Florida Georgia Line “Cruise” Into Big Time
It only took 25 minutes for the members of Florida Georgia Line to write their debut single, “Cruise,” the song that netted the duo its first gold record.
One day after the award, the duo—known individually as Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard—was still flying high with adrenalin and excitement over “Cruise,” which sold more than 500,000 copies in five months and 10,000 in a single day.
“The label surprised us late last night after the show,” said Brian backstage after a performance at the Fillmore Silver Spring in Maryland on the second night of Jake Owen’s headlining tour. “After the show we went across the street and the entire management team was there. Everybody was sitting around, having a drink. I was in the middle of taking a bite of calamari when they said, ‘Hold on. We’ve got to make an announcement!’ Before we knew it, we had plaques with gold records!”
Brian, who is from Ormond Beach, Fla., and Tyler, from Monroe, Ga., met three years ago in Nashville and immediately began writing and performing together. Their similar upbringings, including leading worship groups in their churches, helped them develop their high-energy, high-powered stage show, which has audience members dancing and screaming through a short set that culminates with “Cruise.”
“When we started doing this, we’d all have acoustic guitars and everyone would be sitting down,” said Brian of the duo’s early days of playing in songwriting circles in Nashville. “The next thing we knew, Tyler and I had stood up and were dancing around. We both grew up in church settings and leading worship groups for youth. That helped us learn to read a crowd and how to lead a crowd.”
Tyler also credited FGL’s stage chemistry with an extension of those early days.
“You learn a lot playing in church and you can transition it into the country scene,” he said. “It’s the same concept. You can be one with the crowd, make the crowd happy, and that’s what we strive to do.
“The gold record is awesome. ‘Cruise’ is bigger than we ever dreamed it would be,” he continued. “But really, it’s not about plaques. I mean, 500,000 people are listening to our song. That’s cool and humbling and surreal and, to be honest, made us very emotional.”