Keith Urban’s ‘Graffiti U’ Spotify Fan First Event Highlights New Album’s Inclusive Nature
Keith Urban treated invited fans to a special show on Monday evening (April 23), in advance of the release of his upcoming album, Graffiti U, and in partnership with Spotify. Before the country star appeared onstage on Monday night, the fans in attendance got an exclusive first listen to the album, which will be out on Friday (April 27), from a custom jukebox as they explored an accompanying art exhibition. During his acoustic set and a fan Q&A, the singer joked around with the crowd and provided some behind-the-scenes glimpses into the making of the record.
"The 'U' was the audience, the listener," Urban explained, after one fan asked about how he came up with the album's title. "So it was Graffiti U, that inclusive experience for us."
In keeping with the album's inclusive spirit, the party had an interactive twist: The room was set up as a gallery, and as fans entered, they could walk around and look at a series of graffiti murals, each one representative of a different song on the record, with the lyrics of that song printed out alongside the artwork. The street art-inspired pieces featured in the gallery were made by Nashville-area artists Nathan Brown, Ty Christian, Brian Wooden, Eric "Mobe" Bass and Aaron Martin. Upon entry, each person also received a slip of paper with the name of one of the songs on the album; at the end of the show, fans could go to the mural that represented their designated song to pose for a picture with Urban.
While Urban is known for his imaginative live performances, he was quick to admit on Monday evening that not all of his innovative ideas pan out onstage: "There was one set I was performing on piano, and I'd had this idea: What if we performed it in the dark?" he recalled. "You know, to get the pure experience of just listening to the music."
"So I'd rehearsed it in my head, but I'd never rehearsed it onstage," Urban continued, describing how he blew out a series of candles one by one in front of the audience, until he and the crowd were in total darkness -- and then wasn't able to play the song because he couldn't see the keys.
"So, that one didn't work," he ended with a laugh.
During Monday's Spotify Fans First event, Urban performed several of the songs from his upcoming album, including his previously shared singles "Female" and "Coming Home." His wife, Nicole Kidman, was in attendance and playfully heckled Urban from the back of the room before appearing onstage for an impromptu duet during his performance of "Parallel Line."
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