July 19, 2010

Keith Urban & Nicole Kidman Updates 7/19/10

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Country superstar lends hand to benefit school music programs

Country music artist Keith Urban is humming "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

He says it's a favorite song of Sunday Rose, his 2-year-old daughter with wife Nicole Kidman.

As the doting dad puts it, "She hits those intervals just right every time. I think that's a good sign that she's got a good ear."

Like father, like daughter.

From an early age, Urban quickly took to playing guitar and set his sights on one day making records in Nashville. Today the 42-year-old is one of the country music capital's superstars with nearly 15 million records sold, a string of hits and a mantel of trophies.

"Music has been and is such an incredible adventure for me," says the Australian transplant, who on Friday headlines the Starry Night benefit concert at the L.A. Tennis Center at UCLA with the Avett Brothers opening.

The concert is a joint fundraiser for the Southern California Tennis Association Foundation and the Grammy Foundation's Grammy in the Schools music education programs like Grammy Camp, for which the three-time Grammy winner is this year's honorary chair. And he's been sharing that "adventure" with the next generation of artists and music industry professionals during a the 10-day camp, which wraps up on Monday.

Other programs such as the Grammy Jazz Ensemble have already given rise to professional artists, including Carlos Henriquez, who plays bass with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Wynton Marsalis and Blue Note recording artist Aaron Parks.
"Any superstar like Keith has had a road they've traveled, and those roads are often very different ... but each one presents a possibility to a youngster who aspires to follow in the footsteps of a celebrity," says Neil Portnow, president and CEO of The Recording Academy and its 20-year-old Grammy Foundation. "Because unlike so many professions where there are road maps, to be a recording artist ... a singer ... a recording engineer, a lot of these careers don't have a course of study. A lot of it is to fly by the seat of your pants, luck and what doors you can kick open."

For Urban, coming from New Zealand and growing up in neighboring Australia made breaking into the homegrown world of Nashville all the more challenging.

But it's where he made his biggest splash as an artist on the success of the 2002 hit "Somebody Like You," which skyrocketed him to celebrity.

And while tabloids love to talk about his now four-year marriage to Kidman and his battle with alcoholism, he gives them plenty of music to contemplate as well.

"I know for me, a lot of times in writing songs, I've looked at it and have been amazed," he says, offering up the hit "Kiss a Girl" from last year's "Defying Gravity" as one example. "On the surface, it might seem kind of light but it's about the courage of wanting to really love somebody, which I felt I'd never really done before meeting my wife. So it was really more of a metaphor for `I would really like to commit to somebody, I'm ready' but of course it comes out as `I want to kiss a girl."'

And just wait.

Right now, Urban is in the studio cutting his next album of songs between gigs here and there, including an upcoming recording of the old Roger Miller song "England Swings" with the Wiggles.

"Having a 2-year-old, I'm not going to turn down the Wiggles," he says of the musical group beloved by children worldwide and his music-loving daughter.

Walking through the door after a full day at the studio, Sunday Rose recently took her daddy by the hand and led him to a basket full of percussion instruments.

Rummaging through the small Indian drums and tambourines, she him gave a small drum to play.

"She was asking me to hit it, and so I started hitting it and she started spinning around and dancing," Urban says with a chuckle. "I just love watching her light up to music like that."

Sandra Barrera 818-713-3728 sandra.barrera@dailynews.com


Talent shines through
Urban rocks Bluesfest country-style, while a charming Costner delights fans with soulful set

Kevin Costner.

Keith Urban.

For the massive and multi-generational female contingent in cowboy boots, jean skirts and straw hats, dreams don’t come much sweeter than that.

“You think you’re surprised,” Costner mused as he surveyed a large crowd. “I don’t know what I was expecting, but my heart feels really big to see y’all out here.”

The feeling was mutual and fans warmed up quickly, maybe not expecting Costner and his band, Modern West, to be as good as they were.

As an actor, there were few bigger than Costner at his prime.

As a director, he presided over some of the most spectaular disasters in Hollywood history.

This wasn’t one of them.

Costner turned on the charm early, blowing kisses and opening his arms wide to a welcoming crowd, dressed in blue jeans, checkered shirt and suede boots, sporting a grey soul patch.

He’s always had charisma to go with those chiselled, California-cool looks, but he proved his pleasant country charm works under the lights of any stage.

And while his weather-worn voice was far from perfect pitch, it carried a lot of mileage, and that counts for something.

He ramped up a soulful, throaty growl on the opener, a barn-burning Red River, followed by an equally hot Long, Hot Night, and showed a gruff tenderness on Nogales, a stark piece of of balladry bordering on brilliance.

By the halfway mark of his hour-long set, it was clear this was no fluke. His songwriting was more than capable, arrangements tight, his lyrics sincere, the delivery pure and impassioned.

And he can spin a good yarn, too, charming fans with well-spun between-song banter. The best was a story that served as the intro to 90 Miles, about his less-than-approving father who frowned upon his early career choices, first as a struggling actor and then as a hit-and-miss director.

“The ones that love you the most tend to worry, they can sometimes hold you back with their love,” he said. “But sometimes the things you want to do, you just go and do it, and by the time people catch up with you you’re already 90 miles down the road.”

That pretty much sums up the sharp left turn his career path has taken.

If the women at Bluesfest weren’t already in full swoon, they were at first sight of Keith Urban.

But this wasn’t your typical new country, and Urban breaks out of the Nashville mold of manicured cowboys.

There were no mullets, moustaches or Stetson hats on stage, and sporting short sleeves and shaggy long hair, Urban and his band took on the look, and at times the sound, of a classic rock combo.

Opening with Kiss a Girl, the chart-topping single from his latest Defying Gravity, Urban’s set list read like a hot country hit marathon, with the roar of recognition growing louder with each smash single, including Days Go By, Stupid Boy and You’ll Think of Me.

But Urban showed he’s more than a hitmaker, and more than another pretty face.

He let loose a few ripping guitar solos, striking a rock star pose with elevated knee, hunched over his Fender Telecaster flailing his locks in rhythm.

The set took a humorous detour when Urban acknowledged the perpetual pot-smoking contingent at Bluesfest, with a surprisingly faithful rendition of Bob Marley’s classic Is This Love, with bass and drums locked in a genuine reggae one-drop.

But he was at his best churning out the hits, which came fast and furious with Somebody Like You, Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me and I’m In, his honey dripping voice peaking on the pretty Till Summer Comes Around.



A good dose of Urban
Australian country superstar, Costner add a touch of country

Australia’s country superstar Keith Urban used his time on the main stage of Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest to prove he can rock as hard as anyone, although he also revealed his tender side with a string of love songs.

His sleek brown hair unfettered by a cowboy hat, Urban and his band jumped into the festivities, kicking off the night in fine style with the rocker Who Wouldn’t Want to Be Me, fire images flickering on the screen behind the stage.

When the country hunk paused to greet the audience, he confessed that he had inadvertently said “Hello Ottawa” to the crowd in Sarnia, Ont. It was proof, he said, of how excited he was to get back to the nation’s capital.

“What a perfect, beautiful night to be playing outside,” he added, indulging the partiers up front with some Bob Marley.

Judging by the fun-loving crowd, Urban’s fan base is predominantly female, with a wardrobe that consists of short shorts, cowboy boots and straw cowboy hats. They hooted, hollered and sang along to every word uttered by their favourite hottie.

Even when Urban attempted to bring the pace down with a string of acoustic love songs, they refused to let their spirits sag. Urban switched to acoustic guitar and sat on a stool for the romantic Making Memories of Us and Only You Can Love Me This Way, which he dedicated to his wife, Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman. Instead of wandering away, which is often the case when an artist plays a slow song at Bluesfest, they sang even louder.

Urban soaked up the love, revelled in the warm evening and admired the half moon hanging over the plaza. The upbeat Kiss a Girl served as a transition to the high point of the show, an extended version of You Look Good in My Shirt.

Still playing his light-up electric guitar and singing the hit song, Urban took a run down the trough from stage to sound tent, where he rocked out on a secondary platform that looked out over the back half of the huge crowd.

The home stretch included the lost-love song, You’ll Think of Me, the singalong Better Life and the set-closer, Somebody Like Me. Urban thanked everyone profusely, and expressed his delight at playing in Canada.

“I don’t know what’s in the water or the ground or the air, but it’s working so we appreciate that,” he said.

“It was unbelievable to play for you. Special thanks to anybody who had to go to the bathroom two hours ago and is still stuck.”

Earlier in the evening, Hollywood actor Kevin Costner kicked off a summer tour with his band, Modern West, on the Claridge stage, an enjoyable performance for all concerned, although he probably shouldn’t give up his day job.

In a blue check shirt and nicely faded jeans, the green-eyed Costner appeared perfectly comfortable on stage, armed with an acoustic guitar and backed by a top-notch, six-piece band.

Although doesn’t have a tuneful singing voice, he made up for it by directing a family-friendly, feel-good concert.

Most of the songs were mid-tempo country-rock numbers written by Costner and his band members. The most memorable were those that carried a positive message, and were introduced with Costner’s earnest affirmations on following your dreams and surviving tough times.

One highlight was a duet with a lovely singer named Sarah Beck, partly because it took some of the attention off the limits of Costner’s voice. The pair sang Let Me Be The One, the first single from Costner’s latest album, Turn It On.

The good-natured 55-year-old worked hard to engage the crowd, throwing in a few playful jokes along the way. “I’d like to thank the women for dragging their men here,” he said at one point, later excusing the men from having to sing along.

Toward the end, the rockier tunes came out, including Saturday Night, a singalong anthem appropriate for the night, a pair of rousing numbers, Cleo At the Wheel and Hey Man What About You, and the uplifting Superman.

In cutoff shorts, tank top and bare feet, surfer-blond singer-songwriter-guitarist Scott Stanton looked like he had just come from a campfire jam on the beach. If so, no doubt he was the star. Stanton’s quicksilver vocal style was drenched in funky rhythms that were underscored by the energy of his band, which included a terrific bassist and a trombone player who sported a Mohawk hairstyle. By the end of the set, the entire audience was on their feet dancing, a rare occurrence in the cozy soft-seater.



Keith in the studio!

Working hard in the studio this week, off to shows in Sarnia tonight, then Ottawa. Hope to see you there.



Keeping up with all the tweets on our favorite family!

heidi2477: At Charlie's weekly music class-Nicole Kidman came with Sundance. Charlie crawled right over to her and sat on her lap 11:17 AM Jul 15th via txt

[Gotta laugh at "Sundance"!]

eh_em_why: keith urban and nicole kidman at whole foods. nashville celeb citings never get less weird for me. 12:53 PM Jul 16th via txt

kiokkobebe: Thrilled 2 be a part of Nicole Kidman & Keith Urban's gift basket! Happy KIOKKO can celebrate Sunday Rose's 2nd bday w some of our goodies! 1:08 PM Jul 16th via Twitterrific

considerthelily: Holy cow! Just had lunch next to Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban at Whole Foods cafe!!! 1:39 PM Jul 16th via txt

tommy_bolger: Just saw Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman at whole foods 2:14 PM Jul 16th via Twitter for iPhone

emmielou: As cute as Keith Urban is he may be geographically (is that a word) challenged..he just said "it's great 2 b in Ottawa"..we're in Sarnia..oh well..lucky he's cute Friday 16th July 2010

travisbatista: I'm late for work because i'm waiting on a crepe. On the random note, I'm sitting 3 ft from Nicole Kidman and her daughter. 10:05 AM Jul 17th

kiokkobebe: Thrilled 2 be a part of Nicole Kidman & Keith Urban's gift basket! ;) about 18 hours ago via Twitterrific

tylerglaser: nicole kidman just told me to keep her twenty dollars change not at the bar... at the box office. 3:10 PM Jul 17th via web

jennitackett: So Nicole Kidman is at the same movie as I am. Yay Nashville. 6:59 PM Jul 17th via Twitter for iPhone

willmason: Hey Will what did you do today? Not much just saw Inception with Nicole Kidman. 7:01 PM Jul 17th via Twitter
for iPhone

pinklove190: saw nicole kidman at yoga! heck yeess
about 17 hours ago via web

CaitlinCaulkins: Saw nicole kidman and kieth urban at church this morning....she is incredible. about 20 hours ago via HTC Peep

McSuck: Just ran into Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman at brunch today and the most profound thing I could think of saying was "Uh...nice car." about 18 hours ago via web

HeidiRocksIt: So my mom was in church this morning with Nicole Kiddman, Keith Urban, and their little girl... I was in songwriting class. about 15 hours ago via Twitterrific

shy_cube: Just had my picture taken with Nicole Kidman!! Heheheh :) about 3 hours ago via mobile web

[The tweet is most likely referring to an Omega ad featuring Nicole. The writer is visiting Hong Kong]

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

nomore is so desperate for negative news of KUNK that she's taken to questioning how patriotic Keith is by his song titles! LMAO! Things must be pretty sad in haterville when you have to start making $hit up to fill your hate-filled thread on E, nomore! GET A LIFE ALREADY!

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