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Keith Urban Interview

February 5, 2001

We recently did an interview with Capitol Nashville recording artist Keith Urban. Keith started out in Australia with his own three-piece band, and charted four No. 1 country singles. Hoping to further his career, he moved to Nashville and started yet another three-piece band, The Ranch, and released an album in 1997.

The group disbanded and Keith went solo, releasing his self-titled solo album in 1999. From that album, he's released three singles, "It's a Love Thing," "Your Everything" and "But for the Grace of God," which went on to become his first number one song.

Keith was nominated for American Music Awards - Favorite Country Artist earlier this year (2001), and is also nominated for a Grammy in the Best Country Instrumental Performance category for "Rollercoaster."

Related Resources
Keith Urban Profile
CD Review: Keith Urban
Concert Review - Keith Urban
Keith Urban Photos
Keith Urban Lyrics Quiz
Keith Urban Lyrics Quiz 2
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Photo © Shelly Fabian


CountryMusic Guide asks: Who are your musical heroes?

Keith answers: I'm inspired by a lot of artists for different reasons. Mark Knopler has inspired me as a guitarist - Jimmy Webb, Paul McCartney, John Fogerty & Don Henley as songwriters - Glen Campbell & James Taylor as vocalists - Freddie Mercury as an entertainer - John Mellencamp for...well, just being so damn good at everything & more recently the Dixie Chicks for proving that real country music can still sound so fresh & fashionable in the new millennium.

ChesneyBrook asks: Hey Keith! How does it feel to be nominated for a Grammy? Congratulations on that and best of luck to you!

Keith answers: I don't think it matters what genre you're a part of, a Grammy is one of the most sought after awards. To be nominated with my mates Steve and Ryan Wariner & Darryl Scott is quite simply humbling. I know it sounds cheesy but I just wish they could give us all one each.

SugarPie6 asks: How did you become interested in what you are doing now? You play your guitar beautifully. Who or what was your inspiration to learn the guitar. "Clutterbilly" still blows me away.

Keith answers: There was never a time I became interested in what I do - I truly believe it was pre determined before I even came along. Music runs through my family history & it's as natural to me as breathing. I used to strum on a ukulele at 3 years of age and I started guitar lessons at 6. I truly feel blessed and I still love playing as passionately now as when I was just starting. In some ways even more so.

Danney Ball asks: Is that your real name or a stage name? If not, what is your given name? Who suggested that name for your career? Are you happy with this name? Thank you.

Keith answers: So many people as if Keith Urban is my real name and it always catches me off guard because it is my real name but I thought about changing it when I came to the states because I didn't think it was all that good for what I do. I'm glad I kept it because my parents "Mr. & Mrs. Urban" would have been quite offended, as would have a very famous New Zealand horse race caller named Keith Haub - whom I was named after. Just for the record - my middle name is Lionel & that comes from an Uncle Lionel on my mother's side.

Candi Harbold asks: What was your favorite song you recorded?

Keith answers: There's a track on the "Ranch" album called "Man Of The House" that still gets to me - it's so organic & warm - I love the blend of Jerry Flower's voice & mine. On this album I really love the way "Luck Of Our Own" came out. I love the groove & once again there's Jerry and me doing the harmonies.

Julie Pierce asks: I love your CD, I play it over & over. My favorite song is "But For The Grace Of God." Also love the video for this song!!! My question is, "What have you found is the big difference between your native Australia & the US?" Thanks Keith & I hope to see you in concert one day!!!

Keith answers: Thanks Julie. I think there's a lot more similarities between Australia & the U.S. than most people think. I would say the biggest difference is that Australians are in general a little more on the liberal side. I don't see anywhere near the same overall conservatism - I think a lot of that has to do with being a smaller & younger nation. But, country folks in the rural & outback areas on OZ are the same as I've met in rural America. Down to earth, hard livin', hard workin' - damn good folks.

Kylie Mae-Hogan asks: Before you became a bigger name in America, I believe you frequently had some Aussies come and stay with you. Do you think your success in the USA could help them with their quest to find the Big time in the States? Namely Shanley Del? I know a lot go over to record, but that seems to be about it!

Keith answers: I believe now as I did then that if you come from Austin or Austria or Australia you gotta come pay your dues and work. I think if anything it's still harder being from another country through. I come from Australia, and I'm very proud of that, but I didn't come here as an Australian - I came as an artist wanting to further my career in the country that influenced me the most. I think there's some incredible talent in Australia that could do well here but I don't think I would have any bearing on that success - in the end it always comes down to work, luck, suitability & timing.

Amy Shannon asks (6 questions to follow): 1. Keith if you could tour with anyone who would it be and why?

Keith answers: Hi Amy - wow - a lot of good questions let's see if I can answer them all! I would love to tour with a lot of different people for different reasons - for example I'd love to go out with John Mellencamp because I think his audience has a strong country leaning & it's always great to try and find a new audience but the other reason is I'd get to watch him every night & learn more about leading a band because I think he's one of the best. I think a club tour of what I call "guitarists" would be a blast. You could have me with Brad Paisley, Steve & Ryan Wariner, Lee Roy Parnell, Vince Gill, Eric Heatherly, Tommy Emmanuel, & as a special treat Glen Campbell! But mostly I'd love to tour with Brooks & Dunn - oh wait a minute, we are!!!

Amy Shannon asks: 2. Keith are you friends with any of the other "new artists" that are out there? If so-who?

Keith answers: It's hard to really get to know other artists when you keep passing each other like ships in the night but I always look forward to jamming with Brad Paisley (we tend to do that at the drop of a hat!). I feel like a kindred brother with a lot of artists like Sons Of The Desert, Phil Vassar, Sonya Isaacs, Leslie Satcher & Rascal Flatts.

Amy Shannon asks: 3. What is your favorite song to sing?

Keith answers: I have a lot of favorites - "Love Thing," "Grace Of God," and I do a few acoustic songs in the middle of our show and I usually just sing whatever has been on my mind that day.

Amy Shannon asks:4. What song are you most proud to have written or recorded?

Keith answers: Songs are like children in that you have your differences like the brainy one & the delinquent one, but you love them all the same. I was particularly proud of two songs on the Ranch album as far as the writing goes - "Desiree," & "Tangled Up In Love." Both songs' lyrics were predominantly Vernon Rust's, but I think there was a beautiful marriage of lyric & melody on those two and I love the recording of "Grace Of God" just as much as the song - I really do love them all or they wouldn't have made it on to the album!

Amy Shannon asks:5. Will you have a fan club party this year? If so what do you have planned?

Keith answers: We are still planning our fan club party - but I guarantee it will be memorable!

Amy Shannon asks:6. If you could record a duet with anyone who would it be?

Keith answers: There are a lot of people I would love to duet with - high on my list is Glen Campbell. I've always wanted to sing with Patty Loveless (she really is the bomb!). I think Amanda Wilkinson would be a good match and I love singing with Sonya Isaacs & Leslie Satcher!! Let me also tell you one of the best singers in this town is Rebecca Lynn Howard - if you've seen her sing live, you won't believe it!

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