FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE
Jensen Sussman – Sweet Talk Publicity
Back in the day, Garth Brooks introduced country to the KISS-like stage spectacle, and a little later on producer John “Mutt” Lange introduced AC/DC-meets Def Leppard big rock production to Shania Twain’s country songs. But today the lines between good ol’ country from Nashville and modern hip-hop, EDM and even boy bands are more blurred than ever. FGL’s Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard are currently touring for their 2X Platinum Dig Your Roots album, which had them paired with the Backstreet Boys AND Tim McGraw.
Influence on style
Brian Kelley: I’d have to say anything by Garth Brooks Tim McGraw, Kenney Chesney, Alabama. Those were the albums that we were growing up to, those were the soundtracks to our lives: our summers, our baseballs seasons, our dirt-bike races. I think we really connected with those records early on and getting to some concerts at a young age confirmed that for the both of us, and watching those artists connect with the fans, seeing that there’s something special there.
Tyler Hubbard: I would add that bands like the Backstreet Boys had a big influence in making us want to become better singers and learn how to harmonize.
Laying down the parts
TH: We usually do half and half. A lot of times we’re in the studio together tracking vocals, but some of the time we’re spending individual time, really digging into our part. And it’s really just a big puzzle that BK and I put together with our producer Joey Moi. It’s very untraditional to Nashville, but we spend a lot of time with each track and each song. We go in there and sing till we can’t sing anymore and Joey will comp the best take. Sometimes that takes us three times, sometimes it takes us eight. Usually in Nashville an artist might come in and sing three or four songs in one night, whereas BK and I might spend three or four nights on one song.
Acting out the song
BK: Yeah, man. Knowing the song inside and out helps you sing it in a way that really captures the feeling and meaning. The more and more time you spend with the song evolves your performance and you find nuances that make it your own.
Diet do’s and don’ts
BK: Hot tea, and Lay’s potato chips are a part of the warm-up routine. A shot of Old Camp Whiskey can help warm them up a bit too. Ha!
BK: For the studio, the Manley has been the best for me and Tyler. Tyler’s been using the Manley for years, that thing just rips for him, too. It is funny, when you get in there and put your headphones on you can really tell the difference between mics. I think I’ve used the Blue bottle, that’s a little bit more of a breathy mic you can capture more of a Bieber’y type of vocal harmonies and cool things like that, but a Manley, man, letting it rip, I think it really cuts through.
Dealing with jitters or red-light fever in the studio
TH: Since day one, BK and I have had a pre-show ritual where we circle up with our team, breathe and say a prayer. This always puts us in the right mindset to put on the best show we can.
School, home school, no school
TH: We both have worked with vocal coaches and it really teaches you the importance of warming up and taking care of your voice. Whether in the studio or on stage, we want to be at the top of our craft and that means taking the best care of our voices. •