Times (and beverages of choice) have changed quite a bit for Country superstar, Keith Urban, since the 2002 release of his second number one hit “Somebody Like You” off his album, Golden Road.
While Urban, who is now alcohol-free, admits he relies on coffee and water to fuel his writing sessions nowadays, that hasn’t always been the case.
“Back in 2001… I flew to L.A. to write with this guy, John Shanks, who I’d never met… So I’m very nervous about writing with someone I don’t know,” Keith told Audacy’s Rob + Holly. “So, I thought, ‘Before I got to this writing session, I’ll go swing by the Irish Pub.’ I swing by the Irish Pub at 9am and had a pint of Guinness, and that was really good, so I had a second one and that was even better, so I had a third one, just to be sure and then I went to my writing session.”
He continued, “I walked in feeling FANTASTIC about everything,” Keith laughed. “We got everything done except the verses and I took the work tape home to my hotel room and proceeded to just like, demolish this bottle of Crown Royal and then wrote the first and the second verse to the song. Woke up the next morning, very blurry-eyed and went, ‘that’s not a bad song.’”
He wasn’t wrong! Here we are nearly 20 years later and the song is still a staple in Urban’s career.
While Urban’s Irish pub days may be over, his stellar songwriting sure isn’t and that’s a win for everyone!
As Urban enters a more seasoned stage of his career, he has placed an immense focus on mentoring up-and-coming artists who remind him of himself in the earlier days of his career. Hard-working, eager and motivated are some of the qualities Urban finds most impressive and are all things he found shining bright in newcomer, Breland.
“I got hooked to him [Breland] maybe the end of 2018, 2019 — somewhere around there,” shared Urban. “A friend of mine had told me about him a little bit so I knew a bit of his music…. I immediately thought, ‘Oh, I’ve got to know this guy.’ There’s something about the way he approached music and creativity that really speaks to me.”
Keith went on to explain his very first text message to the new artist, who would go on to impress Urban even more with his drive and ambition.
“I texted him… ‘would love to have a chat,’ and next thing I know we’re on the phone talking… I said ‘It’s been great chatting with you, any time you’re in town I’d love to maybe get together and he goes, ‘I’ll be there Friday morning.’”
Sure enough, Breland showed up in Keith’s driveway, an hour earlier than expected on Friday morning.
“It was so refreshing for someone to be like, ‘Let’s go! Let’s do it!’ God bless him, man. He came up [from Atlanta], we got in the studio and we wrote and we wrote and we just clicked.”
LISTEN: Keith's full interview with Rob + Holly
While Keith surely enjoys mentoring and supporting the next generation of Country artists, he is sure to hold the generation that came before him near and dear, honoring those lost whenever possible.
“Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, all these people that are gone — it would’ve been amazing getting to write with them,” Keith shared before sharing the idea he had to include one of Merle Haggard’s guitar riffs in the song, “Coming Home” off his Graffiti U album.
“I suddenly thought, if I took a riff or a sample of a Merle Haggard song into a room, that would be the same thing as Merle showing up saying, ‘I’ve got this guitar lick, should we write something with that?’ It was a way to create with someone who isn’t alive anymore.”
Always finding creative ways to get creative, we look forward to seeing what Keith comes up with next!