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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos

SPOTLIGHT ON TYLER HUBBARD

Strong is out now!

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Multi-Platinum-selling artist Tyler Hubbard has dropped his sophomore solo album, Strong. We caught up with the musician to chat about the release, his forthcoming Australian tour and so much more!


Known as one half of multi-platinum duo Florida Georgia Line, Hubbard ventured out on his solo endeavours with the release of his Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Gold-certified self-titled debut album last January. Earlier this year, he made his live solo Australian debut at CMC Rocks.


Hubbard will return to our shores this October, kicking off the Australian leg of his Strong World Tour at Melbourne's Forum on October 6. The run of shows will continue on to Sydney's Enmore Theatre on October 9, before wrapping up at The Star Theatre on the Gold Coast on October 13. The musician will also appear at Deni Ute Muster, Savannah In The Round and Over Yonder Country Music Festival throughout October. Tickets are on sale now!



You are a few years into releasing solo music now, but going back in time a bit, was there any kind of apprehension on embarking on a solo project or did you find it to be like quite an organic process?


Yeah, it was fairly organic. It was really liberating and it just felt good to kind of step into the unknown a bit. I mean, there were definitely times where it was a little scary, but it was a fun challenge and something that I was excited to do once I kind of set my mind to it. Just fun to get to connect with the fans on a more personal individual level, you know? And it was fairly unexpected for me. So just like life does, it was just a curve ball that I looking back now I'm thankful for. So I'm having a lot of fun with it and like I said, it's really re-energized me and giving me a boost of creative energy if you will.



That's so great. Obviously it's been received so well, so that's really great.


Thank you. Yeah, it's been cool.



How do you think your artistry has evolved from the debut self-titled solo album into what you're presenting on your new album, Strong?


I think it's a little bit less introductory of who I am and more just you're in the meet now, we're having fun. We're just making music that still let's the fans in on who I am, but it's not as much of an introduction, and just a little bit deeper if you will, a little bit. But then again, a little bit more lighthearted and fun and it's just I don't know, I would just say it's sort of the second chapter.



When it comes to the sonic side, obviously it's rooted within country music, but how did you kind of go about crafting the sonic realm that Strong exists within?


We sort of took the same process that we normally do and got in the studio with some of the best Nashville studio musicians and let them have some creative freedom. We gave them a general direction and just said, ‘have fun with it and let's see where it goes.’ And that was a really fun process and we just got as much as we could get from those guys. And then we went back and kind of sifted through it all and we really kind of found ourselves falling and leaning into an eighties retro kind of influence mixed with obviously country, and guitars and drums and all that. But, it sort of has a unique feel sonically, I think, you know, sort of fresh. For me it felt fresh even though that seems like an oxymoron. It felt like it was you know, some eighties inspirations in there. It's a lot of fun, makes me wanna dance and makes me wanna play these things live, so I'm excited.



I back it, changes up your established sound too. Which song are you most excited for people to hear from the album that they haven't heard yet?


Ooh. Maybe Strong, or Take Me Back. I think they're both really cool songs and strong in their own right, and songs that I'm excited to see if the fans can connect with for sure.



The album was led by the single Vegas. Such a great track, and I love how you see the title you think of Vegas and could assume it’s a party song but it’s really this beautifully sweet love song. What inspired it, how did the song come to be?


You kind of nailed it. I mean, it's got a fun little rock energy to it, but it's also kind of a cool love at first sight story, that's just relatable to everybody in some capacity at some point, you know, where you felt that way about somebody. So yeah, it's a fun one, I don't really have anything like it and you know, got to write it with a couple of my buddies in Nashville and just went back and rewrote the second verse of that song actually, just to sort of try to elevate the original demo. But turned out great I'm really proud of it and it's been fun to play live. I've played it a few times. We actually had a show in Vegas and we were like, how can we not play Vegas here? The first time we played it was in Vegas.



Is there a particular line/lyrical musical motif from Vegas that you find gets stuck in your head more often than not, or maybe the one you're most proud of?


I think the part [in Vegas] where I just say just “me, you and Elvis saying I do.” It just paints a very literal vivid picture for me. You know, I can just see that almost as I'm singing it. So I don't know why that's one of those parts. I just catch myself singing that part of the chorus randomly outta nowhere.



You’ve just played your first ever solo shows in Australia as part of CMC Rocks. In more exciting news, you’ll be returning later this year for a full blown headline tour. Having toured here before with Florida Georgia Line, how do you feel about returning with your own show and solo music?


I feel really excited about it. I know the fans bring such a good energy here in Australia and I love how they connect to the music here. It's really fun to play it live and the energy that they bring, the passion, they're usually singing all the words and just love country music here. So it's a lot of fun. I'm excited for October. It's gonna be really cool to bring the full solo show here and you know stop all around the country.



I've seen Florida Georgia Line live twice now, and whenever anyone asks me about live shows, they're always in the list of shows that come to mind because they're just so epic. So what's in store for audiences who attend a Tyler Hubbard show?


Yeah man, I would say it's still pretty high energy, you know it's a lot of fun. I want people to come and let loose and enjoy themselves, but also it's a journey. You know, it's got some different elements and dynamics and different emotions. I really want people to kind of go through an emotional journey and be able to understand and get to know me more through my music, you know? I want my show to go deep, but on a surface level I just want it to be fun. I want people to leave feeling good and wanting more and just having a good time.



Yeah. I back that, it's the best of both worlds.


No doubt.



How do you go about crafting the ultimate set list for your live shows? You have so much music, obviously you can't perform every song. But also which three songs to you are like a staple that you love to play live, they have to be in the set?


I mean we have to play, Five Foot Nine, obviously, that was my first single. We have to play Dancing in the Country, that just sets the pace and it's just super fun. Tough is one of those songs, it's always in the set. It's a lot of fun. I'll do a couple throwbacks and play a couple songs that have changed my life as a songwriter, like Cruise and some other outside songs, Jason Aldean songs. Hit 'em with some familiar songs and then give 'em some new ones as well, you know stuff like Vegas, A Lot with a Little and Wish You would. Wish You Would's a lot of fun live too. I think that song will probably always have to be in the set.



Like I said, you’ve performed in Australia many times over the years. What's your fondest moments having toured Australia previously?


Ooh, good question. I don't know, I mean I think probably just the CMC festival. It's iconic and it's epic. There's only a few festivals in the States that even compare to that. So it's just really cool to be able to come over here. We've played it a couple times, so to watch it grow and now to see where it's at, it's just been incredible. So I'm honoured to still be a part of it.



That’s so special. Who are some country music artists that you think everyone should be listening to? There is a big love and appreciation for country music in Australia.


I think my newest favourite artist is Corey Kent. I love his music man. I got to meet him recently and he seems like a super awesome guy as well. So made me just that much more of a fan. I mean I love Nate Smith as well. I love what he's doing. I think his music's great. But there's so many great new artists. I feel like I probably, like need to go do even my research and dive in, 'cause there's so many new and upcoming artists that are super talented, and that are doing cool stuff. Keeps it exciting.



Beyond the album, what are your 2024 plans? Any more new music by the time you return to Australia?


You know, I don't know exactly. Once this album drops April 12th maybe we'll come with a deluxe, or yeah maybe we'll come with some more new music or just some solo singles later in the year. But I really just hope the fans have time to digest and learn all the songs from the second album. I think October's gonna be perfect 'cause it gives 'em the Summer to really get to know it and familiarise themselves with it. And then come October we'll all be singing and there'll be a party.



Strong is out now!


TYLER HUBBARD AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES


TEG Live Pre-Sale

Friday 17th May 10am AEST

General Public On Sale

Monday 20th May 10am AEST

 

Sunday 06 October - Melbourne, Forum

Wednesday 09 October - Sydney, Enmore Theatre

Sunday 13 October - Gold Coast, The Star Theatre

 

Also appearing at:

Friday 04 October – Deniliquin, Deni Ute Muster

Friday 11 October – Mareeba, Savannah In The Round

Saturday 12 October – Sandstone Point, Over Yonder Country Music Festival


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