Chase Rice Really Wanted Luke Bryan to Cut ‘Cruise’ Instead of Florida Georgia Line
It's hard to imagine how Florida Georgia Line's career might be different today if they'd never cut "Cruise," their massively-successful breakout debut single. But Chase Rice, who co-wrote the song along with FGL's Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley (as well as Joey Moi and Jesse Rice), says he originally hoped a more established artist would want to release the song.
"I wanted Luke Bryan or somebody big to cut it. And luckily they took it and made it what it was," Rice explains. "Because at that time, nobody knew who they were. They know now."
"Cruise" was an enormous hit for FGL, hitting No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart and staying there for an impressive 24 weeks — a record until Sam Hunt's "Body Like a Back Road" bested it. At the time, it was the longest-running No. 1 hit on the chart.
The song also became the first-ever country single to earn RIAA diamond certification, and in 2014, it became the best-selling country digital single of all time as of that year. "Cruise" also inspired a remix with rapper Nelly, forging the early days of a partnership between Nelly and FGL that would extend all the way into 2021, when they released another new collaboration, "Lil Bit."
"Cruise" became emblematic of FGL's signature sound, a jangly blend of country earworms and hip-hop-inflected swagger. When they wrote the song, though, the duo was still finding their feet as recording artists. Not only did their co-writer, Rice, think the song might do better in a bigger artist's hands — he also thought that it might sound best as a ballad. However, FGL bandmate Kelley had a vision.
"Brian [Kelley] was a huge believer in it. He was like, 'Dude, this is huge, this is monstrous,'" Rice recalls. "I didn't really see it at the time, but I'm glad he did."
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