Keith Urban credits his wife, Nicole Kidman, with almost everything that is going right in his world, including his music. The New Zealand-born star says he has become a better songwriter and artist since tying the knot with Kidman in 2006.
“Back before I met Nic and got married, I sucked at relationships and couldn’t give myself to the relationship. I’d write from a place in romance songs that I wanted to be at, but wasn’t at that place,” Urban told PEOPLE. “And I realized I was writing from all these places of the kind of person I wished I could be. I wasn’t that person, but I wanted to be. It was only a song, but my real life was a disaster. The only thing that’s changed in my life is I’ve more so become the person I was trying to be.”
It was Kidman who inspired Urban to get sober, with the singer entering rehab only a few months after their wedding. His sobriety allows him to live a much richer life than if he was still drinking.
“I’m just alcoholically wired," Urban confessed. "I wasn’t at my full potential and I was living a very small life. My life was getting smaller and smaller and that is how I kept it manageable. I was lucky I had a very loving wife. [Getting sober], has freed me up creatively.”
Urban's creativity is especially evident on his upcoming Graffiti U album, which Urban acknowledges has already been completed for a while.
“You never finish, you just give up," he says. "The hard part is realizing that I finished the album ages ago and that I’ve actually started the next one but nobody has told me. I have to delineate when the end of that one is, otherwise I will just go on and on!”
Urban will hit the road in June on his Graffiti U Tour, with Kelsea Ballerini serving as his opening act. The "I Hate Love Songs" singer, Urban says, will be perfect for the tour.
“There were a mix of people that were interested, available, but musical compatibility was one thing,” Urban explains. “I knew the kind of record I was making wasn’t pure country down the line, and Kelsea’s records [aren’t either]. They’re a fusion of things and I felt that she would be compatible.”
The 50-year-old also plans to highlight the influence of his father, who passed away in 2015, on his upcoming trek.
“My father was a drummer when I was growing up and I played the drums as well. I’ve been wanting to make mention of that and [incorporate] a moment in the show where I talk about my dad,” Urban reveals. “He passed away a couple years ago, but I’ve realized just how much of a huge influence he’s been on me — in my life and music, and I’ve never talked about that. So now feels like the right time.”1comments
A list of all of the upcoming shows on Urban's Graffiti U Tour can be found on his website. The first two singles from Graffiti U, "Female" and "Parallel Line," are both available for download on iTunes.
Photo Credit: Instagram/KeithUrban