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Keith Urban Country Music superstar

He's changed the country music genre in more ways than one. Here's his story

By Paige Published about a year ago Updated about a year ago 14 min read

Keith Urban has done a lot for the country music genre in more ways than one. He's been a country singer for a long time. Even though he's famous now and has tons of awards.

It took him a lot of work and struggle in order to be able to reach the point where he is now.

Success doesn’t happen overnight even if it seems that way. Many people wish it worked that way but it doesn't.

Keith Urban had always planned to move to Nashville Tennessee and he hoped he'd get the same success he had started to gain in his home country of Australia.

Unfortunately, it took a lot longer than he thought. (over 10 years.) Keith was hoping for fast success as he had in his home country. But instead, it was the opposite. Keith had to mow lawns with the people who offered to help him. He was writing songs and mowing lawns to stay afloat. Keith also developed drug and alcohol addictions during this particular low period.

Keith often describes how he'd be scrounging around for bits of coke (Cocaine) at three in the morning. He wanted to avoid the withdrawal symptoms and stay energized.

Cocaine is a stimulant that gives people energy and alcohol is a depressant that has the opposite affects of cocaine. Mixing these two is a very dangerous combination. (Regardless if you're taking them together or separately.)

Keith struggled with drugs and alcohol three separate times. Before and after he got his big break.

But i'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning.

Keith Lionel Urban was born on October 26th 1967 in Whangārei New Zealand to Marianne and Robert Urban. (Originally Urbhan.) Keith was their second and last child.

Keith has an older brother named Shane. When Keith was two years old. The family moved to Queensland Australia.

Keith's parents ran a little convince store while the boys attended school. The urbans moved a lot which made it hard for the urban boys to make and keep friendships.

Keith was a shy kid so he wasn't sure about meeting new kids. This is especially hard as a young kid who moves around a lot. Keith and his family soon lived on a small farm in Queensland.

Keith got started on guitar after his dad noticed Keith could keep up with the songs on the radio with a small ukulele. Keith also got to see Johnny cash in concert at five years old.

That made Keith realize he wanted to be like Johnny when he grew up. It set him up on his life's goal of becoming a famous country singer. Keith's parents got guitar lesson for their son when a guitar teacher wanted to put up flyers in their store window.

Eventually Keith got so good at the guitar. The teacher told his parents she could no longer teach him. Keith still played guitar and he often says it helped him come of his shell.

Keith's parents were a a part of the local country music club. (Because Keith's dad loved American country music and American cars.) The urban family lost their home to an electrical fire when Keith was ten years old.

Thankfully no one was injured. But they lost everything. The family moved into a small shed on their property.

Keith has described how their local country music club helped them out until they got back on their feet. Keith learned about humanitarian efforts because of this.

While Keith and his brother Shane were well cared for. Their father Robert was an alcoholic. Keith has said in interviews that his father would hit him if he misbehaved.

When Keith would bring this up as an adult. His father would say. "I never hit you."

Despite this Keith always wanted to impress and make his dad proud. Keith was a part of country music contests as a kid and his dad always made sure his son was well dressed. Sometimes Keith only won best-dressed male.

Keith was a ok student when it came to school. He was shy and wasn't a huge fan of school. He stuck with it until he was fifthteen. Keith loved music more than any other class. But he struggled with music theory. Although he did have one music teacher that helped him. Mrs. Grimmer. She created an alternative music curriculum based on what music students knew best. Keith and his fellow classmates

When Keith was around fifthteen years old he asked his parents permission if he could drop out of school. (Kids in certain Australian states can legally leave school at fifthteen with parent permission.)

Keith was in a garage band and had to rely on his parents to be brought to gigs and his parents gladly helped their youngest son with his musical dreams. Keith was apart of a kids country music group called kids country.

Where the group performed at local venues and festivals.

Keith officially started his music career when he was around twenty and released his first album. Keith Urban. Released under Australia's EMI label. On September 23rd. 1991. This first album included the songs. "I never work on a Sunday. and Clutterbilly. The album got to 98 on the Australia music chart. Keith also worked with Slim Dusty as a backup singer.

Keith slowly started gaining traction in his home country and soon decided to move to Nashville. Which had been his dream since he had first seen his dad's country music records that said recorded in Nashville Tennessee. He decided to go there because he decided that's where you go to make records.

Keith moved to Nashville in 1992 and started working towards his dream. He was one of the background guitarists for one of Alan Jackson's music videos and in 1997.

He started a new band. The band was called the Ranch and they relased their first and only album. The Ranch. The band consisted of Keith, Peter Clarke and Jerry flowers. The band unfortunately didn't last very long and eventually Keith to work solo.

When Keith first moved to Nashville he lived in a bad part of town with a roomate that used cocaine and introduced it to Keith. He became addicted and went to rehab for the first time in 1998 with help from the Musicales program. Keith also struggled with alcohol addiction just like his dad.

He released his self-titled album in the US with Capitol Records Nashville on October 19th, 1999. He had some success with this album with songs like. But for the Grace of God and where the blacktop ends. He was nominated for Best Country Album at the 2000 ARIA Awards but lost. However, the album gave him his first number-one. But for the Grace of God.

Keith's second American album Golden Road was released on October 8th. 2008. Golden Road helped Keith reach number three on The Billboard country charts. This was also the first time Dann Huff produced one of Keith's albums.

Dann and Keith have work on multiple albums since then. The most popular songs on Golden Road are. Who wouldn't Wanna be me, Somebody like you, Raining on Sunday and You'll think of me. All these songs released as singles for the album got to number three on the Billboard Country music charts. This album went platinum three times in October 2005. Keith's next album. Be Here. Released on September 24th, 2004. This album included the hits. You look Good In My Shirt, You're my better half, making memories of us, and Better life. (This album cover was before Keith's arm tattoos started to appear.)

A couple of these songs gave Keith more number ones and lead him to become even more successful. Keith also posed nude for Playgirl. Which he now regrets but at the time he just wanted to get popular and decided to do it.

Keith also performed in Europe for the first time in 2005.

Keith urban met his future wife Nicole Kidman also Australian raised at a G'day LA Event. Keith ended up at the event last minute and met Nicole. They started dating six months later and kept it quiet. The couple were rumored to be together before they officially announced it.

The couple got married on June 25th, 2006. At the Cardinal Cerrito Memorial Chapel on the grounds of St Patrick's Estate, Manly, in Sydney Australia.

Keith's next album Love, Pain, and the Whole Crazy Thing. It was originally planned to come out before November 2006. However, it was pushed back due to Keith getting an intervention from family and friends regarding his alcoholism and overall struggle with his mental health.

Keith checked into the Betty Ford center in California on October nineteenth 2006. Only six months into his new marriage. On the twentieth, he released the following statement. "I deeply regret the hurt this has caused Nicole and the ones who love and support me. One can never let one's guard down on recovery, and I'm afraid that I have." Keith stayed in rehab until the eighteenth of January 2007.

He was then able to tour and promote the album. He had also won some awards while in rehab as the CMAs took place in November. When Keith checked into rehab. Nicole was away filming. She immediately flew to California to be with him and support him. He often thanks Nicole for saving his life and allowing him to feel supported and safe.

Keith has now been sober for over thirteen years and he credits Nicole for helping to keep him that way. Keith and Nicole support each other no matter what. Keith supports every one of Nicole's projects the way she supports his.

Keith and Nicole welcomed their first child a daughter. Sunday Rose Kidman Urban on July Seventh, 2008 and their second daughter Faith Margaret Kidman Urban via surrogate on December twenty eighth 2011.

Keith released his next album Defying Gravity on March thirty-first 2009. The singles from this album include Only you can love me this way, Sweet thing, Kiss a girl and Till' Summer comes around. Only you can love me this way became Keith's next number one single. The album made it to number one on the Billboard 200 All Genre charts.

He toured for this album after its release. Before the album came out. Keith sang one of the new songs on the American Idol season eight finale. Of which Keith was a judge until the original American idol show ended in 2016. Kiss a girl also became a number one single. Keith also was involved with Emily West's single Blue Sky. Keith had some of his friends support him on tour, such as Jason Aldean, Taylor swift, and Sugarland. Keith also was a judge for the eighth annual Independent Music Awards in 2009.

Keith's next Album Get Closer was released on November, sixteenth, 2011. Keith began recording this album in May 2010. Keith was struggling with his vocal health at the time. He eventually required vocal cord surgery due to developing polyps on his vocal cords.

Which is painful and dangerous for those who require their voice for their job such as singers, announcers, reporters, etc. Keith has explained that he hadn't always been the best at taking care of his voice and overall health, because of this his vocal cords suffered. Keith was terrified of having surgery.

As he hears horror stories of fellow celebrities such as Juile Andrews having a botched vocal cord surgery that affected Juile's ability to ever sing again. Keith had the fear his career would end because of the surgery.

Nicole talked him into it and asked Keith to ask John Mayer about his experience with the surgery. Keith eventually went through with it and it was a huge succes. Keith was treated by Dr. Steven Zenitel of Boston Massachusetts.

Keith's anxiety, depression and overall stress about his vocal health disappeared and he was much more confident in his vocal abilities. Thanks to the surgery, vocal rest and following Dr. Zenitel's intructions. Keith was feeling much better phyically and mentally.

Keith was eventually cleared to work again and kept working on his next album. Get Closer. The first single was Put you in a song. Which went to number two. Then he released Without you, Long Hot Summer, and You Gonna Fly.

They all made it to number one. On the country charts, Keith then released For You. Which was used as part of the soundtrack of the 2010 movie. Act of Valor. It went to number six on the country charts. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on April 21st, 2012. He celebrated his 10th Anniversary with the Opry in April 2022

Keith released the first single from his upcoming album Fuse. Little Bit of Everything on May thirteenth, 2013. The next single We We're us with Miranda lambert. This song went to number on the Country airplay charts. The album came out on September twenty-first, 2013. He also released a few other songs for the album. Somewhere in my car and Raise em' Up with Eric Church. (The tour was called the Raise 'em up tour.)

Keith's next album (And the Author's favorite.) Ripcord came out May sixth 2016. Keith released the first single John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16. from the album in June. Then he released Break on me another single on October 23rd 2015. While Keith was working on his newest album. his father Robert was suffering from pancreatic cancer. Which was hard for the whole urban family. Durning this time Keith also got his own exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame called Keith Urban: So far.

Keith's dad entered hospice December second 2015 and passed a few days later on the fifth. Keith went to Austalia without Nicole and the girls present. The girls were still young at the time and Nicole's schedule conflicted with the funeral.

Keith reunited with his mom and brother and they took care of family matters. Keith has discussed that he has grown closer to his father after his passing. He feels his father's presence when he's doing what he loves so much. His dad influenced what he wanted to do because of what his father enjoyed.

When Keith was five and his brother Shane was seven. They saw Johnny cash in concert. This was a eye-opening experience for young Keith and when he saw how his father was impressed by cash. Keith realized he wanted to do what Johnny cash did.

Not just for the fame but also to impress his dad and get his attention. Keith's dad also helped his son when he competed in Country music contests as a kid by creating him all sorts of county-western style outfits. (Sometimes All Keith won was best dressed.) The passing of Keith's dad was hard and Keith stayed with his mom and brother for a while and once things were settled and figured out.

Keith returned to the U.S to keep working on Ripcord. The passing of his father inspired the song. Gone Tomorrow, Here Today. One of the songs on Ripcord. Keith collaborated with Nile Rodgers, Pitbull and Carrie Underwood. The next single Keith released after Break on Me was Wasted time a song that was another number one hit alongside Blue An't Your Color and The fighter with Carrie Underwood. In 2016, Keith was chosen as one of the thirty artists invited to be a part of CMA's Forever Country Medley of Take me Home, Country roads, On The Road Again and I Will Always Love You. This was created in celebration of fifty years of the CMA (Country Music Awards.)

Keith toured with Brett Eldridge and Marren Morris which allowed the newer artists to be exposed to a larger fan base. (Keith has also done this for Kelsea Ballerni, Ingrid Andress, Taylor Swift and Tyler Hubbard.)

On November Eighth 2017. Keith released the single Female from his upcoming album GrafftiU. This song is a female anthem and thought to be because of the Harvey Weinestein sexual abuse scandel. Which was found out around this time.

Keith had this to say about the song. "As a husband and a father of two young girls...It affects me in a lot of ways. And as a son – my mother is alive," he added. "It just speaks to all of the females in my life, particularly. For a guy who grew up with no sisters in a house of boys, it's incredible how now I'm surrounded by girls. But not only in my house; I employ a huge amount of women in my team. The song just hit me for so many reasons..." Keith's wife Nicole provided background vocals alongside one of the writers of the song. Nicolle Gallyon.

The next single for the album. Parallel Line which was Co-written by Ed Sheeran. Came out on January nineteenth, 2019. Then he released Coming Home a duet with Jillian Micheals. The song contains a sample from Merle Haggard's Mama Tried.

Keith got the Haggard's family blessing to use that sample and Keith gave credit to Merle Haggard in the credits. Coming Home reached number one on the Mediabase Country chart.

Keith did a world tour for this album with Kelasea Ballerni as his opening act for part of his tour. Keith collaborated with lots of artists for this album including Shy Carter, Kassi Ashton, and Lindsey Ell. He did a wold tour for this album and it was very successful.

Keith urban has been a judge on both American Idol and the Australian version of The Voice. Keith was on season one, ten and eleven of the Australian voice and seasons twelve, thirteen, fifth-teen and sixteen of American Idol.

Keith has had two signature guitair lines. One with the Home shopping network and (HSN) Which were very succesful and each purchase of a guitair package benefited the Mr. Holland Opus Foundation and The Grammy foundation. His most recent guitair line is through Yamaha instruments.

Keith's next album was released September eighteenth, 2020. Keith had planned out a juge world tour for this album which included a stop in Europe. Unfortanly due to Covid.

Everything was put on hold and Keith struggled to get the album finished because he couldn't really finish the album outside of his home studio. So it took him a while to get it finished. Keith also had a Las Vegas residency going on before the Covid shutdown. So that had to be put on hold too. It was frustrating but he still made sure to work hard despite the circumstances. One of his good friends helped him realize that he could still get work done despite the pandemic.

Nicole suggested that Keith should put on a drive-in benefit for medical workers. Which was a huge success.

The first single from TSON. We Were came out on May sixteenth, 2019 to a lot of praise. The song was co-written by fellow country singer Eric Church. The next single from TSON came out on February twenty-seventh, 2020. God Whspered your name. Which was written by Christan artist Chris August. Keith dedicated this song to Nicole for all she's done for him. The next single Polaroid came out April twenty-fourth and then Superman came out in July. The full album came out September eighteenth.

In 2021 Keith was slowly able to return to touring and public peformances.

Keth has relased three singles in preperation for his next album> keith has said this album is inspired by his experience living in Nashville. Keith has lived in Nashville for over twenty-five years.

Keith was invited to sing the national anthem before a Nashville Predators game a few years ago and he rocked it. Keith and Nicole are huge Preds fans and so are their girls. They attended games often. Keith, Nicole, and their girls live in Nashville Tennessee with their three cats and one dog. They split their time between Nashville, Los Angeles, and their home country of Australia.

Keith also recently voiced Doug a cane toad as part of the Netflix animated movie. Back to The Outback. He also was a part of a documentary on Slim Dusty called Slim and, I. He was happy to honor his old friend.

It's been a hard long road for Keith Urban put he's proven time and time agin that no matter what happens. If you work hard and focus on your end goal. You might just make it.

Shane Urban Left and Keith Right
photo credit: Rolling stone Magazine

Keith at his home studio

Keith's first release in Australia

Keith on New Faces Australia 1983 15 years old.

Keith as a kid. (Note the guitar and baby cow.)
Keith's Parents Robert and Marianne
Nicole and Keith on their wedding day in 2006.

Keith and his mom

Keith and Nicole

Keith Performing in Tinley Park IL, September 2022

L-R Keith, Faith, Nicole and Sunday.

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About the Creator

Paige

Hi, I'm Paige and I love to read and write. I love music and dogs. I mostly will write about my favorite things. Enjoy

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