Keith Urban Explains Love of Collaborations

Keith Urban loves to collaborate. The 50-year-old, who earned a chart-topping single with "The Fighter" with Carrie Underwood last year, garnered his 24th No. 1 hit with his recent "Coming Home" single, featuring Julia Michaels.

The latter is one of four duets with other artists on his latest Graffiti U album, which also has songs with Lindsay Ell, Shy Carter, and newcomer Kassi Ashton. For Urban, using other artists on his songs is a way to capture a sound he can't create by himself.

"They can sing higher choruses," Urban tells PopCulture.com at a media event. "Some of them have come about, literally, from that. But it's such a great balance of things, I find. It's hard to put that into words probably. I know with 'The Fighter,' that really started from literally just wanting to write a duet, which I've never written before, a specific duet."

"The Fighter" was written with busbee in London, while the Aussie was over there supporting his wife, actress Nicole Kidman, who was in a play. As the two began working, Urban came up with the lyrics by imagining what an actual conversation might be like between a husband and wife.

"That morning that I was driving over to see [busbee], I was listening to Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor singing, 'Let's Marvin Gaye and Get it On,' or whatever the song's called. And I was like, 'Man, I need a duo. I need to write a duet. That'd be really cool.'

"And then the very next thing I thought about was – this is weird reference – 'Paradise by the Dashboard Light,' by Meat Loaf. It's so obscure, but the reason I love that song was because they talked back and forth to each other in that song. Literally, it was a conversation. Answer, question, question, answer, back and forth. And I get chills. I was just so taken by that. That song has always stayed with me. I never heard another song quite like it other than, 'Baby, It's Cold Outside,' maybe."

"The Fighter," which says, "What if I fall (I won't let you fall) / What if I cry (I'll never make you cry) / And if I get scared (I'll hold you tighter) / When they're tryna get to you baby I'll be the fighter," was inspired by Urban and Kidman's relationship, making it one of Kidman's favorite songs Urban has ever recorded.

"She liked it," Urban says. "I mean, it was such an easy song to write because it was born of real conversations Nic and I had had before we got married, and some of those fears that she had about it, and me wanting to be able to make vows to her, promises to her, that I knew I could keep, but you just need that chance; just give me a chance, because it's all just hearsay in the moment.

"It's interesting because, I mean, in a lot of ways, this song feels like vows," he continues. "They really are. This is what I promise I'll be and do and I'll take care of you and I'll keep the world away, and it was very easy to write from that perspective."

Urban is currently on his Graffiti U World Tour. Find dates at KeithUrban.net.

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