As Rexha told Billboard in 2018, she wasn’t sure she wanted to appear on the song with FGL. “I was struggling, because I'm not a country artist, but all my favorite artists have taken chances. So I just said, 'F--k it. A good song is a good song.’”
“From the onset, [she] could’ve been like,‘I don't even know if this is a good look,’" Garcia says. "But I’m really, really proud of her that she was willing just to do something different.”
Earmarked for Rexha’s Warner Music EP, Garcia, Hubbard and Miller (producing under the moniker Wilshire) added some pop polish before quickly realizing they were making the tune too slick and stripped it back down. “It was losing the heart of what the song was,” Garcia says. “Serban [Ghenea, mixing engineer] really made it about Bebe, Tyler, [Brian], the piano and the beat, the 808. That's what [felt] the most honest to the song.”
Rexha’s fervent fans and other pop listeners sent streaming numbers soaring for the sloping, genre-blending, finger-popping tune about going with the flow, which ultimately racked up more than 810 million on-demand streams, according to Nielsen Music. “We said, ‘Well, maybe we should make this a single ourselves’,” Hubbard says.
The duo’s label, Big Machine, wound up working it to country radio as well. It peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay and Adult Top 40 charts, and No. 2 on both the Hot 100 and Mainstream Top 40. It even reached No. 11 on the Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart, reaching into the top 40 of an impressive eight Billboard singles charts in all.
“Meant to Be” busted down boundaries, introducing Rexha to country fans -- and allowing her to buy her first house with the royalties. It expanded FGL’s pop and international appeal, especially in Australia, Europe and Africa, Hubbard says. Though there had been pop-meets-country collaborations in the past, the gargantuan success of “Meant to Be” smoothed the way for the breakout popularity of Zedd, Grey and Maren Morris’ “The Middle” and The Chainsmokers and Kelsea Ballerini’s “This Feeling,” among others, and blew the doors off any remaining stigma between pop artists appearing on country charts, or vice versa.