Keith Urban Reveals How His New Album Was Affected by Quarantine

Keith Urban's upcoming album, The Speed of Now Part 1, is set for release in September, and according to Urban it will sound a bit different than he had originally thought. In a new interview with Variety, the Australian star shared that while his album was "mostly done" before he went into quarantine, the time alone inspired him to do some writing, which resulted in a "more cohesive" album than when he started.

"Basically I was just finishing mixes, but then suddenly found that I’ve got a bit of extra unexpected time to keep writing," he said. "And I actually ended up writing several new songs, which pushed out some existing songs I had. I think it made the record a little more cohesive." Urban shared that at the beginning of quarantine, he found himself feeling "artistically paralyzed," due to the fact that he was no longer playing shows and working on music with other writers and musicians.

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"I’m engaged with people everywhere, and all of a sudden that stops. And I’m like, 'What the hell?'" he recalled. "There’s no touring. There’s no going to other studios. There’s no collaborating with people. And I didn’t know what to do, honestly." The 52-year-old added that the idea of doing acoustic performances didn't much interest him, explaining, "After you do it once, you’re like, 'Okay. There’s 4 million people doing this on YouTube every day. What are we doing here?' And I just didn’t want to do anything for a good few weeks," he said. "And I slowly came down into my studio and recorded a couple of vocals with some some guitar overdubs, and slowly got back on the horse. And once I did, it was almost like a whole new drive to create came out of that. But it definitely didn’t start out that way."

Urban added that he was able to shift his mindset after he had a phone conversation with a friend, who told him that he was only focusing on the things he wasn't able to do. "I said, 'I just feel stuck, honestly. I feel a bit paralyzed,'" Urban recalled. "And he said, 'Well, that’s because you’re only focused on everything you can't do. You literally have listed everything on this call that you can’t do that. I haven’t heard one thing you can do.' And I said, 'Well, I can go down to my studio and do some vocals.” He goes, 'When are you going to do that?' 'Well, I can do that tomorrow.' And he goes, 'Great. What else can you do?' 'Well, I could write with some people over Zoom.' 'Okay. When are you going to do that?' And all of a sudden, my whole focus went towards only: What can I do? And I stopped talking about the things I can’t do. And that simple piece of advice just changed everything. It really did; it was was extraordinary."