Keith Urban Tickets
Juggling between American Idol recordings, tour dates and spending quality time with his Oscar Winning wife Nicole Kidman and two daughters, it took Keith Urban more than twelve months to come up with his last music album, 'Ripcord.' Apart from his signature country tunes, in Ripcord, Keith experimented with genres ranging from country to rock and from pop to even disco.
Keith Urban was born in New Zealand into a family of music lovers. When he was two years of age his family moved to Australia. His parents Robert Urban and Marienne were both fond of American country music. When they discovered their son’s talent for music, they encouraged him to pursue it further. In order to polish his skills, Keith’s father also arranged guitar lessons for him. During his teens he took part in several talent shows and won quite a few of them.
At fifteen Keith dropped out of school to pursue a career in music. He began performing on the Reg Lindsay Country Homestead TV Program and other TV shows and soon gained a strong standing in the Australian country music scene. He performed a number of duets with Jenny Wilson, a local Brisbane artist. Together they went on to win a Golden Guitar Award at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Apart from this, the duo was a regular at the Northern Suburbs Country Music Club near Caboolture.
Entry in the Music Industry
As a child Keith Urban was inclined towards the music that he grew up listening at home. These include compositions of Glen Campbell, Don Williams, Jimmy Webb and Dolly Parton. Inspired by their work, Urban’s early songwriting attempts largely reflected the style of these musical icons. In 1990 he signed up with EMI Records in Australia and released his debut self-titled record, scoring a number of big hits in his native country.
Soon afterwards, Keith relocated to Nashville, Tennessee and appeared in the music video of Alan Jackson’s rendition of ‘Mercury Blues.’ He also went on to co-write songs with Vernon Rust among which are ‘Jesus gets jealous of Santa Claus,’ ‘Tangled up in love,’ and ‘That was him (This is Now).’
At the turn of the 90s a revolution was brought about in Australian country music that led to its acceptance in mainstream music. Among the new artists who made contributions towards this revolution were Gina Jeffreys, Adam Brand, Graeme Connors and the young, brash and blonde Keith Urban who had a unique guitar style, heavily influenced by rock ‘n’ roll.
In 1997, Keith Urban’s Australian band mate Peter Clarke also moved to Nashville and the two formed the band, The Ranch. Their original bassist moved back to Australia and his place was quickly taken up by Jerry Flowers from West Virginia.
The band released its self-titled album with Capitol Records the same year. The sound of their music was rather raw and rowdy, indicative of Australian pub rock. Other than the album, the band released two singles ‘Walkin’ the Country’ and ‘Just some love.’ Although the record received a moderate response and the singles reached the country music charts, the group disbanded the following year owing to throat problems Keith suffered at the time.
Solo Debut in the US
Several artists called on Urban to play guitar for their albums when he was on a musical sabbatical. Famous country singer Garth Brooks asked him to perform on Double Live while the Dixie Chicks invited him to play for their second record. One of Nashville’s top producers Matt Rollings hired Urban as a session guitarist. While working with Rollings and observing his knowledge and understanding of Nashville’s session players, Urban requested him to produce his album and in 1999 Keith finally made his solo debut in the US.
The self-titled debut album by the country singer met a positive response both in his home country and the US. The record comprised of four hit singles including ‘It’s a love thing,’ ‘Your Everything,’ ‘But for the grace of God’ and ‘Where the Blacktop Ends.’ With ‘Your Everything’ Keith became the first New Zealand born artist to reach the Top 10 on the US Country charts. The song is followed by the Allen Shamblin and Steve Wariner written ‘But for the grace of God,’ Keith’s first number one hit.
'Golden Road’ & 'Be Here’
Off to a good start, Keith Urban followed up the success of his debut album with ‘Golden Road,’ which was released in 2002. The record went triple platinum in the US, with three of its singles making it to the top of the country charts. Two years later, Keith came forward with the record 'Be Here’ which sold more than four million copies in the US alone.
These records turned Keith Urban into a contemporary country music superstar, attracting media attention and gaining several award nominations. His label made use of his fast growing popularity by re releasing the album he previously made with his band, The Ranch.
Marriage and fight with Alcoholism
Media interest in Keith Urban’s life increased when he got engaged and married Nicole Kidman in June of 2006. Apart from this highly publicized event, he got involved in a controversy when he enrolled himself into a rehabilitation center to get rid of alcoholism. He cited the busy schedule of his Hollywood star wife as the reason for his vulnerable condition.
“When she would go away [to work on a movie] I would find myself feeling very alone, very lost, and vulnerable to my old ways,” Keith told Rolling Stones.
To get himself physically and mentally fit again, Keith focused on his treatment and postponed all his promotional media appearances. However, his professional career continued to flourish as his album 'Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing’ was released in the November of 2006 and went on to be certified double platinum in the US. It comprised hits such as 'Stupid Boy’ and 'Once in a Lifetime’ that won Keith a Grammy for 'Best Male Country Performance.’
In 2008 Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman were blessed with their first child, Sunday Rose following which he returned to the top of the music charts with a re-recorded version of the song 'You Look Good in My Shirt.’ The success of this single paved the way for Keith’s next solo record 'Defying Gravity.’
'Defying Gravity’ is a very special one for Keith as it comprises songs about his life with Kidman. Among these are 'Only you can love me this way’ and 'Sweet Thing’ both of which are chart-toppers. While the songs 'I’m in’ and 'Til Summer Comes Around’ both became very popular, the track 'Kiss a girl’ went on to become the highest charting single of his career so far.
The year 2010 was again a special one for Keith Urban as he and Kidman were blessed with another baby girl. On the professional front too Keith made a mark by returning to the charts with 'Put you in a Song,’ the lead single of his album 'Get Closer.’
TV Screen Persona
Urban was among the judges on the first season of the TV music show 'The Voice’ in Australia. Due to other commitments he had to return to Nashville and could not be a part of the show’s following seasons. But for as long as he appeared on 'The Voice’, it was the highest rated Australian TV show, with an average of more than two million views per episode.
With 'The Voice,’ fans were able to see a different side of Urban. He took on the role of a coach and a judge with great enthusiasm and was deeply missed when he quit the show.
Later Urban replaced Steven Tyler as a judge on the 12th season of America’s most popular show, 'American Idol.’ Keith took on the role of a judge alongside Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson and Nicki Minaj. He appeared as the judge in 2013 again, this time alongside Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. Urban has had a strong association with the show and he expressed great sadness over its finale in 2016.
Fans may not be able to catch Keith Urban on 'American Idol’ anymore, but they have more exciting things to look forward to and 'Ripcord,’ the country star’s upcoming album is one of them.
Ripcord is a diverse collection with elements of music Urban has been inspired from in recent times. It includes twelve songs with three singles. The surprise element of the record would be Urban’s duet with none other than Carrie Underwood. Pitbull also makes an appearance in 'Sun Don’t Let Me Down.’
The song 'Break on Me’ has already topped the Billboard’s All-Time Country Airplay chart. It is Urban’s 19th number one song on this chart while his 20th number one on the Aircheck/Mediabase Country chart.
Did you know…?
- Not many are aware of the fact that before his relationship with Nicole Kidman, Keith had dated supermodel, Niki Taylor.
- When he moved to the US, he wasn’t allowed to take up any non-music jobs. Hence he played as a road guitarist for Brooks and Dunn, the Dixie Chicks as well as Alan Jackson.
- Keith is the first New Zealander to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.
- While growing up, Keith’s nickname was Suburban. This was because he was the younger of the two brothers.
Regarded as the best guitarist in country music, Keith actually doesn’t know how to read music.