Speaking with People at the opening of their Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit, “Florida Georgia Line: Mix It Up Strong,” the record breaking “Cruise” hit makers say their 2021 album Life Rolls On will be their last … at least for a while.
“I think ‘taking a break’ is the proper term, as opposed to breaking up,” Hubbard told People.
“We’re not going our separate ways,” Kelley added. “We’re taking a break from recording our music. We’re being artists. We love creating. And so a couple years back, we started writing without each other and trying different writers, and now we’re both doing that with our music.”
This year and the new exhibit mark 10 years since the duo broke out with “Cruise,” pioneering a new era in mainstream country that boldly infused the genre with hip-hop elements, rock energy and plenty of party-starting themes. FGL went on to rack up dozens of hits and score two of the genre’s only Diamond certified singles in history, but rumors began spreading about personal and creative differences as the pandemic took hold. Hubbard and Kelley denied those rumors, but also embarked on solo projects, and last fall their I Love My Country Tour was abruptly cancelled. Kelley has meanwhile dropped a Sunshine State of Mind solo album and plans to tour solo this spring, and Hubbard released a collab called “Undivided” with Tim McGraw in 2020.
It seems now the duo will continue to make music seperately, but not until they play their final 12 festival dates this summer.
“We’re sort of using these last 12 shows as a time to celebrate FGL, celebrate the fans, celebrate each other, and then support each other on the next chapter of our musical and creative journey, which is gonna be individually for a while,” Hubbard said. “So we’re excited.”
Also at the Hall of Fame, Hubbard and Kelley sat for an in-depth interview with the Museum’s editorial director, Michael Gray, and played a few acoustic songs for fans. They said the reason for their move is mainly changes in their creative vision, plus ongoing ventures with their record label and publishing company.
“We’re in an interesting phase right now,” Hubbard said. “I think we get a new perspective on life right now. We kind of had our blinders on for 10 years of just … more songs, more hits, more shows. And now obviously due to the pandemic, we’ve sort of gotten to step back and have a different perspective and enjoy family time … and thinking about our future outside of music, which has been great and really exciting. … What I plan on channeling, and I think BK is on the same page, is the next decade really diving even deeper into our passion for the craft of songwriting … I think we want to invest in younger artists, and we want to create a legacy that’s beyond just making records and touring.”
All in all, the duo say they are proud of the legacy they’ve already created, and that they may not be done. They told People the new exhibit tracing their unlikely rise had them feeling “blown away,” as well as humbled and overwhelmed, and that no matter what happens they’ll always remain friends.
“When you live with somebody on the road and you go through everything, there’s a connection,” Kelley said. “You don’t lose that. You have history. We’ve built something that’s way bigger than us — because of our fans, because of our team. And it’ll always be.”
“We’ve created so many memories and laughs and stories that I picture being 85, sitting on a porch with BK, telling stories to our kids,” Hubbard added. “And I think, even through the next chapter of us doing solo things, that brotherhood remains … I’m genuinely so excited for BK, and vice versa … What we’ve built together allows us to have the foundation to do different things and to be able to create whatever we want to do. But that brotherhood — that’ll always be there.”
“Florida Georgia Line: Mix It Up Strong” is open now and runs through Jan. 1, 2023, at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.