Country superstar Keith Urban has done it all. Multiple Entertainer of the Year awards, Number One songs, Platinum certifications and world tours — the list goes on. But at this point in his career, he’s adding “teacher and champion” to his resume.
Speaking with Audacy’s Rob + Holly for a recent radio interview, Urban revealed his new drive to mentor up and coming country talent — especially if that talent reminds Urban of himself. One of those rising stars is the newcomer, Breland, who teamed up with Urban on new country-rap “Throw It Back,” and their connection actually goes back quite a ways.
Confessing his admiration for Breland’s musical passion, Urban explained how he first hooked up with the Atlanta-based talent — who lately seems to be everywhere in country music. After breaking out with the trailblazing “My Truck” in 2019, Breland has become an in-demand collaborator for everyone from Dierks Bentley (“Beers On Me”) to Nelly (“High Horse”), with a reputation for experimental sounds and spitting out perfect, on-the-spot verses.
As it turns out, Urban was one of the stars who witnessed that talent first hand, when he and Breland co-wrote two songs for Urban’s 2020 album, The Speed of Now Part 1.
“I got hooked to him [Breland] maybe the end of 2018, 2019 — somewhere around there,” Urban told Rob + Holly. “A friend of mine had told me about him a little bit so I knew a bit of his music…. I immediately thought, ‘Oh, I’ve got to know this guy.’ There’s something about the way he approached music and creativity that really speaks to me.”
Known for his own musical adventurousness, Urban and Breland ended up co-writing “Out the Cage” and “Soul Food” for Urban’s album, and the star went on to say Breland impressed him not just with his talent, but also his drive. That’s just like Urban when he was a young artist, the superstar explained.
“I texted him… ‘would love to have a chat,’ and next thing I know we’re on the phone talking,” Urban said of that first connection. “I said ‘It’s been great chatting with you, any time you’re in town I’d love to maybe get together and he goes, ‘I’ll be there Friday morning.’
“It was so refreshing for someone to be like, ‘Let’s go! Let’s do it!’” Urban continued. “God bless him, man. He came up [from Atlanta], we got in the studio and we wrote and we wrote and we just clicked.”
Keith Urban repaid Breland the favor by appearing on the newcomer’s twang-thump anthem, “Throw It Back,” and who knows what else they have in store.