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GRAMMY TALK: FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE
No Borders for Country Crossover Kings

FGL’s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley made it clear they had no intention of being fenced in from the get-go—enlisting rapper Nelly for a genre-busting remix of their 2012 debut single, “Cruise,” which racked up north of 7m downloads in what will surely stand as the all-time record for a country song. The Big Machine duo has been defying conventions ever since, featuring Ziggy Marley and Backstreet Boys on their third album, 2016’s Dig Your Roots, and scoring another smash on both the country and Top 40 charts this year with their collab with pop artist Bebe Rexha, “Meant to Be”—the same three words we suspect will be uttered by members of the Grammy brain trust when they’re poring over their list of potential candidates.



How did the writer collaboration come
together?
Tyler: It came together last-minute. We were supposed to write with Charlie Puth that night, but he ended up having to cancel, so they set us up with Bebe. She thought she was writing with Little Big Town, but we had no idea who Bebe Rexha was either, so it kind of went hand in hand. We didn’t set out to write a song for us to do together. We just wanted to write a great song.

What did Bebe bring to the table?
Tyler: She’s a super-talented writer, and we had the song finished in two or three hours. We knew we had something special. The next morning, Bebe came back in the studio to tweak a few things in the song, and that was a great sign that she really believed in it. She asked if we would be cool with her putting the song on her EP [All Your Fault: Pt. 2, Warner Bros.]. Her EP had a few hip-hop collaborations, and we loved the fact that she would want to add this song to the mix.

Was the recording process different?
Brian: The recording process was similar to how we do most of our collaborations. We went back in the studio and recorded our parts to what you hear on the track now.

What do you think makes this song so special? What do fans tell you?
Tyler: It’s safe to say that we all felt like we had something special when we left the studio that night. But it was more than just special. There’s no doubt that this song is anointed by the best writer there is, the Lord. With every unexpected surprise in the story of “Meant to Be,” God was showing himself to be stronger than any tradition or genre.
Brian: To see how far and wide this song has traveled is still mind-blowing to us, and the connection we feel with our fans through our music is extra special with this song. We’ve had fans tell us that they were not into country music until they heard this song—and now they’re hooked. That is truly the best compliment we could ever have.

What do the Grammys mean to you?
Brian: We’ve always wanted to make music that inspires, connects and brings good vibes. It’s been super-inspiring to see our music resonate with fans over the past several years. A Grammy is the ultimate nod from our peers and one that we do not take lightly. Feeling that music community support is a home run to us and something we are always working towards.
Tyler: The Grammys are the pinnacle in music and a bucket list moment we continue to aspire to reaching. It’s like getting that stamp of approval from your friends and family that you’re doing all right.

 

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