Go Into The Studio And 'Start Flicking Paint Around': Keith Urban On Making 'Graffiti U'11:07
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Grammy Award-winning country music artist Keith Urban is out with his ninth studio album, "Graffiti U." (Courtesy)MoreCloseclosemore
Grammy Award-winning country music artist Keith Urban is out with his ninth studio album, "Graffiti U." (Courtesy)

Grammy Award-winning country music artist Keith Urban is out with his ninth studio album, called "Graffiti U."

Urban (@KeithUrban) tells Here & Now's Eric Westervelt (@Ericnpr) that most of the songs were written in the studio, which inspired the album's name.

"The studio to me is like a blank canvas," he says. "I go in and just start flicking paint around and start building really an album from there. No preconceived idea, just creating in the moment."

Interview Highlights

On what he thinks of as home

"Well, really for me, where my wife and our daughters are is home. But that song ['Coming Home'] the inspiration for that song actually features a sample from a Merle Haggard song called 'Mama Tried.'

"Hearing that lick, I wanted to use it in the song. But what I was surprised at was that it actually informed the whole story because when I heard it, it made me think of home, of growing up in Australia and my dad's record collection. And all of a sudden the chorus came out, and it became apparent what the song was about. And also, I mean, I've lived in Nashville 26 years now, but when I first moved here, it was the town I wanted to be in and I was excited, my dreams were here, but it wasn't home home. And unlike most people, I couldn't get in my car and go home for the weekend. So that feeling has always stayed with me and all of that came out."

"I have a deep, deep respect for country music and the history of country music, but the history of country music is also full of this conundrum, challenge situation, environment, whatever you want to call it."

Keith Urban

On how he became interested in country music growing up in Australia

"My influences were from my dad's record collection, which was, you know, back then was all Johnny Cash and Charley Pride and Merle Haggard and all of it. I mean that was my first influences, but then I played in cover bands. You know, I quit school at 15, and I was played four hours a night, five nights a week in a cover band and playing anything, top 40, playing just everything. And so my music, even looking back now, I realize why it's such a fusion of so many things, and it's very, very apparent on 'Graffiti U' how all those styles have come together."

On how his music fuses country with elements of rock, pop and hip-hop

"I have a deep, deep respect for country music and the history of country music, but the history of country music is also full of this conundrum, challenge situation, environment, whatever you want to call it. Really when Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley started making records in the mid '50s, they were really the first ones to start making these records have more of a crossover appeal. And you have an artist like Eddie Arnold who was a pop country, really the first pop country star making records. I mean, Jim Reeves put out 'Four Walls,' and that was a big country hit and a big pop hit simultaneously. You move into the '60s, you see Glen Campbell with songs like 'Wichita Lineman,' 'Galveston,' [which were] huge country and pop hits. You have Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, 'Islands in the Stream,' '9 to 5.' Country and pop have always intermingled, and 2018 is no different."

This segment aired on April 25, 2018.

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