How Morgan Wallen Met FGL

Morgan Wallen has a hit duet with Florida Georgia Line. But how did it happen?  Morgan, Brian Kelley, and Tyler Hubbard co-hosted the Countdown to tell the story.

Morgan, when did you first become aware of Florida Georgia Line? “I graduated high school in 2011, and right after that, my buddy’s parents had a boat, and I remember hearing your music then.” Tyler said, “Me & BK started writing in 2009, and got our deal in 2012. So that sounds about right.”

So Morgan, I understand your mom was also a fan of FGL? “Yeah, she started looking up producers, and she sent me to their producer. She said ‘I think you need to work with Joey Moi.’ That was the only name she gave me. Two years later, here we are?”

When did you move to Nashville? “It was in July of 2015.  Not long after that I got a publishing deal and a record deal. I didn’t expect it to be anything like that. I went down to play for some people, and they invited me back.”

When did FGL first hear Morgan? “Probably around that time. Our manager told me they had this guy who was super-talented, he’s really cool, a lot like you guys, I think you could be friends, and shortly thereafter, we took him on the road, and after we saw him live, we knew he had something special.”

How much of his music did you hear? “Probably just one song when I knew he had something. He has that voice that’s infectious, it stands out, and can’t be duplicated. He’s a great writer too.” Morgan said, “You all know how to start my week!”

How would you explain his writing? “He’s one of the best in this town. He’s so much further than BK & I were. The work ethic he brings to the room is awesome.  You can tell a writer with experience. He’s further down the road than most writers.  He’s been able to write with us for a while.  That’s how we wrote ‘You Make It Easy’ for Jason Aldean. Having that creative outlet has been huge for all of us.

Talk about writing You Make It Easy: “Tyler came in one day and said the artist lifestyle is not something that’s super easy for a relationship.  But his wife Haley has made it seem easy. So we said ‘Let’s write that.'” “That fell out quick after that. We just rolled with it.  It’s one of those special songs that was written in an hour or less.”

So let’s talk about “Up Down.”  I understand your manager brought it to you, Morgan? “Yeah, at the 2017 Key West Songwriters Festival, our manager heard it, and he asked them for the demo, he sent it to me, and I said, ‘Don’t play this for anyone else!’ And we recorded it about a week or so later. It was quick.”

How did you get FGL involved? “I think it’s one of those things, we’re all friends, we’re all hanging out a lot. I’d already done a version, we have the same producer, so they heard the song, they liked it, and I said ‘Why don’t you just hop on it?’ It was just that easy.” Tyler says, “When the song is right, BK & I will jump on it. So it felt right, we love Morgan, so it was a no-brainer for us.”

So now that you’ve seen Morgan’s show, what do you think?  Give me the critique: “Morgan’s dialed up. Him & his whole band. They get me pumped every time I see them. Morgan’s voice, he never misses a note. I think BK & I both wish we had some of Morgan’s voice. He’s got a natural gift for sure. He can be six beers deep and go out on stage and kill it somehow, and not miss a note.” “They’re giving away my secrets! That’s how I do it!” “But we’ve watched Morgan step up and become a pro over the last couple years. It’s been fun to watch.”

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