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Why Brian Kelley's "Sunshine State of Mind" Is Much More Than a Summer Vibe

In an exclusive interview with E! News, Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley explained how Florida and his wife Brittney Kelley helped inspire his authentic solo album.

By Mike Vulpo Jul 22, 2021 1:00 PMTags
Watch: Florida Georgia Line Reveals What Makes Them Country

When it's time to cruise down to Florida, Brian Kelley can't help but get his shine on.

Whether he's riding an e-bike with friends through state park trails or grilling on a boat drifting through the panhandle, the Florida Georgia Line member immediately fell in love with his second home outside of Nashville.

"This area is super special to me and it's home for me and my wife Brittney Kelley and we're just super thankful," Brian shared in an exclusive interview with E! News. "It's our anchor. It's our guiding light."

So, perhaps it should be no surprise that when COVID-19 put a pause on touring and live performances, Brian headed to Florida where he was inspired to create his debut solo album titled Sunshine State of Mind

According to Brian, the project is "authentic and super intentional" with plenty of tracks perfect for whatever summer vacation you find yourself on. "There are little messages throughout these songs," he teased. "Whether you're stuck in an office somewhere in the Midwest or if you're stuck in the snow, you can have that sunshine state of mind." 

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Musicians Performing Live on Stage

Many of the songs are inspired by Brian's love story with Brittney. Married since 2014, the couple shares four German Shepherds together and created a fashion empire known as Tribe Kelley. When writing songs for the record, Brian couldn't help but be inspired by the woman who has brought plenty of sunshine into his life.

 

Ben Christensen

"I knew right when I met Brittany back in the day that there was something very special about her and then a couple years later, our paths crossed," he recalled. "And that was right when you know FGL was taking off and we couldn't have been busier. I just knew in my gut she was the one and I couldn't wait to get our lives started and I couldn't wait to write songs about her so that's something that comes natural."

Brian added while laughing, "Between her and Florida, my muses are covered pretty much."

When it was time for Brittney to hear some of the personal songs, there wasn't a grand reveal. Instead, Brian explained how his wife was consistently supportive and never too far away to share feedback.

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"I think she just enjoys the process and she was a part of watching what we created," he explained. "She was always around and it gives you that extra, you know, I want to make sure I show up with my best today because my baby's watching me."

 

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As fans continue to blast the songs on speakers, many are watching the accompanying music videos online. Whether you're glued to "Sunburnt, Barefoot & in Love" or "Made by the Water," chances are you'll spot Brittney making an appearance.

According to Brian, his wife was invited to the party because he wanted the project to be authentic. As he explained, "There's no reason for me to have any other girl. I want my wife in there. I want to showcase our love and I just think it's important. It takes all the guessing out of it. Here's my life. Here's my wife and that's how we do it." 

Looking ahead, Brian is hopeful that a second season of Sunshine State of Mind will be created. But for now, he's preparing to hit the road with Tyler Hubbard for Florida Georgia Line's massive fall tour.

Warner Music Nashville

"There's nothing like tour season. There's nothing like throwing the biggest parties on the road and who knows what kind of songs we're gonna write this fall," he teased. "When you're connected with your fans on the road at that level, its spiritual. They need it. We need it. We can't wait to get back on the road."

And while the coming months may be busier than ever, Brian will never forget his home in the Sunshine State. When looking back on the past months, the country singer recalls drinking Old Camp Whiskey down by the beach with local friends.

"We do Monday Fundays," he joked. "Sunday Fundays turn into Monday Fundays…it's just a whole vibe."

Or maybe, it's just how Brian and his fans roll.

Watch a brand new episode of Nightly Pop Monday through Thursday at 11:30 p.m., only on E!