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Keith Urban is an Australian country artist, but don't let his genre fool you.
He started out in obscurity in the 1990s in Australia, but just released one album before disappearing from the solo scene. He formed a band called The Ranch in 1996. They released one album, and disbanded in less than a year.
He went back out solo again in 1998, this time achieving success. He got his first radio hit "But for the Grace Of God", which offered a more meaningful message than most other country singers were giving at the time. He scored a few more hits off the album before taking a short break. He returned in 2002 for his second album, Golden Road. This one got more critical acclaim and won him his biggest hit "Somebody Like You". It broke several records for country music, including most weeks at number 1 (at least on Radio & Records), got him a fairly major hit at pop, and introduced him as a serious country artist.
The best was still yet to come for him though. He did go through some tough times with drug and alcohol abuse, going into rehab on several different occassions. In 2005 he released his third album, Be Here. It scored him even more radio hits and really grabbed the attention of the critics this time. By the time he released 2006's Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing, he got the strongest critical response of his entire career yet. "Stupid Boy" scored him another Grammy.
He got married to actress Nicole Kidman and currently has a child with her. He released an album in 2009, Defying Gravity, which was critically panned for containing several mushy love songs, but its commercial success is undiminished. Then, his conquest for love songs was finally done right in 2010 with the release of Get Closer.
Don't mistake him for most country artists. He's got qualities about him that make him country, but he's definitely not like his contemporaries. Even if he does play a six-string banjo.
- Keith Urban (1991)
- Keith Urban in The Ranch (1997)
- Keith Urban (1999)
- Golden Road (2002)
- Be Here (2004)
- Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing (2006)
- Defying Gravity (2009)
- Get Closer (2010)
Tropes present in his work:
- Accent On the Wrong Syllable: "But for the Grace of God" has "Hea-ven only knows that I've been blessed..."
- The Cameo: He appeared on several other works before he became famous in his own right, including an appearance in Alan Jackson's music video for "Mercury Blues", a backing guitarist on several albums (including a few tracks on Garth Brooks' Double Live) and a couple co-writing credits here and there.
- The Cover Changes the Meaning: From a female perspective, "Stupid Boy" can be interpreted as a female offering advice, or as the victimized female. From the male's perspective, it can be read as beating himself up over letting his lover slip through his hands.
- Everything Is an Instrument: He plays a cardboard box on "Somebody Like You".
- Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: "I Told You So" features Uilleann pipes.
- The Four Chords of Pop: "Long Hot Summer" uses i-VI-III-VII on the verses.
- Heavy Meta: "Put You in a Song", a song about the love song he wants to write about his lover.
- Perhaps given a Continuity Nod in the next single, "Without You", which features the lyric "And up until you came along / No one ever heard my song / Now it's climbing with a bullet."
- Hidden Track: Golden Road features a hidden track called "One Chord Song".
- Like a God to Me: Inverted in "You're Not My God" about getting over drugs.
- Lyrical Tic: He tends to do a sort of "mmm" sound a lot. He also tends to utter "Yes, I did", "Yes, you did", or one of several other variants, after several lines. (Example: "You stole her every dream, and you crushed her plans/Yes, you did".)
- Recycled Lyrics: Several of his songs have lyrics about the sun shining.
- Record Producer: From Golden Road onward, he has co-produced with Dann Huff.
- Rerelease the Song: After finding that "You Look Good in My Shirt" was going over well despite not being a single, he re-recorded it for a Greatest Hits Album and released that version as a single.
- Scatting: Done at the end of both versions of "You Look Good in My Shirt".
- Self-Backing Vocalist: Almost all of his backing vocals are either him or Jerry Flowers, another former member of The Ranch.
- Sexy Shirt Switch: The basis of "You Look Good in My Shirt".
- Signature Song: Several over the years. "Somebody Like You" and "You'll Think of Me" are his most successful in terms of chart performance, and among the first songs that most associate with him.
- Singing Voice Dissonance: No, he doesn't sing with an Australian accent at all. In fact, he has a pretty spot-on American country twang most of the time.