In November, Florida Georgia Line accomplished a very rare feat: they were certified as the first country act to earn two RIAA Diamond single awards for sales of ten million or more units. They achieved this with their 2012 debut single “Cruise” (11x platinum) and “Meant to Be,” their 2017 song with Bebe Rexha (10x platinum). The duo have numerous other gold and platinum singles and albums, making their feel-good songs among the most popular in music today.
Given this phenomenal level of success, Florida Georgia Line members Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard are certainly in a good position to offer advice to other songwriters. Hubbard kicks things off: “I think my main piece of advice for anybody who wants to be a songwriter is, you’re always writing and creating in your head, but the key to getting better is getting around people that are better than you, and trying to make those connections and build those relationships with people that you look up to, people that you want to write more like.
“I don’t think you reach a point where you say, ‘I’m a great songwriter and I’m done learning,’” Hubbard continues. “I think you’re learning every time you go to a [writing] session. So for anybody that wants to be a songwriter, I literally say, just move to Nashville – we consider that the songwriting capital of the world. Get around good songwriters and continue to elevate.”
Kelley agrees with this: “To get around people that are better than you, that’s such a huge opportunity where you can learn. But alongside of that is really getting to know your craft and writing a ton of songs, whether that’s co-writing or by yourself.”
When learning how to actually do this craft, Kelley says, “Study songs. You can even take a song and see what they did lyrically and what their rhyme schemes were. You can see how they unfolded the story.” But, he adds, it’s also important for writers to embrace their individuality. “Songwriting is such a unique thing. I don’t know if there’s ever been a song written the same way. I think they all happen differently. I think you’ve got to be ready for the moment of true divine inspiration to capture that.”
Even now, Kelly says that he and Hubbard follow their own advice, always seeking to expand their skills. “We’re always trying to work on our craft and our words and elevate and try not to say the same thing that we’ve said before,” he says.
“Looking at the course and the history of music in general, there’s only so many topics to talk about,” Hubbard says. “It’s just, how do you say it in a different way? I think that’s part of developing the craft. The longer you write, the more ways you can find to say stuff. That’s just part of the fun challenge.”
More information about Florida Georgia Line: https://floridageorgialine.com/