POWERHOUSE COUNTRY DUO FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE DISCUSS THEIR INFLUENCES, ADDRESS THEIR CRITICS, AND TRY TO DEFINE ‘BRO COUNTRY’, ON THE BIG INTERVIEW AIRING TUES., MAY 12, AT 8pE
Dan Rather sits down with Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, the men behind the smash-hit Country group Florida Georgia Line, in an all-new episode of THE BIG INTERVIEW, premiering Tuesday, May 12, at 8pE. During the candid hour-long discussion, the duo opens up about their diverse influences, critics who say they’re not Country enough, and how they feel about being labeled “Bro Country.”
Growing up in the south—Kelley in Florida and Hubbard in Georgia—the two were exposed to a wide variety of artists and genres that have come together to influence their sound. “Our music is who we are,” Hubbard says. “We listen to everything.” From Southern staples such as Garth Brooks, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Alabama, and Alan Jackson, to Christian artists Shane & Shane and Casting Crowns, and even hip-hop titans Lil Wayne and Eminem. “We’re just music lovers,” Kelley adds. “Country to the core, but music’s always gotta evolve or you’re going backwards.”
On what drives their music and fuels their creative process, the duo explains, “We’re songwriters, first and foremost, and that kind of gives us the creative freedom to write whatever kind of music we want to write. We write the kind of music that we want to sing every night, and that we feel our fans will connect with. It’s important to us that our music portrays who we are and where we’re at in life, and I feel like for us every album [does] that. When our fans listen to our albums, they [get] to know us better. Music’s just our love and passion.”
Incorporating elements of rock, rap, and pop, Florida Georgia Line has built an impressive catalogue of hits that includes “This Is How We Roll,” “Get Your Shine On” and a remix of the fan-favorite “Cruise” featuring St. Louis rap icon Nelly. While this has garnered the band a legion of fans, it has also caused a number of critics to step forward and accuse them of not being Country enough. Addressing these detractors, Hubbard says, “We’ve learned over the last couple of years that everyone’s got an opinion. And it’s funny, ‘cause everybody wants to tell us what you are and who you are, and how you’re supposed to act… but for us, Country’s a lifestyle, it’s bigger than just a genre, it’s bigger than just music. We grew up living that lifestyle and we continue to live that lifestyle. We find it interesting when people are so quick to degrade us or act like we’re trying to be something that we’re not, because that’s the opposite of what we’re doing. We’re just trying to be ourselves and do what we love.”
Consequently, the eclectic blend of pop, rock, and rap present in their songs has lumped them into the ‘Bro Country’ label—a category that also includes Country heavyweights such as Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, and Kenny Chesney, among others. This sub-set has come under fire as of late, for its public perception of often being inauthentic and even misogynistic. On whether or not it’s been positive for them, Kelley said, “There’s no label that can really hurt our feelings. Some people say that can be a negative thing, ‘Bro Country’, but every night, we look out and we see thousands and thousands of fans that are happy, and partying, and enjoying…whatever it is, we’re having a good time, and the fans are, too. You can’t argue that.”
To see more of this unforgettable episode, be sure to tune into THE BIG INTERVIEW on Tuesday, May 5 at 8pE, only on AXS TV.
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