Boys to Men: Florida Georgia Line Reflect on Their Evolution From Hard-Partying ‘Kids’ to Adults Who Give Back
Superstar country duo Florida Georgia Line are far from the only act to bring songwriters out on the road with them during their tours, but they just might be the only ones to lease a separate bus devoted exclusively to crafting new hits in between their performances. The pair say that after creating their most recent album, Can't Say I Ain't Country, the benefits of having a space dedicated to songwriting is undeniable.
"I think when you listen to this album, compared to our previous three albums, the quality of the song really does set itself apart," FGL's Tyler Hubbard explains. "That's because we were able to write so much over the last couple years. Having that bus on the road kind of joined our two worlds together. It wasn't just touring on the weekends, and writing Monday through Wednesday in town. We can kind of do both."
Plus, Hubbard adds, writing on the road allowed the songwriters with whom Florida Georgia Line were working to get an up-close look at where the songs they were writing might someday end up: onstage, being performed to a crowd.
"We can bring the writers out, get them inspired by the live show, by the fans," Hubbard points out. "[We can have them] watch and see how the fans are connecting to which songs. It was just a learning experience for everybody."
That songwriting bus also offered Florida Georgia Line some much-needed work-life balance. With the new arrangement, there was no need to write during the time they spent at home -- "and if you did come home and write, it was because you just wanted to so badly," Hubbard goes on to say.
"It wasn't like ... I gotta write my songs this week and hurry up and get in the studio. We knocked that out on the road. It became [about] writing songs because we wanted to write songs, and that was it," he continues. "There was a lot of freedom in that."
For Hubbard and bandmate Brian Kelley, achieving that balance between their careers and their personal lives is more important than ever. Life has changed plenty since the outset of their career, when they were in their early 20s and embraced a party-centric, carefree lifestyle. Now, both Kelley and Hubbard are married, and Hubbard has a young daughter and a second child on the way. These days, the two spend less time partying and more time with their families, or championing causes that matter to them.
"When we started this thing, we were just kids, you know what I'm saying? Fresh out of college, chasing a dream, really nothing to lose," Hubbard recalls. "Which is a fun place to be, for a short period of time. But the evolution begins when you start to build something .. .and you become proud of what you built. And then you start to become a little bit more responsible for what you built.
"And then our wives come into the picture, and the whole thing changes another 180 degrees, where they help us evolve into men," he continues, "into grownups who look at life from a grown up perspective and have a different responsibility as humans that are now blessed to give back and take care of our environment."
Florida Georgia Line's priorities may be different now, but the bandmates agree that life's rewards are all the sweeter for it. "It's way more fulfilling than throwing the biggest party on the road, or having the best hangover of the whole band," Hubbard relates. "Things like that get old pretty quickly, and aren't very fulfilling.
"For us," he adds, "we've found happiness in giving back and being the best versions of ourselves that we can be."
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