September 3, 2010

Keith Urban & Nicole Kidman Updates 09/03/10

KU interview with The Morning Call, a publication for the Allentown PA area. Keith is playing The Great Allentown Fair tonight with Kris Allen. You can also check out the fair's press release HERE.

Keith Urban Ready For Anything

Country star quickly follows blockbuster 'Defying Gravity' with new disc
September 01, 2010|By John J. Moser, OF THE MORNING CALL

No one would blame country-music superstar Keith Urban if he took a little time before releasing his next album.

It's been just 17 months since his blockbuster "Defying Gravity" was released — meaning a new disc would the shortest time between albums in a career that has seen all five of his U.S. releases hit platinum sales.

The disc also just gave him another high-charting single, "I'm In," which was at No. 2 on the country charts this week. It's the disc's fifth single, all of which hit the Top 3, and gives him an astounding 21 Top 5 country his in 10 years.

But in a recent telephone call from the Nashville airport, on his way to a show in Minneapolis (he headlines the Allentown Fair grandstand on Friday with "American Idol" winner Kris Allen), Urban says he's already more than halfway done on a new disc that will come out this year.

"It was time for new music," Urban says in an accent that, even after 18 years in the United States, reveals his New Zealand birth and Australian upbringing.

"I've been writing quite a bit since January, and I felt like we had a strong batch of songs to go; that I was just ready to get into the studio. A lot of the time it's just a combination of do we want to and are we ready to put some new music out. And I felt like we're really, really ready."

These days, Urban seems ready for anything.

He's passed the fourth anniversary of his marriage to Australian actress Nicole Kidman and the second birthday of their daughter, Sunday Rose. And he's approaching four years sobriety after difficulty with substances during the mid-2000s, when his back-to-back albums "Golden Road" and "Be Here" sold a staggering 7 million copies total.

And it's not lost on Urban that, with peace in his life, "Defying Gravity" has been such a hit. A decade after he broke in America with "Your Everything" and then the No. 1 hit "But for the Grace of God" off his self-titled 1999 album, "Defying Gravity" was his first to cross over to No. 1 on Billboard's overall Hot 200.

"It's immensely satisfying," he says. "I just feel intensely lucky and grateful and inspired to keep making new music."

But asked how he's been able to not only continue his success, but also increase it, Urban honestly seems at a loss.

"Part of it, I think, is just I've been doing it for a long time," he says. "And country is my foundation. It's what I started out playing in Australia, and was fortunate to have a lot of success with it there before I moved to Nashville. So I think it's just having a long time to sort of figure who I am musically and what it is that I do.

"And the rest, I think, is just sheer timing. It's just luck and timing and having the right thing to say at the right time. And hopefully knowing how to say it in such a way that it connects with enough people."

When it's suggested to Urban that the soft rock element he adds to country could have put him on the pop charts in the 1970s, he doesn't disagree. But he says that rather than just a reflection of where country is today, it also shows where pop was then. He says, for example, The Eagles' 1970s albums could be country hits today.

"They certainly would be just as at home on country today, just like Zac Brown is," he says. "I don't know why things work when they do and why other times they don't. It's just timing and where everybody's at."

Asked to describe the songs on his new disc he says he finds it challenging to do that.

"I don't know. I think it encompasses whatever it is that I do. It's not a huge musical or subject departure from records I've done prior to this one. I really couldn't define it. I think it's a sexier record, but it's still a tempo record. I don't really know how to define it just yet and I guess, given that we're not finished with it yet …" he says, laughing.

He says all the new songs already are recorded and in post-production.

Urban says he won't play any of the new songs at the Allentown Fair or other dates this summer. Instead, expect hits off "Defying Gravity," such "Sweet Thing," "Kiss a Girl," "Only You Can Love Me This Way" and "I'm In," as well as his biggest hits, such as "But for the Grace of God," "Somebody Like You" and "You'll Think of Me." Also, he and Allen have been dueting on covers from John Mellencamp, Don Henley and others.

Urban says he expects to mount a full, proper tour next year.

"It's nice to get a record out before the end of the year, let people have some time to live with the record before we start touring early next year," he says.

But more than affecting how he writes, his personal happiness has affected his entire outlook on life, Urban says.

"I think for me, it's probably represented more in my love for what I do," he says. "A deeper sense of purpose and less about self. I think anybody who's had children knows that it's certainly not about 'me' anymore," he says with a laugh.

"And I think as a musician, as a songwriter, that's a great thing, because I'm trying to sort of connect people — me to them and them to themselves. And I think making a connection to people is my primary thrust for what I do."


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