A period in the history of country music that was both commercially and socially influential ended on Wednesday night.
On Wednesday night, the Florida Georgia Line duo—Tyler Hubbard, born in Monroe, Georgia, and Brian Kelley, born in Ormond Beach, Florida—performed their farewell concert together at the Minnesota State Fair. They thanked the audience for their unwavering support during their collaboration before beginning their set’s climax, “Cruise.”
In February 2022, speculations surfaced that the pair would be breaking up.
As their final set of shows together, Hubbard said he was “excited” for them because it would be “a chance to celebrate FGL, celebrate the fans, celebrate each other”
The two became adolescent faith and worship leaders after meeting at Nashville’s Belmont University, where Hubbard was a student eager to learn about the inner workings of the music industry and Kelley was a twice-transferred baseball pitcher.
By December 2011, the two had joined forces as a cover band (“We’re out-of-the-box thinkers, and if you can lead an audience to worship, you can lead a crowd to party,” Hubbard told the Tennessean). They signed with Republic Nashville, a division of the Big Machine Label Group, on July 16, 2012, following the release of their second EP, “It’z Just What We Do,” under that arrangement.
They published five albums over the following ten years, with over five million copies sold. However, the singers really made their mark as crucial pioneers in country music’s adaptation to a singles-heavy industry driven by digital downloads and streaming.
According to their publicity and label teams, the two musicians intend to pursue careers independently. In addition to a 2021 EP called “Sunshine State of Mind,” singles worth of solo work, and a stage musical called “May We All” that was based on the Florida Georgia Line song of the same name, Kelley has previously published several other projects. Hubbard just released the six-track EP “Dancin’ In The Country,” and through November, he will tour with Keith Urban.
The well-known group encountered social media squabbles in 2020, with Hubbard unfollowing Kelley during the US presidential campaign. He said, “I even contacted him and told him, I said, ‘Hey buddy, I love you.'” to radio personality Storme Warren. And right now, I adore you far more in real life than I do in your novels. As a result, I’m just going to stop following you. Nothing private. Still, I adore you.
Hubbard stated that although there is “no ill blood between the two of them,” the separation happened when Kelley suggested they go solo in a July 2022 visit to Bobby Bones’ show. They “may explore bringing the combo back together 10 to 15 years down the line,” Hubbard did say. He then jokingly said that even if they were paid $1 million to play a wedding, they would not get back together before then.
The duo’s fusion of rock, hip-hop, and country music had unheard-of commercial success for 12 years in Music City. When rap icon Nelly eventually remixed their 2012 debut single “Cruise,” it became the first country song to ever receive the Diamond (10 million sales) certification, spending 24 weeks at the top of Billboard’s Country sales chart. Nelly later collaborated with the duo once more on their last hit, 2021’s “Little Bit.”