Keith Lionel Urban is an Australian singer, songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. Born on October 26, 1967, in Whangarei, North Island, New Zealand as the youngest child of Marienne and Robert Urban, he was raised in Caboolture, Australia. Urban inherited a passion for American country music from his parents and learned to play the guitar when his father, who owned a convenience store, put an ad for a guitar teacher in his shop window.
Soon he began entering local competitions and eventually made regular appearances on various tv shows, such as Reg Lindsay Country Homestead TV Program and Mike McClellan’s Music Program. During this period, his signature music style – a mix of rock guitar and country sound, was formed and solidified.
In 1990, he signed with EMI Australia and released his self-titled debut album. At that time, he toured as a backup act to Slim Dusty, appearing with him for the first time at the Grand Ole Opry. In 1992, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and started working with numerous musicians, mostly writing songs for them. In 1997, he formed the band The Ranch, with Peter Clarke and Jerry Flowers. The band released one album for Capitol Records Nashville and charted two hits on Hot Country Songs.
After the band disbanded, Keith focused on his solo music, releasing his self-titled American debut album in 1999. Two hits immediately stood out, with ‘Your Everything’ becoming his first Top 5 hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks. Urban won the Top New Male Vocalist Award at the 2001 Academy of Country Music Awards and the 2001 Country Music Association’s Horizon Award.
The next year he released his second album Golden Road, producing more than half of the songs himself and the rest with Dann Huff. The album’s leading single ‘Somebody Like You’ has spent six weeks at no.1 and was certified triple platinum.
In 2005, he performed for the first time in front of European audiences when he supported Brian Adams on his UK and Ireland tour. The next year he released his ‘Once in a Lifetime’ single, which debuted at no.17, setting a new record for the highest-debuting country single in the history of the Hot Country Songs chart. This was also a single that won his second Grammy Award (the first being for the ‘You’ll Think of Me’ song).
Following the release of his Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing album, he went on tour with singer Carrie Underwood. Keith continued his string of hit albums, such as Defying Gravity, which debuted at no.1 on the Billboard 200, Get Closer, and Fuse, which also debuted at no.1 on the Billboard 200.
But Keith Urban is not just a successful artist but a big philanthropist, too. He has shown up in hospitals unannounced for meet and greets and performances and has granted many wishes for the Make-a-Wish foundation. Urban also supports St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, The Salvation Army, ACM Lifting Lives, The Red Cross, and Stand Up to Cancer, among many others. He was even awarded for his tireless charity work at BMI’s Philanthropic Champion Award. Since 2013, his URBAN Guitar Collection proceeds have been benefiting both the GRAMMY Foundation and Mr. Holland’s Opus Fund. Such an inspiring and wonderful agent of positive change!