Country music star Keith Urban was recently a featured speaker for a South by Southwest panel in Austin, Texas. The 50-year-old used this opportunity to open up about his path to stardom, which was not a walk in the park. In fact, the first few shows Keith played he estimates only a handful of people attended. Small audiences are typically not a great sign for a budding artist.
Urban’s love of bluegrass guitar picking also got him kicked out of his former band, Fractured Mirror. “We played Judas Priest and Saxon and Whitesnake and threw in some AC/DC in there,” the star recalled. “I didn’t know anything about that music. I was playing a solo and starting playing chicken-pickin’ through the (amplifier) stack, and the band was like, ‘What the?’ So they fired me.”
The New Zealand native’s challenges were far from over when he started making music industry contacts. A Sony Music representative pointed out the reason the label wouldn’t sign him. “‘You’re not doing anything wrong, you’re just different. It’ll be your biggest curse until it becomes your biggest blessing,'” Keith remembers being told. This comment encouraged him to persevere.
Besides revealing the obstacles that Urban faced, the session also shed light on how his love of country music originated. “My dad brought my brother and us little Western shirts with bolo ties and off we went to see Johnny Cash. What I remember from that concert was how loud the crowd was. It was 5,000-seat venue which, when you’re tiny, might as well be a stadium. I remember just the roar of everybody when this guy walked on stage,” he added, “and that’s never left me. The power of that, when he played the guitar and sang, was just an extraordinary thing, the connection he made with everybody. It was that recognition of this this is the thing I’m meant to do.”
“As a man who can’t bring a child into the world, I can bring a song into the world. I’m just trying to put some good in the world. That’s all I’m doing” the star confessed.
Be sure to share this insight with other Keith Urban fans!