Florida Georgia Line have had an impressive reign atop the country charts and on Saturday (June 9), the duo were recognized in Nashville for four of their most recent hits. Their four chart toppers include “H.O.L.Y.,” “May We All” featuring Tim McGraw, and “God, Your Mama and Me” featuring the Backstreet Boys — all off FGL’s 2016 Dig Your Roots album — and their massive crossover hit, “Meant to Be,” with Bebe Rexha. FGL’s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley shared the celebration with collaborators Bebe and the Backstreet Boys, who were also in attendance.
Ahead of the No. 1 party at FGL House in Downtown Nashville, One Country spoke with FGL, the Backstreet Boys and Bebe to learn the evolution of their collaborations. It was only fitting that their multiple No. 1 party was held during CMA Fest, as that’s where FGL’s Brian and Tyler first met Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys two years ago. The three men kept in touch and formed a friendship, and BK and Tyler eventually decided to send “God, Your Mama and Me” to the boy band.
“I’ll never forget the first time I heard the song,” Nick recalls. “I think it was the CMA Awards when they played it for me. Tyler and BK, they said, ‘We got this new album coming out. There’s this song that we want you to hear and if you like it, we feel like it sounds like a Backstreet Boys record in a strange way.’ I found that ironic because obviously they’ve done some progressive country music in itself, but that they would even consider us.”
FGL later asked them to be on the track, convinced that their five-part harmonies would be the perfect addition to the song. AJ McLean says the final recording turned out better than they ever dreamed. “For it to go as high as it went, the highest it could possibly go to No. 1, blew us all away,” he marvels.
The Backstreet Boys further explain that they immediately related to the lyrics within “God, Your Mama and Me,” being husbands and fathers themselves. Kevin Richardson says the music video, which features their wives and kids, also serves as an “eternal memory” captured with their families.
“We’re all fathers. We’re all husbands. We’re all married and we’re all happy in our individual lives. To sing a song like ‘God, Your Mama and Me,’ it relates to us. The Backstreet Boys aren’t trying to be anything that we’re not,” Brian Littrell shares. “We’re music lovers. We’re fans of different genres. We’re not trying to force things, that’s not why we’re here.”
As appreciative as the Backstreet Boys were for their successful collaboration with FGL, the duo was equally grateful that the ’90s boy band agreed to assist on their track. Longtime fans of the Backstreet Boys, Tyler says he and BK were honored that the pop act was willing to sing on “God, Your Mama and Me,” adding that they aim to learn from each artist they work with.
“We love to learn from other artists. We also love to bring in artists that have had a huge influence on our music and our life. We grew up listening to George Strait and Backstreet Boys,” Tyler adds. “It’s cool to see them continue to be so relevant, so hot and so on fire. It’s such an honor to be able to do a song with them and to see their thankfulness as well. They’re so humbled and thankful to be a part of country music and be able to do a song with us and we feel the same way. It’s a cool mutual respect.”
Everyone in this picture knows exactly how incredible collaborating with @FLAGALine can be! @THubbmusic and @PlayBkPlay, thank you for introducing us to this community and literally opening your home to us. @BebeRexha, you’re the sweetest! Here’s to many more memories! pic.twitter.com/u8NfP9bxko
— Backstreet Boys (@backstreetboys) June 9, 2018
Florida Georgia Line have been straddling genre lines with numerous collaborations over the years, and no artist has benefitted more than Bebe. While “God, Your Mama and Me” was the Backstreet Boys’ introduction into the country world, “Meant to Be” was also Bebe’s opening to the genre. The song currently holds the second-longest reign on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and has seen massive airplay on pop radio as well. Well known in the pop world for penning hits for Selena Gomez, Eminem and Rihanna, among others, Bebe says she’s grateful for the acceptance of the country community.
“Meant to Be” is Bebe’s first foray into the country world and the pop star confesses that when her manager set her up on a co-write with FGL’s Tyler, she actually thought she was spending the day writing with Little Big Town.
“When I got there I was really confused and I was like, ‘Where are the girls?’ And he said, ‘No, it’s just me and BK,'” she recalls with a laugh.
Ahead of their co-write, Bebe says Tyler’s wife, Hayley, told him not to worry too much about their writing session that day. “She said, ‘If it was meant to be, it’ll be that you guys will write a great song,” Bebe explains.
Bebe tells One Country that what she’s learned from Florida Georgia Line about the country community is how accepting each artist is of each other, especially the women.
“At the ACMs, all the girls share one dressing room. It’s so different from the pop world. Everyone is equal and there are no egos and everyone is respectful,” she tells us. “That’s been really nice because the pop world is such a different vibe, especially with women. It feels so much more fulfilling. In the pop world, if you have a No. 1 song you’re never going to get a congratulations.”
Bebe and the Backstreet Boys appreciated the country genre’s celebration of their hit singles. Additionally, they have Florida Georgia Line to thank for their introduction into the country music world and the Nashville writing community, and each act says this won’t be the last time they’ll be in Music City. While Bebe said she’d love to come back and write in Nashville, Backstreet Boys hinted that this might not be their only collaboration with FGL. They’ve already recorded three songs for their next album in Nashville and admit that they may want some reciprocation from the country duo on their upcoming project.
“They’ve enriched our lives so much with this opportunity in the country world,” Howie Dorough concedes.
1. “GOD YOUR MAMA AND ME” — FGL feat. Backstreet Boys
SONGWRITERS : Josh Kear, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson
2. “MEANT TO BE” — FGL feat. Bebe Rexha
SONGWRITERS: Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley, Bebe Rexha, Josh Miller, David Garcia
3. “H.O.L.Y.” – FGL
SONGWRITERS: Nate Cypert, busbee, William Wilk Larsen
4. “MAY WE ALL” — FGL feat. Tim McGraw
SONGWRITERS: Rodney Clawson and Jamie Moore