bit about how you started off in the music industry. Did you play any instruments as a kid or sing? Were any of your family members musicians/involved in the music industry?
Tyler Hubbard (TH): Aside from a homemade CD and one show with friends in high school, I didn’t play country music in front of a crowd until college. Music was probably the only thing that would hold my attention long enough to get me through college, the more I became passionate about writing all kinds of stuff, the more doors opened.
Brian Kelley (BK): I was into baseball as a kid, but even at a young age, I understood that music can evoke any kind of emotion, and that’s something we take into all our shows–the people coming to see us are there to experience, to enjoy, to party, to live out those songs.
JC: Describe your experience at Belmont University in Nashville – as well as how the two of you met to form Florida Georgia Line. What other connections did you make in the college days that have been beneficial to your career?
TH: We met through a mutual friend and really built a good foundation of friendship above all, and that’s what made it work. Everything we’ve done together–writing, music, singing–it’s come really easily and naturally. It was us doing it because we wanted to.
BK: Belmont was an awesome experience and we made some amazing friends that have continued to support us along the way. It’s been fun to all be starting out in our careers together and see where everyone has landed.
JC: Who are some of the artists/ what are some songs you all are listening to now?
TH: Young Wild & Free – Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, Bruno Mars; Sure Be Cool If You Did – Blake Shelton; Get Your Buzz On – The Cadillac Black; Thrift Shop – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis; Runnin’ Out of Air – Love and Theft.
BK: Locked Out of Heaven -Bruno Mars; I Drive Your Truck – Lee Brice; Night Train – Jason Aldean; Lego House – Ed Sheeran; It’s Time – Imagine Dragons.
Photo courtesy of Kristin Barlowe
JC: Have you all ever been to the Preakness Stakes before, or any thoroughbred racing event for that matter?
TH: We have not, but we can’t wait to get there!
JC: Have you ever met Pitbull, Macklemore or Ryan Lewis before? Are you a fan of their music?
BK: We are huge fans of their music and hope to cross paths with them both soon!
JC: What’s the biggest show Florida Georgia Line has ever played?
TH: We’ve been lucky enough this year to be open for Taylor Swift and Luke Bryan. The crowds have been awesome and all of these shows have been big!
JC: Orb just won the Kentucky Derby and is going for the Triple Crown. Would you like to see him cruise through the Preakness Stakes with a win or do you see anyone stopping him?
BK: Cruise on through for sure!
JC: The Preakness has been a time-honored tradition and event since 1873 and Last year the crowd was over 120,000. What does it mean to play such a big event and what do you look forward to the most about the day?
TH: We are honored to have the chance to be a part of this event and tradition. We can’t wait to take the stage and bring more good times to all of the Preakness fans.
JC: What other sporting events do you watch? Do you have a favorite team you follow?
BK: Baseball and football. Go FSU!
TH: I follow anything Georgia!
JC: Will you be at the Belmont Stakes in New York on June 8 if Orb wins the Preakness?
TH: June 8 is right in the midst of the big CMA Music Festival in Nashville, TN. During this week, we will be performing and meeting fans otherwise we would have loved to be there!
JC: Thanks guys, looking forward to Saturday!