Florida Georgia Line is rocking the country world and scoring hits along the way. The band could go home with four Academy of Country Music Awards Sunday night, including Album of the Year and Single of the year.
"CBS This Morning" contributor Jamie Wax sat down with the guys of Florida Georgia Line in Nashville.
Florida native Brian Kelley and Georgia native Tyler Hubbard met at college in Nashville. Before long they were writing and playing together - a match made in Solo cup heaven.
Wax: When you were just sort of dreaming together as college students at Belmont University, did you ever think in your wildest dreams you'd be where you are now?
Kelley: I don't think so, man. I mean, maybe in some form or fashion but definitely not this quick, and definitely not at this magnitude.
They took Wax back to one of the first places they performed, Nashville's 12th and Porter.
Kelley: You know this place brings up some big memories back - it even smells the same, kinda - beer and country music.
In just two years, the duo has gone from performing in venues like that, to selling out arenas all over the world.
Wax: Is the basic approach to a live show, whether it's 350 people or 74,000 people, the same for you guys?
Hubbard: I think it's exactly the same, yeah man. We used to come out here on this little stage and give it all we got, 110 percent. And try to throw the biggest party this place has ever seen, and that's still what we do. Whether we're in an amphitheater or an arena, or whatever. We kind of have the same mentality - go out there and kind of sing every song like it's our last, you know, and give it all we got.
What they've got is four number one singles off their debut album "Here's to the Good Times." Their biggest hit cruised to number one with help from someone who knows a thing or two about country grammar, rapper Nelly.
"Cruise" is the best-selling digital country single of all time, with close to 7 million downloads. Florida Georgia Line's fusion of country and rap has set them apart. Starting a new sub-genre that New York magazine called "bro-country."
Wax: So when you guys met back at Belmont, were you listening to hip hop and listening to country separately and thinking, "Wow, these would be great together?"
Kelley: Way back.
Hubbard: And rock and Christian and ...
Hubbard: Everything. As you can tell, our music's pretty heavily rock influenced, pretty heavily hip hop, you know, influenced with hip hop and country as well.
Wax: Country radio can be very, very specific about what they wanna play. Is there any concern about getting your stuff played when you decide to mix all these genres?
Hubbard: Man, you know what? Not really. We try not to over-think anything too much. And whatever that sound is, that's -- that's what it is.
Kelley: When you turn on the radio, it sounds like Florida Georgia Line, not anybody else. And you know, it's never about creating this crazy new sound or whatever. Just literally, we just wanna make music that we love.
Intentional or not, Florida Georgia Line is breaking country music boundaries. But in the end, the guys agree that they are sticking to their roots
Wax: If you were gonna be defined by someone as a certain type of artist at heart, would it be country artists?
Kelley: 100 percent.
Wax: Why is that important to you?
Kelley: It's who we are.
Hubbard: It's how we were raised. You know, we really connect emotionally and personally to country music. And you know, we might like to dance to hip hop or party to rock-n-roll. But when it comes down to it, our life is country.
Kelley: And man, I think everybody just needs to turn the music up and enjoy it.
On Sunday night, Florida Georgia Line will be hosting "Fan Jam" - a fans-only, live concert event which takes place in Las Vegas as part of the ACMs.
To see the full interview with Florida Georgia Line, watch the video in the player above