“Did you hear that gunshot?” asks Brian Kelley, one half of Florida Georgia Line. “My neighbors are outside shooting today.”
Sure enough, there are a few loud bangs as Kelley talks, but they don’t seem to faze him. After all, just a few weeks earlier, he and his FGL bandmate Tyler Hubbard were all but consumed by flames in a dry lakebed outside of Las Vegas. The occasion: the filming of Florida Georgia Line’s new video, “Sippin’ on Fire.” (Watch the clip above.)
“The heat and the intensity of the video had to match the song,” Kelley tells Rolling Stone Country. “This song is a special one, it kind of reminds me of ‘Stay’ off the first record. And I think a lot of people can relate to it. It’s a strong song…that feels very relevant in our lives. Everybody sips on fire here and there.”
Since January, Florida Georgia Line have been bringing “Sippin’ on Fire” and their other party anthems, like the nine-times platinum “Cruise,” to hungry masses around the country on their Anything Goes Tour, with support acts Thomas Rhett and Frankie Ballard. In February, they sold out New York’s Madison Square Garden.
“It’s been badass, man,” says Kelley of the trek. “Everybody has a big ol’ smile on their face, putting their hands in the air. Everybody is having a party. It’s really cool to see where country music is at.”
While country traditionalists often cite Florida Georgia Line’s rock/hip-hop sound as an example of the genre getting too far astray from its roots, that didn’t hinder the duo from landing their first-ever Entertainer of the Year nomination at this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards. On April 19th, they’ll head to Dallas for the ceremony, where they’ll compete with Garth Brooks, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Miranda Lambert for the ACM’s top prize.
“It’s a huge honor. I have a smile on my face just saying that. It means a lot to Tyler and I, to our fans, our families and our crew, everybody that works so hard to make Team FGL what it is. I said it a million times, but we started this thing in a dang Tahoe,” says Kelley, recalling the band’s humble touring beginnings. “To have our fans and radio dig what we’re doing, it’s a special feeling. That’s something we worked really hard for. Every moment of the show we’ve planned out and created for people to remember and talk about.”
Florida Georgia Line will perform at the iHeart Radio Music Awards, airing live this Sunday on NBC, before resuming their tour next month.