Brian Kelley’s solo album ‘Sunshine State of Mind’ celebrates sea and sand
His new solo album makes it clear that Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley isn’t the one from Georgia. His brand-new Sunshine State of Mind celebrates the sun, sand, and shimmering seas that make his own home state so magical.
Like many musicians, Brian Kelley had some down time over the past year or so, and it turned out to be an incredibly creative period for him. For his big batch of new songs, he found all the inspiration he needed along some familiar coastlines.
He was born and raised in Ormond Beach, on the Atlantic side. Today, he and his wife, Brittney, live in Grayton Beach, on the Gulf of Mexico.
“There are so many really cool places in Florida, and it’s such a great muse for me,” says Kelley. “This isn’t just us trying to write a summer song for radio – these are my soul songs.”
He co-produced the 17-song collection with Corey Crowder for Warner Music Nashville/Nashville South Records. As he branches out more as a lead singer, he also reveals more of a personal side. In song after song, he honors the free-and-easy life that he and his wife have carved out together.
Don’t expect a wild beach party. The overall mood of the album is more like a relaxed resort vacation. Softer tunes like “Made by the Water” and “Say the Word” sway like a palm tree in a salty breeze.
In the lead-off track, “Boat Names,” the singer vows to someday name his boat after his sweetheart. In real life, he’s already made good on that promise – the Brittney Marie had its maiden voyage a few months back. “It’s a 2007 56-foot Sunny Briggs Custom Carolina,” he says proudly. “We’ve really enjoyed it. We closed on it in January and took our first trip down to Key West from Palm Beach. We did some sailfishing, some swordfishing, some booze cruising, and some trolling.”
In “Beach Cowboy,” a beach-bum-in-boots has a hankering to “lasso up a spicy margarita.” Here’s what Brian Kelley has to say about his preferred summertime beverage: “It’s got to be fresh, it’s got to be shaken, and it’s got to have a little jalapeño in there. I like a strawberry spicy margarita. It’s not as traditional but it hits right down at the beach. You don’t want to go too, too spicy where your forehead’s sweating and you’re ruining your vibe.”
The release of his first solo album in no way means an end to the massively popular FGL, he says. In fact, he goes back on tour in the fall with his regular musical partner, Tyler Hubbard.
“It’s been a lifelong dream to release a solo album,” says Kelley. “I knew this was the time for me to take a chance and try something new and step out and follow my gut just like I always have and to honor my creativity and to honor my artistry. These songs just felt like they were falling out of the sky. I pinpointed the writers I wanted to collaborate with and finish them.”
He suggests that a second solo album is likely because he’s still in a creative groove. In the meantime, he’s got a great boat with a pretty name on the back that he plans to keep enjoying this summer.
“I like having some music going and just being with some good friends, grilling some meat while we’re trolling, and waiting for a bite,” he says. “It’s a game of patience, and when the bite goes on, it’s electric. If it’s a little rougher out, we’ll just go to the harbor and just kind of take it easy and enjoy a nice sunset.”
Stream the album here: