10 Years Ago: Florida Georgia Line Sign With Republic Nashville
Ten years ago today, on July 16, 2012, one of Florida Georgia Line's biggest dreams came true. It was on that date that the duo, made up of Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley, inked their first major-label record deal, signing with Republic Nashville.
Hubbard and Kelley began as church musicians, before realizing that they wanted a career in country music instead -- and so, after they both graduated from Belmont University, they released their first EP, Anything Like Me, independently, in 2010. It'z Just What We Do, FGL's second EP, came out in 2012, after producer Joey Moi heard the pair performing at a county fair, realized their potential and offered to record a session with them.
When one of It'z Just What We Do's tracks, "Cruise," began receiving airplay on satellite radio and selling on iTunes, labels took interest, and it was a division of Big Machine Label Group, Republic Nashville, that ultimately signed Florida Georgia Line. Hubbard and Kelley officially released "Cruise" as a single in August of 2012 -- and the tune sold more than 7 million copies, making it the best-selling digital single of all time.
"Cruise" also helped FGL's major-label debut album, Here's to the Good Times, sell more than 2 million copies and sealed their fate as country music superstars.
“It’s a surreal feeling to be a part of something so special and literally see our dreams coming true,” Kelley tells The Boot of their success.
"Cruise" was just the starting point for Kelley and Hubbard, however: The pair went on to release seven more consecutive chart-topping singles and another platinum-selling album, Anything Goes. Their third project, Dig Your Roots, was released in August of 2016, followed by Can't Say I Ain't Country and an acoustic project in 2019, an EP in 2020 and an album, Life Rolls On, in 2021. To date, FGL have earned more than dozen No. 1 singles and platinum-selling songs.
Although the Florida Georgia Line guys are some of the hardest-working artists in country music — and now are working as solo artists, too — they give plenty of credit to their record label, which helped launch their success: “A lot of people can look around and tell everybody they built something or did something,” Hubbard tells The Boot. “At the end of the day, we’ve got a huge team around us that’s helping us out, and we pretty much know where it comes from.
"This is really something that’s really beyond our wildest imagination and beyond our capability of creating on our own," he adds. "It’s a beautiful thing.”
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