Country Music Hall of Fame to Unveil New Exhibit, Florida Georgia Line: Mix It Up Strong

Cowboy's Daughter Staff - 12/08/2021

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is set to unveil an exhibit that dives into the music and career of Florida Georgia Line, the duo comprised of Tyler Hubbard from Georgia and Brian Kelley from Florida, in the exhibit Florida Georgia Line: Mix It Up Strong. The exhibit traces the duo's friendship and collaboration, from their meeting in college to their swift emergence as a multiple-award-winning, genre-blending, fan-favorite.  Florida Georgia Line: Mix It Up Strong opens Friday, Jan. 21, and runs through Jan. 1, 2023.

Florida Georgia Line burst onto the country music charts in 2012 with their first single, "Cruise." The song became a record-breaking #1 country hit, and its remix featuring the rapper Nelly hit #4 on Billboard's all-genre Hot 100 chart. Their sound – a blend of hip-hop cadences, small-town themes and country instrumental flourishes – helped usher in a new era for the country genre. "Cruise" earned diamond certification from the Recording Industry Association of America, becoming the first country single to attain sales and streams equivalent to 10 million units. They went on to earn a second diamond-certified single with "Meant to Be," a 2017 collaboration with pop singer Bebe Rexha.

Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley met in 2008 at a weekly on-campus student worship service at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., where they both attended college. Both were influenced by a wide variety of music styles, and they began writing songs and performing music together, hoping to earn a living as songwriters. During this time, they led worship music for a youth group in Lebanon, Tenn., and showcased their original, secular material at local songwriter rounds – eventually booking weekend shows across the Southeast.

In 2011, Music Row-based company Big Loud began handling their artist development, publishing, management, and record production. Producer Joey Moi, a partner at the company, took them into the studio to develop their sound, incorporating elements similar to the popular recordings he produced for rock band Nickelback. Hubbard and Kelley credit him with helping them establish the catchy, polished, genre-blending sound heard on "Cruise" and subsequent hits.

The following year, the duo signed a record deal with Republic Nashville/Big Machine Records and released the album Here's To The Good Times.

The Country Music Association named the album's first single, "Cruise," Single of the Year and honored Florida Georgia Line as Vocal Duo of the Year in 2013, their first of three consecutive wins in that category. The pair released many more #1 country radio hits, including "Get Your Shine On," "Stay," "H.O.L.Y." and "Sun Daze."

The duo's success extends to songwriting and music business ventures. Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley wrote many of Florida Georgia Line's best-known songs and penned hits for other artists, including Jason Aldean's "Burnin' It Down" and Cole Swindell's "Hope You Get Lonely Tonight." They also launched their own label (Round Here Records) and song publishing firm (Tree Vibez Music), signing Corey Crowder, RaeLynn, and Canaan Smith, among others.

Objects featured in Florida Georgia Line: Mix It Up Strong include instruments, awards, stage and screen costumes, and personal artifacts. Some highlights:

  • A serape Kelley wore in Florida Georgia Line's 2016 music video for "H.O.L.Y."
  • The Selmer Bundy II saxophone Hubbard played as a child
  • Hubbard's Alvarez AD-60SC guitar, which he customized and played early in the duo's career
  • A diamond certification award from the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) for "Cruise"
  • A note from Hubbard's high school classmates and teachers wishing him luck with his music career in Nashville
  • A ball cap Kelley wore when playing on his high school baseball team, the Seabreeze Fighting Sandcrabs
  • Kelley's Takamine GB7C Garth Brooks Signature acoustic guitar, which Kelley used when writing "Cruise" and other hits
  • Racing suits and helmets Hubbard and Kelley wore in the 2016 music video for "May We All" (feat. Tim McGraw)
  • Ensembles worn by the duo on the cover of their 2019 album Can't Say I Ain't Country
  • Hubbard's first guitar, a Sigma DM-3 acoustic guitar, which he acquired in fourth grade

In support of the exhibition's opening, Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley will participate in a conversation and performance in the museum's CMA Theater on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022, at 2 p.m., discussing their career and sharing personal stories and memories associated with the artifacts included in Florida Georgia Line: Mix It Up Strong. Tickets will be available at CountryMusicHallofFame.org on Friday, Dec. 10.

More information about this exhibit can be found at www.CountryMusicHallofFame.org.