Keith Urban on Driving Force Behind His Success: 'I Didn't Have Any Choice'

Keith Urban has never been afraid of hard work. The 51-year-old moved from his native Australia 27 years ago, with not much to his name, and has worked hard ever since then. But far from being dedication, Urban says it was purely survival, at least at first.

"I didn't have any choice. I didn't really have a backup plan," he recently shared with and other media. "It always, right as it felt like, 'Man, I'm just hitting my head against a brick wall. Nothing is happening,' there'd be a little break of some sort, even if it was tiny. There'd be like, 'Okay, there's a little momentum forward.' That always kept me going, but I always felt like what I'm trying to do is just around the corner, and they just kept moving that corner.

"It was like an [artist] M.C. Escher," he added. "It just kept moving. But it was always just there, just sort of like, dangled a carrot. Then I just kept going and eventually they stopped moving the corner."

Urban is known for being inspired by all different sounds, including electronic ones, and is proud to find inspiration from so many different places.

"A laptop is a legit instrument for making music," Urban defended. "So, I've always been a big believer in that. A lot of musicians frown on that, but it doesn't have to be a traditional instrument in the sense of learning chords and knowing notes. You don't need to know notes, you don't need to know chords. You don't need to know anything.

"But if you feel and can hear how to put something together, then that becomes your instrument. You're playing this laptop like an instrument, and when people go, 'Oh, well then anybody can do it,'" he continued. "I'm like, 'Well no, they can't.' It's a particular way this person plays that instrument, versus that person."

One night before Urban's own set at Nissan Stadium, as part of CMA Fest, the "We Were" singer took the stage with Billy Ray Cyrus and Lil Nas X to perform "Old Town Road." While it made for a grueling couple days, Urban will happily take part in CMA Fest as much as he can.


"Some have been looking forward to it for months and months, or the better part of a year sometimes, for CMA Fest," Urban acknowledged. "So I always think about that, coming on stage. This might be a 35 minute set for us, but it's something that some people have looked forward to for so long."

Photo Credit: Getty images / Rob Ball