Tim McGraw and Tyler Hubbard Call for Unity on New Duet 'Undivided': 'It's Not About Politics'
"I didn't think we could need it anymore than we needed it last year, but apparently we still do," Tyler Hubbard said of his new duet with Tim McGraw
On "Undivided," the two country stars sing about unity in uncertain times, like what the U.S. is currently experiencing in wake of the attempted coup at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
"Last week, when I heard the news about the Capitol and [how] sad that was, I thought, 'Man, I thought we needed this message last year,'" Hubbard told CBS This Morning on Wednesday, the day of the song and its accompanying music video's release. "I didn't think we could need it anymore than we needed it last year, but apparently we still do."
Hubbard, 33, said he was first inspired to write "Undivided" while quarantining on his tour bus for 12 days after testing positive for COVID-19 in November, as the pandemic, 2020 presidential election and fight against racial injustice raged on.
"It felt like a message I wanted to say and felt like needed to be heard, not only by the fans but even by myself," he said. "I think it was something that was a reminder to me."
While writing the song, Hubbard said he was thinking of McGraw, 53, the whole time because "he's a great guy with a great heart."
When Hubbard sent him the song, McGraw responded, "All right, what are we going to do with this song? How are we going to do it? When are we going to do it? Because it needs to be done right now."
The pair went into the studio to record "Undivided" — their second collaboration, following FGL's 2016 hit "May We All" — over the holidays, not knowing what lay ahead in 2021 with the attempted U.S. Capitol coup.
"The capitol thing [is] something that I don't know that I've processed well enough to even put into words yet," McGraw said. "It was so sad and so profound and something that I never thought I would see in this country."
"But the song, it speaks to more of the social contract that we have with each other," he added. "It's not about politics, it's about how we're supposed to treat each other."
After the attempted coup, McGraw spoke out on Twitter, writing, "A terribly sad day for America, a terribly sad day for leadership." Hubbard has similarly been outspoken on social media, notably about racism in the wake of George Floyd's killing last May.
"It's tough to navigate at times, and you definitely can't make everybody happy," Hubbard said. "But for me, if I'm just living in my truth and speaking my truth out of love, then that's all I can do."
RELATED VIDEO: Two Under 2! Tyler Hubbard Shares Adorable Photos with New Baby Luca and Toddler Olivia
On "Undivided," McGraw and Hubbard sing about considering where others are coming from as the start of something that can bring us together. "Why's it gotta be all white or all black?/And when we gon' learn to try on someone's shoes sometimes?/When we gon' start to see from someone else's eyes?" the two sing in the second verse.
It's a notion Hubbard has applied to his own relationship with FGL bandmate Brian Kelley, with whom he has differing political views. Amid the election in November, Hubbard and his wife Hayley briefly unfollowed Kelley, 35, and his wife Brittney on Instagram. (The Hubbards expressed their support for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, while Kelley told a fan that he did not vote for the Democratic candidates and called public celebrations after the result was announced "a s— show" on his Instagram Stories.)
"I called him and told him that I had unfollowed and not to take it personally," Hubbard said on CBS This Morning. "That's actually continued to unite us as opposed to divide us."
Though the Instagram drama got the rumor mill churning about the fate of FGL, Hubbard and Kelley made it clear in a video posted to Twitter earlier this month that they are "not breaking up." In 2021, though, they do plan to pursue solo endeavors in addition to working on new music as FGL.
"We've been on a 10-year journey together and we wouldn't change it for the world," Hubbard said in the video. "We're going to continue our journey, and you as our fans have changed our lives."
"It's a beautiful place to be, to be able to venture out and have a voice of our own and have individuality a little bit," he continued. "We've always been a package deal. Just to clarify, FGL is not breaking up so anyone who says that, from the mouth of Tyler and BK, 'We are not breaking up.' We're just venturing out."
In an interview with SiriusXM's The Highway on Tuesday, Hubbard said he wants to focus on "songwriting" and doesn't "have any plans of doing a solo project right now." Kelley, meanwhile, plans to release a solo album over the summer.