Music

Tyler Hubbard & Brian Kelley Tell Their Sides of the Story of Florida Georgia Line’s Breakup

Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley are spilling the tea on details of what led to the split between the former Florida Georgia Line bandmates. Hubbard and Kelley each appeared on separate episodes of the Bussin’ With the Boys podcast, with each giving their version of events that transpired leading to the duo’s breakup.

Hubbard and Kelley played their final concert together as FGL in September 2022 at the Minnesota State Fair.

Hubbard appeared on the podcast earlier this week, stating that it was Kelley who initiated the breakup in order to pursue a solo career.

“For me, it was really unexpected. But [Brian Kelley] came to me and said, ‘Man, I’m really feeling like I want to do a solo thing. And I’m like, ‘Really?’ We were just getting out of our first deal. We were kind of in a sweet spot that we had worked for 10 years to get to,” Hubbard said. “I’m like, ‘Why don’t we ride this thing out for like five more years, 10 more years, and then we can do the solo thing or whatever.’

“But again, like, I wanted to support him. He was adamant, like, ‘Nah, now’s my time. I really need to do this for myself.’ And I’m like, ‘Well, hey, whatever you need to do, bro. Like, what do you want from me?’ He’s like, ‘I just want support.’ So I’m like, OK you got it … you know maybe this will bring us back together and we can do a reunion tour,’” Hubbard continued. “He definitely initiated the whole thing from the beginning … when I say caught me off guard, it wasn’t that we had never mentioned it before, it’s just I didn’t think it was going to happen then.”

Hubbard thought he would just be a songwriter, but realized he would miss being an artist. He also said that after hearing that Kelley wanted to go solo, “There was definitely a period of time where I was confused, like, ‘Why?’ And I even told him, we had good conversations around it … it felt like a divorce … BK had this thing were he wanted to still do Florida Georgia Line, but he wanted to do the solo thing, too, and I had to tell him … I can’t do both,” Hubbard shared. “I said, ‘I’m going to give you the choice, but it’s either Florida Georgia Line or solo careers.’ I don’t have capacity to do two careers, and also it’s going to get super sticky. When we’re writing songs, who are we writing for? When we got two show offers, an FGL date and a solo date, what are we taking? I don’t even logistically see how that would work, much less emotionally.”

Kelley appeared on the podcast Thursday morning (May 9) to share his version of things, stating that they had talked about each “having extra outlets” for releasing solo music as early as 2016.

“I had voiced that I want to obviously keep doing FGL, but for me, in my off time, when songwriters, creatives are alone, you find even more of yourself. Over the years … there are going to be songs that I write … that aren’t going to fit the brand of FGL, and so it was important to me to continue to honor my artistry, my songwriting, and so I had voiced that for a long time,” Kelley said. “It wasn’t a surprise, because the marker was that once the deal was up … I had an idea that once the deal was up, Tyler would get a solo deal under the same label, I would get a record deal and we would renegotiate a new record deal.”

Kelley said that he had brought up the idea to perform lengthy, three-hour concerts, with no openers, that would include Florida Georgia Line songs as well as space for each of them to perform solo music.

“I wanted to do it all,” Kelley said. “It wasn’t out of bounds. You look at Lady A — Hillary [Scott] does some solo records in the Christian space; Charles Kelley has done some solo stuff, he does some shows and I love how that operates. I think that’s pretty special that you can honor yourself and you can honor what you built … that’s the mindset that I had. It wasn’t just that I had to have a solo career — I would word it as ‘I want a solo outlet, as a creative, as a songwriter.’ I wanted to reshape that part of the story. It gets sticky about what things go where? I think it’s easy to figure out. It’s not an emotional thing for me when we’re talking about business and creativity.”

Kelley said they had agreed to wait on putting out solo music until their recording contract had ended and they had put out their fifth FGL album. He noted, however, that he got a call in December 2020, informing him that Hubbard was going to be putting out a solo song with Tim McGraw; in January 2021, Hubbard and McGraw released “Undivided.”

Kelley said he was “surprised … shocked, for sure, just like, ‘I thought we had a deal in place about what the plan was.’ Going back to my main thing, is protecting FGL. I didn’t think that was a good look, if I’d have done it or if he had done it. FGL was my top priority … a lot of people think I just left and wanted to do solo stuff, because that’s what he’s saying.”

Kelley also noted that they also went to therapy sessions to discuss their plans for managing solo creative initiatives.

Hubbard released his debut EP, Dancin’ in the Country, in August 2022, followed by his full-fledged, self-titled solo album in January 2023. Hubbard has since released earned a No. 1 Billboard Country Airplay hit with “5 Foot 9,” and recently released his new album Strong.

Kelley’s debut solo EP, BK’s Wave Pack, released in April 2021. He followed with the full album Sunshine State of Mind in June 2021.

Kelley said that after his June 2021 album came out, that was when, he said on the podcast, “it was made known to me that we were kinda done,” clarifying that he heard directly from Hubbard.

“It went from no music for the foreseeable future, to now we’re not even going to tour … I’m just here to tell the truth, I’m not here to try to burn down anything, whatever, I’m just here to stand up for myself and my family, and Iike I said, the fans,” said Kelley, whose new album, Tennessee Truth, arrives Friday (May 10).

Powered by Billboard.

Related Articles

Back to top button