Born in New Zealand and raised in nearby Australia, Keith Urban made his biggest splash in Nashville, where he helped rewrite the rules of contemporary country music. By embracing drum loops and elements of Top 40 pop, Urban wrote songs that appealed to a wide audience, effectively satisfying his Nashville fans without alienating those more accustomed to pop music. He also became a genuine celebrity, known for his good looks, his marriage to Nicole Kidman, and his outspoken battle with alcoholism. Even so, it was the music that maintained Urban's career, from his work with the Ranch during the late '90s to the acclaimed solo albums that followed.
Australian country music was primed for a revolution at the start of the '90s, and Keith Urban -- young, brash, and blonde, with a guitar style that owed heavily to rock & roll -- was part of that transformation. After signing with the Australian branch of EMI Records, he issued his first album and scored several number one hits in his home country. Even so, Urban's sights remained set on Nashville, Tennessee, which he considered to be the birthplace of the music he loved. Having already taken trips to Nashville to forge career bridges, he soon decided to base himself in the city.
Urban was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry by Vince Gill in April 2012; he accepted and was inducted later that month. In September, he joined American Idol as a judge. Urban continued to work on his album through all of this activity. Inspired to create something new, he worked with producer Nathan Chapman to add subtle funk and hip-hop elements to his country-pop sound.