Top Six Lessons From a Keith Urban Q&A

You can learn a lot from a country star. Keith Urban, especially. Since this season of American Idol kicked off in January, he’s been doling out wise words to the contestants every week.

And last week, before the ACM Awards (where Urban won vocal event of the year for his duet with Miranda Lambert, “We Were Us” ), Urban talked with reporters about this particular season of American Idol.

There are lessons in his answers for all of us.

1. Anybody can be a frontrunner. “I think what I am liking about this season is America’s responding to the performances from night to night. It doesn’t seem like there is such an intense fan club for any particular artist where those will override the performance, and I like that. I think that’s what makes the show interesting for me from week to week right now is anybody can be the frontrunner.”

2. Must have passion. “If (my daughters) are willing to work for it, if they have an aptitude towards it and a real desire to work towards really anything, whatever they have a passion for, they just need to work at it. That’s the big thing that I find constantly with Idol, even, is that it’s not just about having the talent. It’s about having the passion for it.”

3. Grow up a little. “I think it’s one of those places where you can be very, very young, 15, 16, 17 and have a great voice, be a great singer, have a good look, be everything like that. But if you don’t have any experience in front of an audience, it can really throw you, and I think we have seen that a little bit this year.”

4. Live life. “In some cases, you’ve got people that just hit a wall. You can just see they’ve hit a wall where they now need to go and live life. And they need to keep either writing songs or they need to keep performing live. They need to do something, but now they just need all the experience.”

5. Talent plus work equals success. “You have to have an intrinsic talent to start with. You really just have to have a sort of a gift, and then hopefully the work ethic that goes with that is crucial.”

6. Art knows no rules. “I think it’s always different for each person, and everybody’s in different places on their artistic journey. And it’s a contradiction in terms, too, because we can be offering all this advice, but they also have individualism and originality about them which can defy every single thing we are saying. They could go against every single thing and create something extraordinary. So, you know, that’s the beauty of art. There’s no rules to it.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.