June 23, 2009 Keith Urban is one of country musics dominant artists at the moment, but hes also one of the genres most important songwriters. Hes recorded more than 20 bona fide hits and written nearly two-thirds of them.
That songwriting success didnt happen overnight. In fact, Keith had already been writing and recording music in Australia before he ever made his first venture to work with Nashville songwriters in 1990. That was, however, a turning point. In his first four days in town, he wrote with Gary Burr, Dave Loggins, Trey Bruce and Austin Cunningham, who between them have authored such songs as Alabamas "Forty Hour Week (For A Livin)," Diamond Rios "How Your Love Makes Me Feel" and LeAnn Rimes "Nothin Bout Love Makes Sense." It was a daunting experience.
"To get to write with so many great writers in such a short space of time was quite a crash course," Keith remembers. "I would drive down to Music Row for that days writing appointment, often crying in the car on the way to the writing appointment cause it was hard. It was just hard, and I didnt know if I could do it, and it seemed like there were so many mornings of that, thrust together with somebody at 10 a.m. who Ive never met, weve gotta become intimate and write a song before lunchtime. And all of that. And that went on for years."
Keith wanted to succeed badly enough that the difficulty never got him down for long. It took nine years from his first Nashville writing appointment until he cracked the American Top 20 with one of his songs. That was during the summer 10 years ago. Now hes having his songs sung back to him nightly on the Escape Together World Tour.
"I look back and realize that was an extraordinary, important part of songwriting for me," Keith says of the fallow years. Nashville "is so wonderful for that. I think the greatest writers are here."
Keiths current single, "Kiss A Girl," is still in the Top 5, but hes already got the next one lined up. Hell release "Only You Can Love Me This Way," from the Defying Gravity album, next Monday. On Saturday, hell film the video during his concert at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Opening that show is Taylor Swift.