With 12 albums, the last one (The Speed of Now Part 1) having just recently dropped, and a whopping 48 awards to his name; Keith Urban has been a force in country music for coming up 30 years. His hair is iconic in itself, but the way he effortlessly binds genres and breaks musical boundaries has garnered him fans no matter their taste. You know his songs, you know how long he’s been married to Nicole Kidman; but really, how much do you know about the great country star?
Here are 10 things that might surprise you.
1. He was born in NZ
While he’s about as vital to Australia as the kangaroo, Urban was actually born in Whangarei back in 1967. However, he didn’t spend a lot of time here and grew up in a little town called Caboolture in Queensland, Australia. But we’ll still take what we can get. And, due to his moving around, Urban has citizenship in NZ, Australia and the United States. So basically, he can move back here any time …
2. Speaking of NZ, he gave our emergency workers free tickets to his Wellington gig back in 2016
Following the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake that affected the South Island and creeped up to parts of the North, including Wellington; Urban decided he wasn’t going to cancel his upcoming Wellington show and instead saw it as an opportunity to give back. Going ahead with his December 3rd gig, he offered free tickets to all Civil Defence workers and their families as a thank you for their hard work. “People like that, the first responders, they do amazing work, and no one knows who they are” he quoted. “They never get any thanks, and I thought it seemed right.”
3. He wanted to work in radio
Before Urban became the musical legend that he is now, he tried to crack it in the radio world. Interning at a radio station in Australia when he was younger, he was given the opportunity to try and put his own show together, but it didn’t end very well. As the story goes, Urban was playing music and accidentally flipped a button that caused that same music to be played during a very important and serious news reading in another room. He was fired on the spot, but lucky for him he ended up on the radio after all.
4. He owns over 100 guitars
It makes sense that one of the greatest guitarists in country music history would have a decent collection, but we never would’ve guessed that much. According to Urban, he’s not even sure how many he has but it’s definitely over the 100 mark. “I’m not really a collector,” he told Seth Meyers. “You need a certain guitar for something, and so you find one. I find real good sales on eBay.” The star also released his own line of guitars and guitar accessories back in 2013.
5. He threw a drive-in concert for healthcare workers in Nashville
With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the future of live shows hangs a little in the balance. But Urban just might be onto something by staging a drive-in concert. Wanting to thank the healthcare workers that are undoubtedly the world’s heroes right now (and, let’s be honest, always), Urban performed a secret show at the Stardust Drive-In theatre in Tennessee for over 200 local healthcare workers who sat safely in their cars. Watch the wrap video below!
6. He was in a band called The Ranch
During his early musical years, Urban took some time away from his solo stuff to form a country trio called The Ranch. They group only released one self-titled album in 1997 and Urban went back to his solo stuff straight away, but due to his success, the album was reissued in 2004 with two bonus tracks. We wonder if a reunion is on the cards?
7. He recently received an Australia Day honour
The Order of Australia aims to recognise Australian citizens for their achievements or general chivalrous acts of service; and earlier this year on Australia Day they gave a nod to a list of A-list Aussie entertainers, including Urban. The star was awarded as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his service to the performing arts and countless charities, and we couldn’t think of anyone more deserving. “I feel like one of the lucky ones, to have found my passion for music so early on and experience first-hand the importance of giving back,” he said on the subject. “I thank everyone that made this possible.”
8. Let’s talk about those awards
To date, Urban has won 4 Grammy awards, 9 Country Music Association (CMA) awards, 10 Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards and countless others. He’s secured Entertainer of the Year three times and holds the title currently, and in 2012 he was inducted with one of the highest honours into Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry; a weekly stage concert that honours country music and its musicians. What a resume!
9. His secret to his long and happy marriage? Lots of love and admiration for Nicole Kidman
Kidman and Urban have one of the longest running marriages in Hollywood. Not only are they absolutely adorable, but they’ve stood by each other through thick and thin and still manage to live in the honeymoon stage. The secret to it all? Urban just really, really loves Kidman. “I have a wife who is just from another planet. She is so celestial. I say that I was born into her,” he said in an interview with Rolling Stone back in 2014. “I was just sitting dormant, and she came along and I came to life.” Accompanying that, the two prefer face-to-face or phone calls over texts, treat each other like they’re still “boyfriend and girlfriend” and always seek advice from one another with their careers. Aw!
1o. He has a new album out!
Now, if you’re reading this, this probably doesn’t come as a surprise; but Urban’s 12th and latest album The Speed of Now Part 1 dropped 18th September. Featuring collabs with P!nk and BRELAND and being scarily on the nose with the current state of the world, Urban does what he does best and makes an honest piece of work with musical elements to reflect current times. Singles ‘Polaroid’, ‘We Were’ and ‘God Whispered Your Name’ all appear on the album along with a whopping 12 others. What’s your favourite track?
Listen to The Speed of Now Part 1 now.