Florida Georgia Line has struck the music world like a meteor.
This country duo’s year has simply been a “Cruise,” the name of their first single, which reached No.1, and their follow-up, “Get Your Shine On,” jumped two spots to No. 2 last week on the Country Top 40 and American Country Countdown lists.
Their act named after their home states – Brian Kelley, originally from Ormond Beach, Fla., and Tyler Hubbard, a native of Monroe, Ga. – will headline Thursday at House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach, where they opened in November for Jake Owen.
The Peach State half of the duet telephoned April 29 from Los Angeles, a day before they performed “Get Your Shine On” during “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on NBC.
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Riding the wave from their first CD, “Here’s To the Good Times,” on the Republic Nashville label, Hubbard said “We were ecstatic” after winning the New Artist of the Year trophy April 7 at the Academy of Country Music Awards.
“We couldn’t be more happy,” Hubbard said. “It’s a testament to the fans, and how loyal they are.”
Hubbard called their rise and their own sound a “whirlwind,” but the result of solely “working hard.”
Having met Kelley while they were students earning degrees at Belmont University in Nashville and connecting first through playing clubs and songwriting, Hubbard said only music won him over among his class load.
“That was something I was really, really interested in,” he said. “There was not a whole lot of other stuff I could go for and hold my attention for long.”
Having lost his father as a young man, Hubbard said his parents raised him with the priority to “Go after it and work hard for it” in any pursuit.
Partnering professionally with Kelley proved to Hubbard that no other career option was in the offing.
“We knew we’d do music,” he said.
Hubbard said having a background heavy in songwriting only helped in Florida Georgia Line’s rocket of recording success, maybe in that sequence. With composing, as they did for more than half the 11 tunes on their CD, “it’s being able to see where the music is going,” he said.
“As a songwriter,” Hubbard said, “it kind of gives you a better ear for that, to do things, performing and singing. You’re using a whole different part of the brain in songwriting, and it’s fun to sing.”
Florida Georgia Line co-wrote “Cruise” with Conway native Jesse Rice.
Hubbard said its “very first verse was written really fast” amid some other projects spanning a couple of months.
“That was one of those songs that fell out of the sky,” he said. “It’s still making waves, which is pretty insane.”
Plans were in motion to shoot the video this week for their next single, “Round Here,” Hubbard said, recalling the amusement of getting their camera takes for “Get Your Shine On” in Cancun, Mexico.
By touring with artists such as Luke Bryan, Taylor Swift and Owen, “a mentor of ours from day one,” Hubbard said Florida Georgia Line absorbs, and learns from, “how they treat their crowds.”
He and Kelley were familiar with each other’s hometowns near Daytona Beach and Atlanta, which Hubbard sees as similar, especially because “I spent a lot of time in Florida while growing up.”
Many times during the interview, Hubbard voiced thanks to fans for Florida Georgia Line gaining its own spot on the map.
“We wouldn’t be here without them,” he said.