With their innovative fusion of country, rock, hip-hop and pop, Florida Georgia Line have already proven themselves as a once-in-a-generation force of change in modern music, but the duo of Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley is far from done pushing the envelope. With the release of their third album, Dig Your Roots, FGL is showcasing a whole new musical evolution.
Since breaking out in 2012 with the mega smash “Cruise,” Hubbard and Kelley have solidified their place as one of the elite acts in country music, earning honors from every major awards body – including three consecutive Vocal Duo of the Year titles from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association.
They’ve sold almost 26 million tracks and over 3.5 million albums worldwide, claiming the first Diamond-certified single in country history for sales of over 10 million copies along the way (“Cruise”). Each of their 11 singles has reached platinum or gold status (with an astonishing 11 No. 1s), both of their previous albums (Here’s to the Good Times and Anything Goes) have earned platinum or double platinum standing and the duo sold over 1.5 million concert tickets in 2015 alone.
But with Dig Your Roots the superstars are entering a new stage of life and career, and looking to do more than just entertain. They’re always ready to get the party started and keep it going all night, but as married men with legacies beginning to take shape, it’s now time to dig deep into the things that really matter.
“A lot of things have changed,” Kelley explains. “We’ve grown up, we’ve learned a lot. … I think that translates into this music, into this album and into this lifestyle – it’s all one.”
“It’s been fun for us to try to better ourselves every day,” Hubbard agrees. “Whether that’s spiritually, musically, mentally or creatively, that’s really been our goal for the last couple years, and I think our music is doing that as well. … It was fun being boys, but we’re trying to be the men we want to be now.”
In some ways, much of Dig Your Roots will feel familiar to hardcore fans. The duo are still tireless songwriters — having co-penned eight of the project’s 15 tracks — and super producer Joey Moi stands firm at the helm of their sound, a partnership both artists describe as “dialed in, locked and loaded.”
Musically, FGL is still marching to the beats that shook country music to its core — laidback middle-of-nowhere grooves, brash modern-rock energy and swaggering hip-hop attitude, all wrapped in lush, backroad-pop harmonies — but the hooks are getting sharper and more broadly appealing. Meanwhile, Kelley steps up as a lead vocalist more than ever before and bold new topics take center stage, changing the game once again.
“I think music’s powerful and it can do a lot of things,” says Hubbard. “It can entertain, but it can also heal and create emotions that only music can create. I think with our album, it’s got potential to do a lot of things — make people laugh, make people cry and make people want to party.”
“We want to put out all sorts of songs,” Kelley adds. “We want to be artists that can put out party songs, songs like ‘H.O.L.Y.’ or songs that make you want to call your dad like ‘While He’s Still Around.’ We want to be 360-degree artists, that’s what we’re chasing.”
Most obviously, the guys are getting personal like never before. They’re learning how to express their deepest thoughts and hopes for the future, and that starts with reconnecting to their roots — something they’ve been more and more conscious to do through the wild success of the past four years. The title track, “Dig Your Roots,” uncovers the bedrock of the FGL way — a revealing look into their upbringing and reminder to keep sight of who they really are.
“I think that’s important for everybody,” says Kelley. “We were fortunate enough to be raised with great parents, great family morals and values, and that’s important to carry throughout our life. We want to raise our kids down the road with the same kind of morals and values.”
Likewise, songs like “Life Is a Honeymoon” (featuring Ziggy Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley) remind listeners to be grateful for every moment in tropical style, “God, Your Mama, and Me” (featuring the Backstreet Boys) celebrates unwavering devotion with a flourish of ‘90s pop, and the album’s second single, “May We All” (featuring Tim McGraw), is a powerful message of unity for a world in turmoil, built on solid country ground.
Dig Your Roots shows a duo at the height of their creative power, more popular than ever and right where they want to be. But while they’re loving every second of the ride, Hubbard and Kelley are still looking ahead. They’ve already left their mark on country music, but Florida Georgia Line isn’t done yet.
Whether it’s bringing creative new music to the world through the launch of their publishing company, Tree Vibez Music, or kick starting a weekend of memories with their all-new Old Camp Peach Pecan Whiskey brand, FGL is focused on going new places and opening themselves up to fans everywhere. Their new music is just the next step in that process.
“It’s really cool to start a family and to build a legacy,” Kelley admits. “We’re reaching a point in life where all that is kind of beginning, and it’s fun to let our fans in on that. … Tyler and I are in the best place we’ve ever been — spiritually, mentally, our friendship — people are going to get to know us even more, and that was the goal. It’s a crazy world we’re living in, but hopefully our music will bring some healing and some joy — and we know it’s going to bring some good times.”
“I think the sky’s the limit for FGL,” Hubbard concludes. “We want to sell out stadiums around the world, to be honest, and continue to grow this thing and change lives one song at a time. That’s what we’re doing, and we couldn’t be happier.”