Keith Urban Recalls Writing His First Christmas Tune, 'I'll Be Your Santa Tonight' in Summer

When Keith Urban and Shane McAnally decided to write a Christmas tune, which became "I'll Be Your Santa Tonight," it was the middle of the summer, but that didn't sway either of them. Instead, Urban tried to make his Nashville home feel like Christmas to help them get into the holiday spirit, but it didn't work out quite like he planned.

“We started writing in my studio, which I decked out with colored Christmas lights, a tree, tinsel and of course I put the AC on arctic, so it was freezing!" Urban recalled in a statement. "Shane says to me, ‘Do you have a piano? and I say, 'Yeah, but its upstairs.’ So, we head upstairs to the living room –– nice and warm and toasty, with no Christmas decorations of any sort. Of course, we end up writing the whole thing there –– go figure.”

Urban wanted to write a Christmas song that would become a holiday classic, without relying on the typical feel-good lyric. Instead, the New Zealand native put his on twist on it, with a different narrative than what is expected.

“I’ve always wanted to record a Christmas song, but I really wanted to try and write something new,” Urban explained. “So, Shane came to my house and we wrote, really about a Christmas gone terribly wrong. No snow. Too much fog. Nobody can make it to the party. It’s going to be a colorless Christmas, until her man comes through.”

Urban hopes that "I'll Be Your Santa Tonight" is something that others can relate to, especially with the intricate story Urban shares in the tune.

“I wanted to write a song that could kind of just travel anywhere really, I guess, and be also about the sort of the romantic side of this particular Christmas Eve," he acknowledged, via his record label. "The idea that this girl is about to have the bleakest Christmas ’cause there’s no, there’s too much fog, there’s no snow, her mom’s not going to be able to make it, her sister can’t come, it’s all going to be a complete mess. And the guy steps up and says it’s gonna happen. ‘I’ll bring the magic.'”

The video shows Urban in a winter scene, starting in black and white and transitioning to color.


“I wanted to keep the video loose and a bit more performance-based than the actual storyline," Urban said. "Everybody has their own version of what a song should look like, so I didn’t want to touch on that too much.”

Photo Credit: Getty / Jason Kempin