Back to news 09/06/12



If he didn’t have enough talent already, Keith Urban could also teach music to enthralled students looking for inspiration to follow their dreams. The entertainer took part in a special

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum educational program for selected Metro Nashville Public School high school students from four different schools – Pearl Cohn, John Overton, Nashville School of the Arts and Cane Ridge High Schools. In this special program, students heard Keith talk about the craft of songwriting, his influences and creative inspirations, big moments in his career and more. They also participated in a Q-&-A session with the singer-songwriter-musician, asking questions about what advice would he give, based on his own experiences, the obstacles he overcame, the best advice he received his favorite instrument and more.

Keith told the students that he had devoted all of his time to music as a child, adding his dad, Bob, played drums and his grandmother taught piano lessons. “The first concert my parents took me to was Johnny Cash. I think I was five,” Urban recalled, “My dad had brought us little cowboy shirts, little boots and everything, it was adorable and off we go to see Johnny Cash.”

Urban also told the students that his parents were always very supportive of his dream of pursuing music … even to the point of letting him quit school at a young age.

“I joined my first band when I was 12 and mom and dad used to drive me around to all the gigs,” he said. “When I was 15, I quit school. [I’m] not suggesting you do that, but that’s what I did.”

Even though he had always loved music, Urban did not seriously think about songwriting until his early 20′s. Urban explains that his approach to writing is all about rhythm.

“I think the important thing is to respond quickly to ideas before they go, because they don’t hang around sometimes very long,” Urban said.

Approximately 200 Middle Tennessee high school students attended the program. During the 75 minute lecture, students listened intently to Urban and then took part in a question-and-answer session. Urban then treated the students to a private performance as he played a banjo that he bought in 1995 in the early days of his career and showed them riffs on his guitar demonstrating how he first writes songs. 

According to Nashville’s Tennessean, the country singer joked with a student, calling her “Barbara Walters,” when the local high-schooler took advantage of a question-and-answer session at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Thursday to ask him about swirling rumors that he would join the Fox reality singing competition, American Idol. “I would love to do it, and hopefully that happens,” Urban said after the audience full of teenagers stopped laughing. “I did get to do a similar role in Australia for ‘The Voice,’ and I really enjoyed it. The thing about those shows is that mentoring aspect; it’s all about passing it on. Keith credits an Australian talent quest for giving him his initial leg-up in the music industry. The singer says he won the contest and the opportunity to record a song, which ultimately led to his first publishing deal and the chance to work in Nashville.

Keith is currently riding high on the country singles charts with his latest single, “For You,” which he wrote and recorded for the Act of Valor soundtrack (check out the audio below — he was asked by a budding filmmaker about writing for a film).

AUDIO: Keith Urban turns the tables and questions a young lady from the Nashville School for the Arts about her plans on being a singer during his session at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum on Thursday.

Keith Urban (questions student) OC: …you’re welcome. 1:43

AUDIO: Keith Urban explains to the students how he came up with the song “For You,” which he wrote and recorded for the Act of Valor film soundtrack. He includes the guitar riff that kicks off the song, which is nearing the Top 5 on the country charts.

Keith Urban (For You conception) OC: …that perspective. 1:23