He’s a country music superstar with more than 20 No. 1 songs under his belt, but Keith Urban says the material on his latest album, The Speed of Now Part 1, doesn’t fit into one particular genre.
“I love all kinds of music,” says the 52-year-old New Zealand-born singer, who’s been married to A-list actress Nicole Kidman since 2006 — they share daughters Sunday, 12, and Faith, 9 — and who got his start performing in cover bands at the ripe old age of 15.
“I grew up playing other people’s songs — Top 40 and rock and soul and R&B,” he adds, “so it’s all always been a part of my music. I’ve just been able to explore more.” The common thread, he says, is that every tune touches his heart in some way.
“All of these songs are a part of my story — either literally or metaphorically," he says. "There’s something in all of them that speaks to me.”
Here, Urban talks fatherhood, making it big and the secret to his happy marriage.
On the album, you talk about things like drinking too much and bad relationships. But you don’t have issues with either of those…
Keith Urban: I don’t just write about my life now. That would be a limiting kind of thing. I write about my entire life — there are infinite things to write about.
You left school at 15 to pursue music. Any regrets?
No. I would’ve left sooner if I could have. I wasn’t very good at school. I was playing my guitar all the time and I was very distracted.
Did you ever imagine you’d go on to have this amazing career?
I didn’t think that far ahead. I just wanted to be playing all the time. I knew that this was my calling.
How would you feel if Sunday or Faith asked to leave school at 15?
I don’t know. I’ll let you know if that happens!
How have they been doing with virtual school during lockdown?
They’ve been good. I’m glad there are people far more educated and equipped than I am to help them with it!
Are they fans of your music?
I think it’s hard when your dad is a musician because it’s your dad, and same with mom. But they’re fascinated by what we do. I’ve taken them out on the road, and they love the tour bus. The tour bus is a big hit.
You and Nicole have been together since 2005 and still seem to be madly in love. What’s your secret?
I do the same things I did at the beginning when we started dating. It’s tending to the garden. If you don’t do the work, the garden starts to grow over and then you complain that the garden is not very interesting, and you look for another garden. I maintain this garden.