Keith Urban and JT Harding welcomed guests to the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville Wednesday (March 18) to celebrate the chart success of their jointly written “Somewhere in My Car,” Urban’s recent No. 1 single.
Urban opened the festivities by performing a particularly soulful version of the song, accompanying himself on piano and backed by a three-piece string section.
Among those standing in the audience was Urban’s wife, actress Nicole Kidman.
The event was co-sponsored by ASCAP, the performance rights organization representing Harding and the song’s co-producer Dann Huff, and BMI, which represents Urban.
He was also, she added, “a rock star and indie film actor” who had entertained American troops in Afghanistan and served as the songwriter for last summer’s New York Musical Theatre Festival production of Somewhere With You.
“I want to see the world through JT Harding’s eyes,” Phelan proclaimed.
She then summoned Huff to the stage, noting he has produced more than 40 No. 1 songs, including Maddie & Tae’s recent hit, “Girl in a Country Song.”
BMI’s Jody Williams said Urban is “probably country’s most visible artist” because of his heavy touring schedule and service as a judge on American Idol.
But, Williams continued, Urban’s high profile is “due in very large part to his songwriting.”
“Somewhere in My Car” is Urban’s 17th No. 1, Williams reported, his first having been “But for the Grace of God,” which first entered the charts in 2000.
In addition, 21 of Urban’s recordings have achieved BMI’s “Million-Air” status, Williams said, meaning that each has been broadcast on radio more than a million times. Williams pointed to a wall near the stage that displayed the 21 certificates.
In total, Williams said, Urban’s records have accumulated more than 35 million airplays, a distinction that puts him in the company of Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, James Taylor and Chuck Berry.
Huff declared that working with Urban on “Somewhere in My Car” was “a great launching point for a different kind of record.”
Turning from the crowd to address Urban directly, Huff said, “You’ve affected the way I hear music and make records.”
Harding recalled that he and Urban had finished writing the chorus of “Somewhere in My Car” when they decided to take a lunch break.
He said they got into Urban’s “black sports car from the future” and that “he had the music up so loud I’m probably not going to be able to have babies.”
That experience, said Harding, made him feel like he was in a real-life version of Batman and Robin.
Urban thanked his dad for “infecting” him with a love of cars and American country music and Huff for “redirecting and recalibrating” the way he makes records.
Finally, he thanked “Nicole Mary” for being there to support him and for giving him a reason to “get out of bed” each morning. “Six years and counting,” he said with a grin, alluding to their marriage in June 2006.
Then it was time for the media to move in for photos.