When you started, some critics said you weren’t country enough. Has that criticism lessened?
Kelley: We rode that stigma right out of the arena. [Laughs.]
Hubbard: The first few months, all they knew about BK and I was that we were the “Cruise” dudes and that we were “bro country” -- all about girls, beer and trucks. It didn’t take too many more songs for people to realize that we had a little more depth to us. We had a lot of fun showing people the different sides of who we were, from “Dirt” to “H.O.L.Y.” to “God, Your Mama, and Me.” With each single, we strategize and say, “Well, do we want to let the world in on this side of who we are?”
What do you see as the most significant aspect of the success of “Meant to Be”?
Hubbard: It’s a special song because of the route it took [to No. 1]. It came from Bebe Rexha’s EP [All Your Fault: Pt. 2], it’s not on any of our projects and it was a single. And it crossed over from pop to country radio. In country radio, it’s pretty rare for that to happen.
How do you plan to capitalize on “Meant To Be’s” international success?
Kelley: We've got some plans to hit Europe pretty soon. We’re super excited. That is the biggest cherry on top of everything. When stuff like this goes global, way beyond anything [you expected], it's definitely a God thing. It’s super humbling and super inspiring to watch it just explode. It's so much bigger than Tyler and Brian and Florida Georgia Line to go to different countries and sing [our songs] with our fans, let them sing it and just get that energy.
What other country artists do you see as pushing the boundaries of the genre?
Hubbard: Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw inspire us. It’s hard to put our music into a box. We have always taken pride in doing things differently. Any time Music Row wants to do something a certain way, we are drawn to doing [it] the opposite way.
Kelley: It's fun to not only blaze a trail in music, but also in other areas of our lives in business, whether it's fashion, in the restaurant business or publishing. It's a blessing everyday to wake up and create. Ultimately at the end of the day what drives us is creating.
You’ve just expanded your business holdings with a new creative complex in Nashville. How would you describe the FGL brand?
Hubbard: It stands for good friends, good people and a good time. Literally from day one, when we were on the road playing shows, that's what we were trying to do. So, that kind of bled out into different industries. It’s the same concept.
Kelley: These businesses bring freshness and a bigger vision to FGL. We get excited about our new little babies, but at the end of the day, FGL is what makes everything else possible. To have those extra outlets bring a bigger vision, reminding us to never dream small, to continue to dream large. Anything's possible and we've seen that with our careers.
How do you guard against diluting your brand?
Kelley: By turning down some collaborations. It’s not so much about who we want to collaborate with. It always comes down to, “Is the song good enough?” Do we feel like our fans are gonna love it and it's gonna have a big impact.