(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)
After watching Florida Georgia Line close Wednesday night’s (June 5) CMT Music Awards with their hit “Cruise” — with Nelly helping them out — it was obvious the rapper was having a good time. And I thank Tim McGraw for that.
It was McGraw who first pulled Nelly into country nine years ago with their collaboration on “Over and Over.” On the awards show’s red carpet in Nashville, I asked Nelly to compare his work with the two country acts.
“Well, me and Tim were already pretty much veterans for ‘Over and Over,’” he told me. “Tim was already Tim McGraw, and I was already on my third album. We were both stepping out of our element a little bit, and we didn’t have an idea of what the creation could be. We just knew that we were two people who love what we do. We went in and tried to make something work. And we were very fortunate that it turned out like it did.”
And as for “Cruise”?
“Here, it’s something completely different because these guys are new,” Nelly said. “So I always tell them, ‘Yo, enjoy these moments because everybody doesn’t get them.’ I love their energy and their passion. And with them, I get to relive my first walk through everything, you know? Like, everything excites them.”
Florida Georgia Line took home CMT Music Awards for breakthrough video of the year and duo video of the year for “Cruise.”