Although Keith Urban doesn’t look it, he turns 49 years old today.
A lot of things get better with age: wine, cheese, Dolly Parton. And it seems that’s the case with Urban. He’s put out six albums with 14 number-one hits and he continues to put out big songs.
To celebrate Mr. Urban, here are several things you should know about him if you’re one of his fans.
As the younger brother in his family, he earned the nickname, “Suburban.” Although he’s not sub-par in his career, that’s the name that has stuck.
He used to be a guitarist for Brooks & Dunn
When Urban arrived in the US, he wasn’t allowed by law to work any jobs outside of the music industry. So he landed a job as a touring guitarist with Brooks and Dunn, the Dixie Chicks, and Alan Jackson. He even made it into the music video for Jackson’s “Mercury Blues” (1993). It wasn’t until 1999 when he would breakout on his own.
Without pimento cheese sandwiches, Urban may be a failure
Monty Powell has written a lot of songs with Urban — including “Kiss a Girl” and “Sweet Thing” — and he talked with People about their songwriting sessions. At some point in the afternoon, Urban starts doubting his songwriting.
“It’s a low blood sugar thing,” Urban told People. “You forget to eat. The ideas start to sound terrible.”
“At 1 p.m., Keith hates everything,” Powell said. “…We’ll hop into his old pickup truck, drive into Leipers Fork for fried pimento-cheese sandwiches. There’s a hit song in every fried pimento-cheese sandwich!”
He writes songs in pen — not with a pencil, not on a computer
On writing with a pen instead of a pencil, Urban told People, “I like the permanency.”
And why not use a computer? “I can’t type fast enough,” he says.
He was a high school dropout
When he was just 15 years old, he left high school to go after a career in music. Even though he left his education, he promotes education for kids — especially music education.
Urban was a supporter of Music Makes Us, a program that raises funds to make music a more integral part of children’s education curriculum.
“I think there are a lot of kids who are talented in a musical way that haven’t even realized it yet,” he said. “I think there are a lot of kids who struggle to communicate and articulate and connect and have not found a way to do it yet. And I’ve seen it with kids who stumble upon an instrument or even another area of music like engineering or songwriting. They suddenly find this connection—it’s another voice.”
He’s considered one of the best guitarists in country music
Okay, you probably could’ve guessed this one. But it’s true — he’s one of the top country guitarists today. He can break out some face-melting solos and mind-blowing riffs.