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Songs Are Life

The beach cowboy Brian Kelley and his wife Brittney Marie Cole go boldly forward

Singer-songwriter Brian Kelley is powered by three forces: his love for his wife Brittney, his four German shepherds and music. 

Sure, there’s more to this former Florida Georgia Line band member, like spending time with friends and family at his homes in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida and Nashville; launching a retail brand, Tribe Kelley, with Brittney; and growing their NFT collection, Chill Cowboy Country Club. 

But it’s songwriting that fuels him most of all. “To this day, I wake up excited about songs — from a friend, from another artist. Songs are life,” says Kelley, who is working on his second solo album from his studios in both Florida and Nashville. Fans love this Florida-born-and-bred beach cowboy, but he’s exploring different creative spaces for this record, telling new stories and finding joy from collaborations that are inspiring to him.

Late last year, he hunkered down with some of his favorite musicians and fellow songwriters — who share the same passion for ideas, words and melodies — to dig deeper during songwriting retreats, which proved to be fruitful and fun. 

 “Everyone there was a great singer and artist, and we did three different sessions of songwriting camps in Nashville. I wanted to put myself through the wringer, see what I could find,” he says. “There’s magic to be made in creative places. While many shut down over the holidays, I wanted to make a little hay while the sun was still shining.”

One week, he wrote during two sessions a day, every day, reminiscent of his earlier career. “The hustle and heart are still inside of me, and to connect with the songwriter community continuously feels great,” he says. They would riff off one another, recording tracks, honoring every line and story. “It’s a really cool connection, when you’re on the same page and share the same connection, trying to uncover what that room on that day needs from you. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s harder. We would write in the living room, have a fire going, and I was really grateful to have the opportunity,” he shares.  

Not being strangers to hard work, he and Brittney renovated a historic home in Grayton Beach for a retail boutique, Tribe Kelley Surf Post, plus a studio upstairs and green event space complete with a tiki hut in back, where they hosted nearly 30 live shows last year. Country music singer-songwriter Chase Rice did a “sound check” last summer, and Kelley performed favorites as well as new songs, sometimes just days old. “I wanted to be in my own lane and create an intimate fan experience in our own world and invite people into that,” he says. “It was important for me to be home and writing. It changes the course of the record I’m making.”

Brittney is committed to the brand they started eight years ago. “We wrote the blueprint during our first year of marriage, launching it on our first wedding anniversary,” she says. Her apparel and accessories are sourced from local and USA makers, something she is passionate about. From her studio upstairs at Tribe Kelley Surf Post, she is also driving their NFT collection, Chill Cowboy Country Club, a members-only club. “Web3 is coming up quickly on us, and we want to be on the forefront of this technology. We love helping to educate those who are new coming into the space, and we want to introduce country music and country music fans to it while making our mark in the community,” she says. 

With the purchase of an NFT, members get numerous perks, including tickets to events such as concerts, an album release party at the Super Bowl, and pop-ups around the CMA Festival with cocktail hours. “Join with like-minded individuals to come together, network, have fun, and connect — not just with country music fans, but also sports figures and actors, bigger than just country music,” Brittney says. 

This Valentine’s Day, the Kelleys will likely be in Nashville, savoring dinner at Bourbon Steak, then hanging out with their dogs and watching a movie. “We love being together, and it doesn’t take much to make us happy. I’m forever grateful for everything that’s ever happened in my career and that continues to happen — with every door that opens. It continues to feel surreal,” says Kelley.

  “I wanted to be in my own lane and create an intimate fan experience in our own world and invite people into that. It was important for me to be home and be writing. It changes the course of the record I’m making.”

Brittney Kelley launched Tribe Kelley in December 2014, after spending years prior customizing her husband’s stage clothes. With the goal of creating a tribe, unified through fashion and community, the dynamic lifestyle brand has expanded with a brick-and-mortar retail store, Tribe Kelley Surf Post, located in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, and internationally through e-commerce, while manufacturing proudly remains in the States. With several high-profile spotlights in Entertainment TonightForbesPEOPLEWomen’s Wear Daily, and more, Tribe Kelley’s threads have been spotted on today’s hottest stars like Lil Wayne, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, and Kacey Musgraves.