The Florida Georgia Line singer released his debut four-track EP, BK's Wave Pack, on Tuesday

By Brianne Tracy
April 13, 2021 10:00 AM
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brian kelley
Brian Kelley
| Credit: Ben Christensen

When Brian Kelley — one half of the duo Florida Georgia Line — turned 35 last August, he knew it was finally the right time to put a solo project into motion, a lifelong dream of his.

"That was a big moment and turning point for me creatively," Kelley tells PEOPLE. "I started to really zoom in and focus on me and what I wanted to say and how I wanted to sing."

At the time, Kelley had been spending some much-deserved time off since finishing his fifth FGL album with bandmate Tyler Hubbard that May.

"I took off a couple months to do some soul searching," he says. "I fished a bunch, I did a lot of journaling and creative writing and guitar playing. I did everything under the sun to keep myself busy and happy. And me and [my wife] Brittney got a lot of time together. We did a bunch of cooking and playing with our dogs. I even got my arm back in shape doing some pitching."

Those moments of downtime ended up providing the inspiration for Kelley's breezy debut solo EP BK's Wave Pack, out Tuesday. From "Party on the Beach" to "Sunday Service in the Sand," each of the four tracks on the EP is meant to offer a glimpse into Kelley's life.

"What I was wanting to do with this project was make it me and make every single word matter," he says. "I'm not going to sing something that's not true or that's not me."

In order to get to this place, Kelley had to take it back to his beginning. On his track "Made By the Water," he pays homage to his home state of Florida.

"I was born in Daytona Beach and grew up in Ormond Beach, so I was made by the water," he says. "It's got an even deeper meaning than just a love song and kind of a little party jam. It hits home to me. We live by the beach in Florida now, and it was important for me to anchor down years ago in Florida and really plant some roots here. My music reflects that: I'm really just singing about the life that we're living and what things that I love. I mean, my wife is pretty much in every song."

Kelley proves just that on "Sunday Service in the Sand," which was inspired by a ritual he and his wife do "every day" of putting their feet in the sand.

"Every day can be church and anywhere can be church," he says. "So that song came from a real place. I want people to know who I am completely — there's not just the party side, there's a lot of pride in me and a lot of layers to who I am, how I think and how I operate. I'm excited to share all sides of me."

As Kelley puts it, Brittney — whom he shares the clothing brand Tribe Kelley with — is his No. 1 fan.

"I'll catch her whistling the songs on the EP every day," he says. "There's always a new one that's stuck in her head, and same with me. But yeah, she's got a cool whistle thing she'll do with my vocal licks that I do on the songs and it's really funny because it's pretty spot on."

"She's my biggest fan and just my biggest support," he adds. "I know I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for her. She's just really been a great partner on all layers of our marriage and friendship and all the different business things that we do together. She's really pushed me and challenged me and supported me. I couldn't be more in love with her and happy."

Brian Kelley and Brittney Kelley attend the Tribe Kelley Celebration For Brand New Hunt Club Collection
Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Tribe Kelley

Even after spending more time at home together than ever during the COVID-19 lockdown, Kelley says his relationship with Brittney — whom he married in 2013 — just "keeps getting better."

"We have such a great relationship," he says. "This past year has been pretty simple. We didn't really travel but I can be happy wherever we lay our head down. And there's a song on my record called 'Don't Take Much' that was based off of us living in our carriage house on our property here in Florida while we were finishing our two-year build. We were in a tiny space with four dogs and crammed in there, but it was a blast."

"I know for a lot of people when they think of musicians, it's private planes and all these things — and sometimes it is — but I'm just thankful for every single breath, every single moment," he adds. "I don't need too much to make me happy."

Along with his wife, Kelley has a forever fan in Hubbard, 34, who is also working on solo music of his own.

"We created some really cool outlets and freedom for ourselves in addition to what we do with FGL," Kelley says. "We've been staying in communication about everything and letting each other know what's going on and hyping each other up with all the good news and all the good vibes and all the cool opportunities that are coming in for both of us with FGL. Then the cherry on top is these outlets we've created for ourselves individually."

"He's got my support, and I've got his support," he continues. "And at the end of the day, we're excited to come back together on the road. How much fun is that going to be? After doing things separate, I couldn't be more excited for him and all the collabs he's done and how hard he's working. I think he's going to have an incredible run of hit songs, no doubt about it. And I think we're both really happy with where we're at. It's a fun life to create and see what's out there. It's also a short life, and we're excited to honor our creativity and our artistry."

Florida Georgia Line
Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line
| Credit: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

In tandem with the EP's release on Tuesday, Kelley also dropped the sun-kissed music video for his new track "Beach Cowboy," which was also inspired by his life in Florida.

"We all have fun down here at the beach, and I'll wear my beach cowboy hat, as we call it," he says. "There's a couple of locals that are in that same head space down here, so it's kind of like a little term. For the song, we just dug on that and that state of mind. It's a fun way of life to live. We're not always in the sand or by the beach or by the water — real life is working hard and enjoying when you can make the most of the weather. The video is lighthearted and fun. We had a good time shooting it and watching it come to life."

BK's Wave Pack is just the start of what's still to come for Kelley, who plans to release a full record in the coming months and hopes to get back on the road soon.

"I'm working on some things personally and then I know FGL, we're looking to hit the road soon," he says. "We're just waiting on the go-ahead, waiting on all those logistical things to come together, all the dots to connect. I'm excited to see what happens. I don't want to lose this moment and this creative time I'm in. I want to keep hitting it hard."