ACM Awards: Backstage and Upfront with Keith Urban

An Entertainer Nomination Is Not Just His Award Anymore

Keith Urban had visited the ACM Awards’ backstage press conferences before as a winner. But Wednesday’s show (April 7) marked his first time taking questions as the organization’s newest entertainer of the year.

“I’ve been nominated nine times so, at some point, I’ve come to terms and accepted that a nomination is the award,” Urban said after receiving his first victory in the ACM’s top category. “I don’t know how things go that way sometimes. I love what I get to do. I put everything into it. And then all the others do, too.”

Urban attributed his win to his fans embracing the artistic risks he takes onstage and in the studio. “I think it’s the support that I get for going on the creative adventures that I go on,” Urban. “I feel pulled toward particular music when I’m creating, and I don’t know where it goes most of the time … I don’t expect people will support it necessarily and when it happens like that, and I get to make a record like Graffiti U, or particularly, Ripcord, and they get supported the way they have, it’s an incredible feeling for any artist.”

Here’s more from Urban’s backstage interview.

On “Burden,” the song he performed on the telecast: “It’s a song by Foy Vance who is an incredible singer-songwriter that I recently knew about, but I didn’t know a lot about but I fell on that song ‘Burden,’ and it just floored me. It was the most beautiful, simple, honest prayer of a song. I was compelled to try and get into the studio and try and capture it the way I felt about it and what it meant to me. It wasn’t intended to be a single or any of the traditional things. It was just something I felt very passionate about and wanted to capture and perform. I think that’s the great thing in 2019 is we can do that as artists. We can be moved by something, capture it and then immediately put it out without labeling what it is.”

On why he chose to not play the guitar on the show: “It was a little hard. Charlie Worsham was holding down the fort admirably. When I recorded the song with Dave Cobb in the studio, I played guitar on the record that we did. But there’s emotive singing in the song, too. It’s not really something you can do one-handedly. So, I made the decision to let someone else do the six-string lifting.”

On whether his win inspires him to raise the bar for himself: “I’m already thinking about the recording studio right now and eventually putting on another live show. For me, it’s always about trying to find a new way to connect. I love country music. I really do. The massive spectrum of colors that it is, and I hope that what we eventually get to hear and see is all of its colors represented because it’s a huge genre.”

With this win, Urban will receive the prestigious ACM Triple Crown Award, as he previously received awards for new male vocalist of the year and male vocalist of the year.

Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.