Keith Urban is a Grammy Award-winning country singer, songwriter and guitarist. He was a judge on “American Idol” and is married to actress Nicole Kidman. He turned 55 this week.
How his star shines
In the 1990s, Keith Urban, relocated from Australia, decided to seek fame in Nashville. In 1999, he released a self-titled solo album, launching an impressive career that has featured top-selling albums such as Defying Gravity and Fuse, as well as numerous Grammy, Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music awards. Additionally, Urban was cast as a judge on the 12th season of the popular singing competition show American Idol and remained on the program until the end of its original run in 2016.
Keith Lionel Urban was born on October 26, 1967 in Whangarei, North Island, New Zealand, and grew up in Australia. The musician inherited his parents’ passion for American country music.
As a teenager, Keith Urban won several talent shows and joined a country band. His signature style – a blend of rock guitar and country sound – emerged during these formative years. In 1991, his first album debuted, which enjoyed success in his native country.
Good luck in Nashville
Urban’s first band in Nashville, The Ranch, made a huge splash and in 1997 the band released a solo album to commercial acclaim. Soon after, Urban decided to leave the band and pursue a solo career. His talent quickly attracted some of the biggest names in country music, including Garth Brooks and the Dixie Chicks.
Albums, songs and awards
Keith Urban, Golden Road
In 1999, Urban released a self-titled solo album that included the #1 country hit “But for the Grace of God.” His second album, 2002’s Golden Road, featured two more No. 1 singles: “Somebody Like You” and “Who Wouldn’t Want to Be Me.” In 2001, he was named Best New Male Vocalist at the Country Music Association Awards.
“Be Here”, “You’ll Think of Me
After touring with Brooks & Dunn and Kenny Chesney, in 2004 Urban headlined his own tour. He also released another album – “Be Here”, and the following year he was named CMA Artist of the Year, Vocalist of the Year and International Artist of the Year. In early 2006, Urban won his first Grammy Award (for Best Male Country Vocal Performance) for “You’ll Think of Me”. Also in 2006, he was honored as the CMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year and the Academy of Country Music’s Best Male Vocalist.
“Defying Gravity”, “Sweet Thing
Urban continued his hit streak with another album, Defying Gravity, which was released in March 2009 and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his first album to do so. The album’s lead single, “Sweet Thing”, immediately went to No. 1 on the Billboard charts. The second single from the album, “Kiss a Girl”, was performed during the finale of the eighth season of the singing competition American Idol in a duet with the winner of the show, Chris Allen.
American Idol Judge
In 2012, Urban was cast as a new judge on the 12th season of American Idol, which premiered in January 2013. In his debut season, Urban starred alongside Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Nicki Minaj. A popular judge, he remained on the show for four seasons, ending its original run in 2016.
Wife and personal life
In June 2006, Urban married actress Nicole Kidman in their native Australia.
Shortly before the release of his 2006 album Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing, the musician voluntarily checked himself into rehab. “I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused Nicole and those who love and support me,” Urban said in a statement. “One can never give up on caring for one’s recovery, and I’m afraid I have. With the strength and unwavering support I’m blessed to have from my wife, family and friends, I’m determined for a positive outcome.”
Urban and Kidman welcomed a baby girl on July 7, 2008 and named her Sunday Rose Kidman Urban.
“We feel very blessed and grateful to be able to share this joy with all of you today.”