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Alums form Florida Georgia Line, soar on country charts

Few country acts are described “a hip hop hybrid of crunchy electric guitar riffs, rap lyrics and boondock roots that would make Kid Rock proud and Jason Aldean envious.”

For Belmont alums Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley though, the Country Weekly quote perfectly describes Florida Georgia Line, the duo they formed while on campus.

Now, the sound the two Belmont grads have made has become much more popular as their music has shot up the country charts. Last week, the duo’s was the No. 2 single on the Billboard Country Songs Chart and the No. 1 country song on iTunes.

Hubbard is a native of Georgia, and Floridian Kelley both came to Belmont to advance their career in a great atmosphere, Hubbard said.

The duo met through a mutual friend at Belmont and have been writing and playing together ever since. They would spend their time in between classes writing songs and playing music, and eventually played their first show together at Hotel Indigo in 2009, said Kelley.

They said they built a foundation at Belmont and tried to meet as many people as possible to help them with their careers.

“We met people that we’re working with now today,” said Kelley.

Both Hubbard and Kelley strived to get signed by a major record label, which encouraged them to record and play as many shows as they could, said Kelley.

“We worked hard and took it one day at a time,” said Hubbard.

The hard work and networking appear to have paid off and helped them get to where they are today. Their current single “Cruise” has been certified gold and reached into the top 10 of country charts 14 weeks after they released it independently. That makes them the fastest rising duo since Brooks and Dunn released “Brand New Man” in 1991.

“Cruise” has generated a lot of attention from current country super stars. Performers such as Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, and Jennifer Nettles have all recently tweeted about the tune.

“There’s nothing better,” said Kelley, “We’re never going to take any of this for granted.”

After the single released, Florida Georgia Line signed a record deal with Republic Nashville in July, and are now preparing to open for Luke Bryan in his upcoming tour next year.

In the future, they hope for “Cruise” to hit No. 1 on the charts. They would also like to be the headline of their own tour, Hubbard and Kelley both agree on.

“We want to dominate the world,” Hubbard jokingly added.

Florida Georgia Line currently has two EP’s available on iTunes, “It’z Just What We Do,” and “Anything Like Me.” They are working on an upcoming album called “Here’s to the Good Times” which will be available December 4.

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