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Keith Urban Celebrates 21st No. 1 Hit with ‘Wasted Time’

Encouraging no-rules behavior, Urban and his co-writers, Greg Wells and James Abrahart, wanted to exude those happy-go-lucky memories through the easygoing melodies and mellow lyric.

Written by Kelly Brickey
Keith Urban Celebrates 21st No. 1 Hit with ‘Wasted Time’
ASCAP songwriter Greg Wells, BMI artist Keith Urban and SESAC writer JHart, Photo by John Russell

It was definitely a Nashville party for Keith Urban, but this time the occasion was special as he celebrated in full with his co-writers and colleagues alike at the No. 1 party for his hit single, “Wasted Time.”

Declared as his 2016 summer single, “Wasted Time” flew up the country charts for its nostalgic and carefree feel that resonated with listeners during the warmer months. Encouraging no-rules behavior and reminiscing on the freedom of being a young kid back in the day, Urban and his co-writers, Greg Wells and James Abrahart, wanted to exude those happy-go-lucky memories through the easygoing melodies and mellow lyric.

“Sometimes the melody drives the whole lyric, too, because the melody gives you a feeling. It’s nostalgic, but it’s buoyant. But it’s not looking back in a somber way. It’s looking back with a lot of love and joy and happiness, so the story ends up having that. For me, those kinds of songs go together so well because everything informed everything else. The rhythm informed the melody and the chords, the melody informed the actual lyric choices. You could say the same thing six different ways, why did you choose those words? Because they sing really well,” Urban said to Sounds Like Nashville and other media during a press conference in coordination of the celebration for the song.

While the three had never written together previously, Urban and Co. discussed the magic of similarities between each of the writer’s upbringings and how that shaped the song into a piece that almost any listener could pick up and relate to, no matter where they were or the activities they did as a kid.

“Once Jay suggested the title, what I was interested in was we had come from three parts, very different parts,” explained Urban. “Greg grew up in Canada, Jay [Abrahart] grew up in Atlanta and I grew up in Australia. And yet, we were talking about the high school years and sort of youth years in general and how similar they are no matter where you grow up in the world. It’s girls, it’s drinking, it’s cars, it’s just smoking stuff sometimes, swinging into water holes and there was so much shared experience about youth that we go, ‘Well, this has got to be something that will resonate with more than a few people.’”

With “Wasted Time” hitting it big over the summer, it allowed Urban to add a 21st No. 1 single spot on his list, alongside his co-writers who have found great success in their own specialties. Both Wells and Abrahart have created with pop legends such as Elton John and Adele for Wells and Justin Bieber and Trey Songz for Abrahart. As they noted many times though, Nashville finds itself in a unique place in which they throw these types of events to honor the songwriters for their work unlike in many other music capitals all over the world.

Urban may soon find himself at the top yet again with his current blues-infused single, “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” which is steadily climbing the country radio charts. He’ll finish out the American leg of his Ripcord Tour this weekend in New York before heading down under to play nine shows with Carrie Underwood during the Australian leg of the tour.