Tyler Hubbard Relishes the Chance to Tell His Story — Taste of Country Nights, On Demand
Tyler Hubbard tells a funny story about "5 Foot 9," his debut single as a solo artist after a dozen years with Florida Georgia Line. Jaren Johnston of the Cadillac Three and Chase McGill helped him pen the rolling, acoustic love story. For his part, Hubbard had his wife Hayley on his mind.
"I actually missed it," he tells Taste of Country Nights during a recent visit. "I went home that night after writing that song and asked her, 'Babe, how tall are you again exactly?' She was like, 'Oh, I'm 5' 10".' I was like, 'Oh boy. Here's a song I wrote today honey and part of it's about you. I might have missed it by an inch.'"
The song — already a Top 40 radio hit — is first from a large batch of songs already written and recorded. Hubbard, who's signed with EMI Nashville, said he has 17 more he hopes to share with fans soon. Each dives further into his life than he was ever able to do while with Brian Kelley and FGL. That's no shade — in fact, those looking to uncover animosity during a chat with the Georgia half of Florida Georgia Line will come away still hungry.
He does mention BK during this interview. He talks about him a lot, actually, beginning with a question about why he wanted to cut a solo album in the first place. He also approaches his influence on today's country music and explores what a Tyler Hubbard solo tour might look like in comparison to FGL's shows.
Listen to the full Taste of Country Nights, On Demand interview with Hubbard here, or read an edited transcript below.
Taste of Country: How long have you known you wanted to record a solo album?
Tyler Hubbard: It's really only been about eight months or so, but it felt good. I just sort of decided I had all these songs and a lot of them even felt like they were a part of my story. I was even inspired by BK doing the solo thing. I was like, "I understand why this is important and valuable to tell our individual story."
Do you think that you could have made it as a solo artist 12 years ago?
I personally think there's something special that BK and I had, and we did. There was a cool connection and an innocence and a hunger and a drive that got us where we were at. The fans and radio were always so good to us, so no, I don't think I could have done it by myself by any means.
When you listen to country radio today, where do you hear your influence?
I think there's little bits and pieces kind of all over the radio, which is really cool. To be in this format for 10 years and to feel the love and feel the acceptance that we've had, that I've had, it feels so good, man. Some of these newer artists coming up, (I think) "That reminds me of 2013 or 2014 or this song or that song." It's an honor. It's really cool.
You were one of the first people to hit up Kane Brown when he started to break. More recently it was Jelly Roll. What is it that you see in new artists that others may miss?
I think just authenticity. I think that's something that you can't teach and something that's really special, and guys like Jelly Roll — there's nobody like him and he's not trying to be like anybody else. He's not trying to sound like anybody else. He's just being him and doing his thing and he's standing out for it and it's really cool. I respect that.
Florida Georgia Line was a big arena act. What can we expect from Tyler Hubbard's solo show?
I haven't dove into fully thinking it out, but it's still going to be pretty high energy. All of this music is really made and written to be live. It's created to be a live show, so I'm excited to get out on the road and play some of these shows. It'll be high-energy, but I think it will also be a journey. It will be a cool roller coaster of emotions ... because there's still some songs that are a little more heart.
Are you going to play any FGL songs?
I'm not sure yet. What I think would be cool to do is somehow showcase my passion and love for songwriting and play maybe a medley of a lot of songs that I've written that weren't FGL songs and then maybe a couple of the big FGL songs. I think the fans want to hear those still, the "Cruise," the "Meant to Be" ... so yeah I'll probably sprinkle a few those in there.
What's your favorite song that you've written that went to another artist?
I really like "You Make It Easy," the Aldean single. I thought that was a really cool one and I still hear it and it never gets old.
What do you want your FGL fans to know about those 17 new songs? And what do you want fans hearing you for the first time to know?
I would want them to know that this is my heart and my soul. This is who I am. This is part of my story and I'm just excited to tell the world, and to get this music out, and to have them know me on a deeper level. I think there's a cool dynamic when you're in a band — especially as long as we were — there's a cool thing about the songs and the unit, it's about us. And now it's about me, it's about my story, and the same with BK to get to tell his.