Brian Kelley Shares the Secrets of His ‘Boat Names’ Mini-Movie
The first song on Brian Kelley's new Sunshine State of Mind album may be the most important. "Boat Names" is a different kind of love song that finds a man promising that one day, he's going to give the girl he loves a boat named after her.
The song is a show of commitment early in a relationship that Kelley says he was toying with for some time before involving co-writers Casey Brown and Parker Welling. "Yeah, it's a dreamer love song," he tells Taste of Country Nights.
"One of these days / I'm putting your pretty little name on the back of a 45-footer," he sings to start the mid-tempo chorus, singing over an acoustic guitar and production that's soft in comparison to FGL songs. "It might sound crazy but one day / I'm gonna make your name one of them boat names."
"That was the first song I wrote for the project. And that was the guiding light and also the anchor," Kelley shares.
"At first, I took some time off last year from May — when Tyler (Florida Georgia Line partner Tyler Hubbard) and I turned in our fifth record, we were done — I took some time off, and just did some soul searching," he recounts. "Played a lot of guitar, wrote in my journal, spent a lot of time with God and Brittney and our dogs, and just was doing everything under the sun, really, other than music. I got my arm back in shape for pitching. I was doing it all."
When Brown and Welling were booked for his songwriting appointment, Kelley figured he'd bring this song for them to help finish. At the time, there wasn't a vision for the expansive music video he dropped on Friday (June 25). He didn't even own the boat! Bethany Ashton Wolf brought them the idea for a short film that finds young versions of themselves falling in love and then passing the torch to real-life BK and Brittney Marie. The script was powerful.
"We started crying reading it down, like, 'Oh my gosh, this is absolutely incredible,'" he recalls thinking. "I love the mini-movie idea, and I think it's, some of it's been done before in a sense, but for me and Brittney and our love story, showing that, it's just ... it feels fresh to us and we couldn't be more excited to get it out."
The Kelleys now own a boat, and it's appropriately called the Brittany Marie. That was a big moment for him — and them as a couple — and it came after a long year spent together with their four dogs, largely isolated from the world during the pandemic.
"I wrote it true to being a dreamer, and just being like, 'Hey babe, one of these days I'm gonna make your name one of them boat names. We're gonna do it,'" he says.