SXSW is winding down and the energy is still alive and well. We stared our morning with at a panel with Keith Urban. Keith Urban sat down with Scott Goldman, Vice President of the Grammy Museum, for a discussion about his career, his creative process and more.
Here are some the highlights from Urban’s Q&A…
- His dad took him to see Johnny Cash at 5 years old.
- “My dad bought my brother and us little Western shirts with bolo ties and off we went to see Johnny Cash. What I remember from that concert was how loud the crowd was. It was a 5,000-seat venue which, when you’re tiny, might as well be a stadium. I remember just the roar of everybody when this guy walked on stage, and that’s never left me — the power of that, when he played the guitar and sang, was just an extraordinary thing, the connection he made with everybody…It was that recognition of this is the thing I’m meant to do.”
- The strangest place he performed at was at a airport where he and his trio were set up by the lone baggage carousel.
- “I had a manager that did some shoddy deal with some airline for free tickets if we did a gig for the airline, which sounds like ‘What could possibly go wrong?’ We were like, ‘Who are we playing for?!’…It was absurd. There was nobody there. I said to the airport ‘manager,’ ‘So when do we play?’ He said, ‘Just start playing now.’ ‘It’s 1 p.m. There’s nobody here!’ ‘Ah, they’ll show up.’ We start playing and some people came over and some more peoplecame over and ‘This is getting pretty good’ and we got a decent crowd. Then halfway through one song, [makes a baggage arrival signal noise] and the bags start coming out. I just go on the thing and went for a ride, playing guitar.”
- Even Keith struggles with perfectionist tendencies.
- “When I create something I can only hear it for what it isn’t. I don’t hear it for what it is…In my head it’s fully formed, so once it’s out I’m listening to anything that doesn’t match what’s in my head, so I’m spotting all this stuff. But just because that’s different… doesn’t mean it isn’t working.”
- A childhood house fire awakened his philanthropic spirit.
- At the age of 10, Urban’s family home burned down. No one was hurt and he was at school at the time. “We lost everything. The whole place burnt, done,” he said. To the rescue came the local country music club, of which his parents were members. The group organized a fundraiser to help the family get back on their feet. “I saw this spirit at a young age and it certainly stuck with me,” Urban said, adding that one of his great joys in performing is the ability to “bring everybody together.”
- Social media brings out our self-awneress.
- “Self-awareness is very dangerous. Ultimately you’re critiquing while you’re creating, and that’s just death,” he said. “The fact is, it gets so cerebral. I don’t know where this stuff comes from – the heart, the cosmos. It’s mystical, it’s alchemy.”
Later that evening the country singer took to the stage at the iconic Stubbs BBQ. Performing “You Look Good in My Shirt,” he walked into the crowd and performed on a small platform int he back of the venue and gave his guitar away to a luck fan.