Tyler Hubbard Gains Perspective and Gratitude as He Launches His Solo Career: 'A New Appreciation'

·4 min read

Music fans know Tyler Hubbard's face and voice, but they may not know his name. Hubbard spent the last 12 years as the voice of multi-platinum selling country duo Florida Georgia Line.

Known for hits including "Cruise," "H.O.L.Y." and "'Round Here," Florida Georgia Line was among the most successful duos in genre history, but in 2021 the two decided to call it quits. Member Brian Kelley revealed plans for his solo career immediately, but the decision took Hubbard longer. The married father of three is a successful songwriter, and he thought his career would shift to behind the scenes. However, Hubbard soon realized he wasn't ready to retire from the stage.

tyler hubbard on tour
tyler hubbard on tour

Josiah Van Dien Tyler Hubbard

His debut solo single, "5 Foot 9," was released this spring, has already accumulated 117 million streams, and is a Top 10 hit at country radio. The mid-tempo was inspired by his wife Hayley — who is 5'10" — and is from Hubbard's new EP Dancin' in the Country that is out now.

"I'm having a good time," Hubbard tells PEOPLE. "I have a new perspective on life, and a new gratitude for the gift of music, the gift of connection with humans and the ability to get on stage and be able to even get in front of a real crowd has just been ... there's a new appreciation there."

tyler hubbard on tour
tyler hubbard on tour

Tristan Cusick Tyler and Hayley Hubbard

RELATED: Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley 'Support Each Other on the Next Chapter' as Duo Celebrate Opening of FGL Museum Exhibit

Hubbard, 35, is a different man than he was in 2010 when he and Kelley launched Florida Georgia Line. He was single then and now he's married with three kids — daughter Olivia, 4½, and sons Luca, 3, and Atlas, 2 this month. His perspective as a man and a creative person has changed and his music matured along with him.

"First and foremost, I love writing songs and bringing songs to life," he says. "That's enabled me and created opportunities to become an artist who can see the world and meet fans all over the place."

Hubbard tells their stories, too, and he sees it as a gift and a responsibility that he appreciates and takes seriously. Hubbard hopes the new music gives people perspective on who he is outside of the chart-topping duo.

Tyler Hubbard tour credit Tristan Cusick
Tyler Hubbard tour credit Tristan Cusick

Tristan Cusick Tyler Hubbard

tyler hubbard on tour
tyler hubbard on tour

Tristan Cusick Tyler Hubbard

Florida Georgia Line played their final scheduled show earlier this month.

"I want to move people," Hubbard says. "I want to make people feel something. I love making people feel good, but there's also other elements of life and emotions that I want to tap into. There is loss. There's pain. There's grief. There are difficult times. We all have been through it, and I want to tap into that and be real, vulnerable, and transparent with who I am in an effort to connect authentically with people."

Tyler Hubbard tour credit Tristan Cusick
Tyler Hubbard tour credit Tristan Cusick

Tristan Cusick Tyler Hubbard

Country music fans have the opportunity to see Hubbard play his songs live right now as he is on tour with Keith Urban. The singer recently played three days in a row for the first time in three years. He admits it's been an adjustment to get used to being the only singer on stage, but it's one he made easily. Hubbard says it "feels right."

"It just sort of felt like riding a bike," he says, explaining that the pandemic-enforced hiatus went a long way in helping him get comfortable making music alone. "It just felt more comfortable than maybe I even expected."

tyler hubbard on tour
tyler hubbard on tour

Josiah Van Dien Tyler Hubbard and band

RELATED: Florida Georgia Line Performs Last Show After 12 Years as a Duo: 'Closing of an Incredible Chapter'

Because of the pandemic, Hubbard didn't go from playing in a duo every day to a solo artist overnight. He had months at home where he was creating alone — or with co-writers. He says COVID-19 had a "silver lining" when it came to his career.

"It gave us time to reset the table a little bit and regain perspective and gratitude," he says. "It prepared us for the transition that we technically didn't even know was going to happen, but it did. It felt like, 'OK, everything's sort of working out how it's supposed to here.'"

tyler hubbard on tour
tyler hubbard on tour

Tristan Cusick Tyler Hubbard

Hubbard couldn't be more thankful to Urban for taking him on tour and giving him a solo platform to reconnect with fans. Seeing their nightly reactions is humbling and keeps him excited for the journey. But, he says, he's thinking about success differently than he did early in his career. He feels humbled every night and says he's less concerned with streaming numbers and country radio than he is with how fans react to his songs live.

"People are digging these songs, and I'm seeing younger fans show up at these shows that are screaming every word," Hubbard says. "I'm seeing younger and younger kids connecting with these songs. It really does mean probably more than it's ever meant before. It's a really exciting time."

tyler hubbard on tour
tyler hubbard on tour

Tristan Cusick Tyler Hubbard