Keith Urban

Keith Lionel Urban AO (born 26 October 1967) is a New Zealand-Australian singer, songwriter and record producer well known for his work in country music. In 1991, he released a self-titled debut album and charted four singles in Australia before moving to the United States the following year. He found work as a session guitarist before starting a band known as The Ranch, which recorded one studio album on Capitol Nashville and charted two singles on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

Still signed to Capitol, Urban made his solo American debut in 1999 with a second eponymous album. Certified platinum in the US by the RIAA, it produced his first number one on the Hot Country Songs chart with “But for the Grace of God”. “Somebody Like You”, the first single from his second Capitol album Golden Road (2002), was named by Billboard as the biggest country hit of the 2000s decade. The album’s fourth single, “You’ll Think of Me”, featuring his nephew and Australian country artist Rory Gilliatte, earned him his first Grammy Award. 2004’s Be Here, his third American album, produced three more number one singles and became his highest selling album, having earned a 4× Platinum certification. Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing was released in 2006, containing “Once in a Lifetime” as well as his second Grammy Award song “Stupid Boy”. A greatest hits package titled Greatest Hits: 18 Kids followed in late 2007. Defying Gravity and Get Closer were released on 31 March 2009 and 16 November 2010, respectively. In September 2013, he released a brand new album titled Fuse, which produced four more number ones on the Country Airplay chart, two of which are duets—one with Miranda Lambert and the other with Eric Church. A new single, titled “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”, was released in June 2015 as the lead-off single to his eighth American studio album, Ripcord. The album later produced the Country Airplay chart number one hits “Break on Me”, “Wasted Time”, and “Blue Ain’t Your Color”, with the latter also becoming Urban’s longest reigning number one on the Hot Country Songs chart, spending 12 weeks at number one. His tenth album, Graffiti U, was released in 2018 and includes the Top 10 hit “Coming Home”.

Urban has released a total of nine studio albums (one of which was released only in Australia), as well as one album with The Ranch. He has charted 37 singles on the US Hot Country Songs chart, 18 of which went to number one, counting a duet with Brad Paisley and the 2008 single “You Look Good in My Shirt”, which he previously recorded on Golden Road. Those also include his third Grammy Award-winning single “Sweet Thing” from his album Defying Gravity.

Urban is also known for his roles as a coach on the Australian version of the singing competition The Voice and as a judge on American Idol. Since 2006, he has been married to actress Nicole Kidman. In October 2013, Urban introduced his own signature line of guitars and accessories.

While living in Nashville, Urban frequently used cocaine. After reaching a personal low point in 1998, he became determined to stop using the drug and checked into Cumberland Heights, a treatment centre in Nashville.

Urban met Australian actress Nicole Kidman at G’Day LA, a Hollywood event promoting Australia, in January 2005, and they began dating six months later. They married on 25 June 2006 at the Cardinal Cerretti Memorial Chapel in the grounds of St Patrick’s Estate, Manly, in Sydney.

On 19 October 2006, Urban checked into the Betty Ford Center in California. On 20 October, he issued a statement saying: “I deeply regret the hurt this has caused Nicole and the ones who love and support me. One can never let one’s guard down on recovery, and I’m afraid that I have.” On 18 January 2007, Urban announced his completion of rehab and his plans to go on tour to promote his album, Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing.

On 2 February 2007, Urban filed a lawsuit against a New Jersey painter by the same name, who has a website called KeithUrban.com. The singer wanted to acquire the rights to the URL. The painter counter-sued. The lawsuit was settled in the painter’s favour.

On 1 October 2007, Urban skidded off his motorbike when a paparazzo followed him near his home in Sydney. He was not hurt. In a statement released by his publicists, Urban said that the incident was “the result of one person’s desire to do his job and my desire to maintain my privacy”. Urban said that he tried to avoid an oncoming car and dropped his bike. He said the photographer came to his assistance without taking photos.

On 7 January 2008, Kidman said she and Urban were expecting their first child together. Kidman’s publicist said, “the couple are thrilled and cannot wait”. Kidman gave birth to a daughter in 2008 in Nashville, Tennessee. On his website, Urban said:

“Earlier this morning Nic gave birth to our beautiful baby girl, Sunday Rose Kidman Urban. We want to thank everybody that has kept us in their thoughts and prayers. We feel very, very blessed and grateful that we can share this joy with all of my loving fans today.”

In 2010, Urban and Kidman had a second daughter, Faith Margaret Kidman Urban, at Nashville’s Centennial Women’s Hospital.

Urban is a citizen of New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

Urban was born on 26 October 1967, in Whangarei, New Zealand. He is the youngest son of Marienne and Robert “Bob” Urbahn. He lived with his parents in Caboolture, Queensland, Australia. His father, who owned a convenience store, put an ad for a guitar teacher in his shop window. Urban took lessons from his teacher, Sue McCarthy, and began entering local competitions, in addition to acting in a local theatre company. Urban has stated that his guitar playing was influenced by two rock players, Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) and Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac).

In 1983, Urban was a contestant on the Australian TV talent show New Faces. A few years later, he began making inroads into the Australian country music scene, with regular appearances on the Reg Lindsay Country Homestead TV Program, Mike McClellan’s Music Program, and various other TV programmes performing duets with local Brisbane girl Jenny Wilson. They won a Golden Guitar award at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Urban also performed regularly on stage at the Northern Suburbs Country Music Club in Bald Hills, where he was a member. He was in a band called ‘Kids Country’, that performed during school holidays at various venues and made appearances on the Reg Lindsey show and Conway Country. He also teamed up with Angie Marquis, Tony Black, Peter Black and Tina Rouaen in a teen rock band that performed during the summer holidays at the local water slide and theme park.

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The Fox Broadcasting Company officially announced on 16 September 2012 that Urban would replace Steven Tyler as a judge in season 12 of American Idol alongside Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. On 1 August 2013, it was officially confirmed that Urban would return as a judge for season 13. He was joined by former judge Jennifer Lopez and newest judge Harry Connick Jr.. On 23 June 2014, Fox announced that Urban would return to the judging panel for season 14. Urban returned to judge the 15th season of American Idol in 2016.

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