Keith Urban Is ‘Most Inspired’ By New Music — But the Genre Doesn’t Matter
Keith Urban felt inspired by Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" the very first time he heard it. That's what moved him to share his own take on the song, the country star explains, although he insists his attraction to the track didn't especially come from its polarizing factor or its cultural significance.
"I just loved the song, when I heard it," Urban says simply, shrugging his shoulders. "I love the record, too, you know -- and those things are sometimes very separate things, a song to a record. I just loved it, and wanted to do my little cover version of it on my ganjo. From that very spontaneous moment, [Lil] Nas [X] saw the piece that I did, and really loved it, apparently."
Urban is a passionate, omnivorous music fan -- and his appreciation for the art form goes well beyond country. "I'm most inspired by new music of any kind. Because, well, first of all, it's new -- no one's heard it. And, a lot of the times, it's the form that it takes. With somebody like [Lil] Nas [X] and a lot of artists like him, they don't play a traditional instrument," he points out.
As someone who clocks in as one of country music's most accomplished and virtuosic guitar players, it might make sense that Urban would value other artists who play traditional instruments well. However, the singer says, there's more to artistry than that.
"A laptop is a legit instrument for making music. I've always been a big believer in that. A lot of musicians frown on that, but you know, it doesn't have to be a traditional instrument in the sense of learning chords and knowing notes," Urban explains. "You don't need to know notes. You don't need to know chords. You don't need to know anything. If you feel and can hear how to put something together, then that becomes your instrument, and you're playing this laptop like an instrument."
But just because music can come out of anywhere, Urban continues, doesn't mean it's easy to make. "[When they look at someone making music on a laptop], people go, 'Oh, anybody can do that,' and I'm like, 'No, they can't,'" he says. "It's a particular way this person plays their instrument, versus that person."
Urban, Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus' performance of "Old Town Road" from June's CMA Fest 2019 will air as part of this year's CMA Fest: The Music Event of Summer TV special. The three-hour broadcast is scheduled to air on ABC on Sunday (Aug. 4), at 8PM ET.
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