NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (April 10, 2012) – Grammy, CMA and ACM Award-winner Keith Urban was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry this evening by Opry member Vince Gill along with fellow members Rascal Flatts, Diamond Rio and Oak Ridge Boys during Urban’s “All For The Hall” benefit at Bridgestone Arena. New Zealand-born and Australian-raised Urban will be the first artist from outside North America to become an Opry member. He will formally be inducted into the Opry on Sat., April 21st live on the premiere of “NOTEWORTHY at the Opry” on GAC at 8 p.m. Central. The 16-episode series will feature musical performances and personal stories from the top acts in country music plus interviews with other celebrities about the artists and music featured in each episode.
Near the end of tonight’s show, Gill called Rascal Flatts back out on stage to bring a gift for Urban. As Urban opened a large black duffel bag revealing the Opry’s signature microphone stand, Gill said, “We would like to invite Keith Urban to be the next member of the Grand Ole Opry!” Urban covered his face in surprise as he began, “I don’t know what to say – but first, YES! Thank you very much to everybody at the Grand Ole Opry who made this possible. I’m shocked. How beautiful for this to happen tonight of all nights.”
“I will always remember the first time I played the Opry,” Urban continued, “seeing this stand and standing in the circle was an extraordinarily surreal moment. So this right here is just a whole other stratosphere! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“We are extremely excited that another of today’s most popular country music superstars will be joining our Opry family,” said Opry Vice President and General Manager Pete Fisher. “Keith has become a master at forging a unique musical path and building an incredibly successful career. He generates amazing enthusiasm from fans every time he plays the Opry, and he continuously demonstrates the deep regard he has both for the Opry and the entire country music community.”
In 2001, the Country Music Association honored Keith Urban with its Horizon Award, designating him a talented artist with a bright future. He is the first Horizon Award winner in history to go on to win the CMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year, a title he’s captured three times, and the coveted Entertainer of the Year. More than 15 millions albums later, Keith is a four-time Grammy Award winner, who has also won a People’s Choice and American Music Award. He’s won five Academy of Country Music Awards, had 14 #1s, including 28 Top 5 hits. His latest CD, Get Closer, comes on the heels of his fifth consecutive platinum or multi-platinum release. It has produced three consecutive #1s, “You Gonna Fly”, “Long Hot Summer” and “Without You.”
In 2009, Urban was named radio’s most played country artist, thanks to #1 hits such as “Sweet Thing,” “You’ll Think Of Me,” “Only You Can Love Me This Way,” “Better Life” and “Days Go By.” In addition, his 2002 smash “Somebody Like You” was named the #1 Country Song of the Decade by Nielsen BDS (based on radio airplay and audience impressions).
But Urban’s reputation as an elite songwriter, musician, vocalist and virtuoso guitarist is no more evident than when he is onstage. His electrifying concerts have played to sold-out venues from Australia to Germany to England to Canada and The United States, all while receiving high praise from critics. In fact, 2009’s Escape Together World Tour, as well as 2007’s Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy World Tour, were both, according to Pollstar, one of the top grossing tours for their respective years. Last year, his Get Closer 2011 World Tour solidified Urban as one of the music industry’s best live performers. As one accredited journalist put it, “Urban is one of the best reasons in the world to attend a live concert.”