Keith Urban is opening up about the recording of his latest single, "Coming Home," from his recent Graffiti U album. The song was inspired by Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried" song, and includes Haggard as a writer on the track.
"'Coming Home' started with an idea to take a sample from an iconic country song," explains Urban. "I had a few in mind, but Merle Haggard's 'Mama Tried' is the one that kept coming to my way of thinking of using it as an anchor to try another song from.
"I was really taken with the idea of have a song be used in a new way, that can potentially find a whole new audience," he continues. "They'll go out and find 'Mama Tried,' people that had never heard that song."
Even though Urban used "Mama Tried" as the launching pad for his own song, it was important to him to have the blessing of the Haggard family, including Haggard's wife, Theresa.
"I called up Theresa Haggard when we created a lot of this song, so that she knew what we were working on, and that I had the utmost respect for Merle," recalls Urban. "I wanted her blessing on this track."
Julia Michaels, who sings with Urban on "Coming Home," also wrote the song with the Aussie, coming up with what Urban says is one of the most important lines in the song.
"I was out in LA, working with Julia Michaels," says Urban. "We were talking about why you need to come home, physically, sometimes. And she said, 'Well I know it's only one call away, but it's not the same.' I was so taken by how simple that line is, how just incredibly simple it is, and yet that summed up the entire song's spirit right there."
Although Graffiti U has 15 songs on the album, it's "Coming Home" that Urban feels is the keystone to the entire project.
"For me, 'Coming Home' as a song and a single really sets the tone of the album," Urban explains. "The elements that I wanted to somehow all weave together, as a song and also as a record too, turning it into a record, for me came together on 'Coming Home.' So sonically it represents what the record is about, diversity on the record, sonically, and then thematically it's very much my journey. It really feels like my life in a lot of ways."
Stream or purchase Graffiti U at keithurban.net.
Photo credit: Instagram/keithurban