Brian Kelley (of Florida Georgia Line) Talks About His New Solo Hit “See You Next Summer,” His Upcoming Album, And Writing His Songs

Brian Kelley
Brian Kelley
(photo credit: Ben Christensen)

For the past decade, Brian Kelley has been known as a singer, songwriter and one-half of the multi-platinum duo, Florida Georgia Line. Along with his bandmate Tyler Hubbard, he has performed and co-written many of their hits, including “Cruise,” “This Is How We Roll,” “Get Your Shine On,” “Simple” and “Long Live.” He has also co-written hit songs for other artists such as Jason Aldean and Cole Swindell.

Since early 2022, when Florida Georgia Line decided to take a break and go on hiatus, Kelley has focused on being a solo artist. He released his first solo album, Sunshine State of Mind, in June 2021, and he’s working on his new album, which will be released this spring (2024) on Big Machine Records.

Currently, Kelley is enjoying hit success with his new single, “See You Next Summer.” This is a rollicking, romantic song that was written by Hardy, Hillary Lindsey & David Garcia. This is one of three songs that he’s recently released, which provides a good preview of his upcoming album. His other two new songs are “How We’re Livin’” and “Dirt Cheap.”

SPECIAL FEATURE: STREAMING AUDIO
Here’s an excerpt of our interview with Brian Kelley, who discusses the making of his upcoming solo album.

Now with the start of 2024, Kelley is excited about his new album, and further building his solo career. He has spent the past year co-writing new songs for his album, and he’s  been open to recording songs by other writers.

We’re pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Brian Kelley. But before we get started, here’s a brief rundown of his success with Florida Georgia Line, and the hit songs he’s co-written.

Florida Georgia Line has released five studio albums, four which have been certified platinum or gold. These are: Here’s to the Good Times (2012), Anything Goes (2014), Dig Your Roots (2016), Can’t Say I Ain’t Country (2019) and Life Rolls On (2021). They’ve had many #1 country hits including “Cruise,” “Get Your Shine On,” “Round Here,” “Stay,” “This Is How We Roll,” “Dirt,” “Sun Daze,” “Sippin’ on Fire,” “Confession,” “H.O.L.Y.,” “God, Your Mama, and Me” (featuring the Backstreet Boys), “Simple” and “Long Live.” Florida Georgia Line also had a huge hit, “Meant to Be,” with Bebe Rexha.


Here’s the lyric video of Brian Kelley’s hit, “See You Next Summer.”

Besides the songs he’s written for Florida Georgia Line, Kelley has co-written hits for other artists. Impressively, he’s co-penned three #1 hits for Jason Aldean (“Burnin’ It Down,” “Lights Come On” and “You Make It Easy”), plus a #1 hit with Cole Swindell (“Hope You Get Lonely Tonight”).

Brian Kelley Interview

DK: You recently released three new songs: your hit “See You Next Summer,” “How We’re Livin’” and “Dirt Cheap.” Can you talk about these new songs?

Brian Kelley: Yes I’ve put out these three new songs, and I’ve got a couple more songs coming out in January and February. Then I’ll put my album out. The three songs are obviously the first three, and I’m excited about putting these new songs out to the world. To be honest with you, I’ve been working really hard over the past year and writing my butt off. I started about this time last year, opening my whole world up to writing and my new collaborators. I told my whole team that, “Hey I don’t have a circle…there’s no fences around me. Let’s open this thing up and go to work, and see what we can make happen.”

SPECIAL FEATURE: STREAMING AUDIO
Here’s an excerpt of our interview with Brian Kelley, who tells how he co-wrote Florida Georgia Line’s hit, “This Is How We Roll.”

It started with two writing sessions a day, and just getting after it. That’s been the process over the past year. I’ve been writing as much as I can, to end up with a good chunk of songs that I love, that I want to put my name on as an artist. And I’ve been fortunate enough to have a couple outside songs that I didn’t write that were sent to me, to help me complete the album. And sonically, I’m excited about where these songs land. Some are kind of different, but they all fit together. I’m lucky to work with producer Dann Huff. He’s one of the GOATs in town and he’s a great guitar player. And he’s been an awesome producer.


Here’s the lyric video of Brian Kelley’s new song, “How We’re Livin’.”

“How We’re Livin’” is definitely one of the heaviest sounding songs I’ve released thus far as a solo artist, and that’s intentional. I’m excited about not holding anything back from here on out. I’m in such a different place than when I released my first record. You know, Sunshine State of Mind was made in the middle of Covid. Making that record was therapy to me. But I don’t consider that a true debut record, because I was mindful at the time of even having FGL dates on the books when that was released. So I wasn’t trying to tread on any water, while at the same time, holistically viewing the whole thing…that everything can work together.

You know, fast forward to where things were in the last year, having to stand on my own as a solo artist. My thinking shifted to…Okay, it’s not just fun and games. I’m not just making a Covid record. I’m here to pour the foundation of a true solo career now. So I’ve been taking a hustler approach of working my butt off and diving in these songs, trying to find great ideas that match where I’m at in life—who I am, what I love, and where this thing’s headed. So it’s been a great journey. And I’m really grateful for the opportunity Big Machine is giving me. They’ve opened so many doors for me to get my music out to the world, and I’m also having fun hunting down songs every day.

DK: I like your new hit, “See You Next Summer,” which was written by Hardy, Hillary Lindsey & David Garcia.  How did this song come together?

Kelley: That song was sent to me by my label, and that’s the power of Nashville and great songwriters in Nashville. I cut that song because it resonates with me hugely. It’s like I lived that song and I am living that song with my wife. We’re celebrating 10 years of marriage, so when I heard “See You Next Summer,” I thought…Man, everybody’s looking for a love, not just a summer love or a summer fling. I’ve been in that moment. Basically when my wife (Brittney) and I got connected and got married, I was like, “Y’all, I want to see you every summer, or I’ll see you next summer and every summer after that.” I love the song.

DK: With Florida Georgia Line, you and Tyler Hubbard wrote many great hits. What were some of your favorite FGL songs that you co-wrote?


Here’s the video of Florida Georgia Line’s hit, “Cruise.”

Kelley: “Cruise” would probably be my favorite. That was the one that opened the door for us. That was such a massive song, and I’m forever grateful to be a part of that.

I’m grateful that I showed up that day. It was me, Jesse Rice and Chase Rice…we showed up to write. We were in the middle of writing a serious love song called “When God Runs Out Of Rain.” We were trying to write for Chase that day, until “Cruise” started (laughs). And I was like, “We’re probably gonna take this song for me and Tyler.” Then Chase said, “Man, I just want something that makes you feel good.” When he said that, I was like (starts singing), “Maybe you’d like a song that makes me wanna roll my windows down…Cruise.” I did that stream of consciousness. Then we wrote that in about 35 minutes. And I knew that there was something special about it, and that song went on a bit of a journey which forever changed the way that I write music and co-produce music, and how I look at songs.

Our producer, Joey Moi, pushed us to get in the studio as we were recording, to dig a little bit and fine-tune a couple lines. And his idea was [to change the hook line to] “Baby you a song,” which fit better in the cadence. Then I think we added a third little verse in the studio there.

That song took us so many different places, and it allowed us to connect on a level that we’d never seen. So that song was a testament of showing up, and also continuing to be a student throughout the process of recording and fine-tuning it. I’ve taken that knowledge and that mindset with me from that day forward.

DK: One of my favorite Florida Georgia Line songs is “This Is How We Roll.” It’s such a fun song. Can you talk about writing that one?

Kelley: Yeah man, that’s a fuuny one. We were on tour with Luke Bryan. Cole Swindell was out with us and I remember watching Luke’s show one night. He was playing “Drinkin’ Beer and Wastin’ Bullets,” and he was talking to the crowd before he went into it. He goes, ‘You know I love being out in the country and just getting out there with my friends and my family. We just have a good time shootin’ bullets at the moon.” And when he said that, I go…Oh shit, I’m gonna write “shootin’ bullets at the moon” in my phone.


Here’s the video of Florida Georgia Line’s hit “This Is
How We Roll” (feat. Luke Bryan).

Then the next day I got back in the bus by myself, and started that chorus. I had the “This Is How We Roll” title, and I was messin’ with some chords and this melody. (He sings) “This is how we roll-oh-oh,” and I had “hangin’ round, singing out everything on the radio.” I was feelin’ great, with the chorus getting to a good place, Then I called Cole and said, “You’ve gotta come over and see what I’m working on.” We got a little bit of the verse and cleaned up the chorus, and then we called Tyler (Hubbard) up, and said “Hey check this out.” We got the song shaped up pretty well. Then I called Luke Bryan and we added a bridge and fine-tuned the second verse. And that was that, man (laughs).

DK: You’ve also written hit songs for other artists like Jason Aldean and Cole Swindell. Do you like writing songs for other artists, and what are your favorite songs that you’ve written for other artists?

Kelley: For some reason, it’s probably harder to get an outside cut these days than it was 10 years ago. I never truly set out to write for anybody. There are days that it can happen, but I think if you get something started, like the chorus, or verse and chorus. You try to write the best song you can, and get out of your own way and land on something that’s real and fresh.

With Cole Swindell’s “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight,” I’m real proud of that one. I started that one by myself, and then I called Cole up. It was around the same time period as “This Is How We Roll.” Also, “You Make It Easy” for Jason Aldean, that’s one of my favorite songs I’ve been a part of as a co-writer. That was a great day. We were out on the road on a bus when we wrote that song.

With “Lights Come On” for Aldean, we wrote that at our treehouse in Nashville back in the day. The Warren Brothers brought that song in. They had a good chunk of the chorus and some verse ideas going. I think I freaked them out because I was like, “Man I love this song, but Aldean would crush this.” And I think they were like, “Damn, we were hoping that you guys (FGL) would cut this.” It was a great song and Aldean ended up recording it.

Yeah man, I love it all. I love finding songs for me that I’ve written. And I love songs that I’ve been a part of as a writer, finding its true home. I live for anything to do with songs—writing songs and finding songs.

Here’s the link to Brian Kelley’s “Written By” Playlist on Spotify: BK’s “Written By” Playlist on Spotify

Here’s the link to Brian Kelley’s site: https://www.officialbriankelley.com/