The Country Star from Down Under: Keith Urban
One of Ellen's friends, Keith Urban, has shown that it doesn't matter what country you come from; you can still be a country music superstar. Keith was born in New Zealand and grew up in Australia. He started playing guitar at the age of 6 when his father made a deal with an instructor in exchange for free advertising in his store. Keith took to the instrument immediately, and he was winning talent contests at just 8 years old.
Keith's father loved American culture, and frequently listened to country music. This clearly had an effect on Keith, and as he developed his talents he looked-up to country music giants like Dolly Parton and Glen Campbell. In the early '90s, Keith landed a deal with the Australian branch of EMI records. While successful down under, Keith decided he wasn't satisfied and moved to Nashville. He formed the band "The Ranch" and signed a record deal. Their self-titled debut album received critical acclaim, especially for Keith's performance, but soon after, the band broke up.
After the breakup, Keith worked as a solo performer and was asked to perform with Garth Brooks and the Dixie Chicks. He soon became friends with a producer, and together they released his first album, "Keith Urban," which went platinum. In the following years, his star power grew and he released more albums, each one going multiple-platinum, selling more than 10 million worldwide, and earning him three Grammy Awards.
Keith is now nominated for yet another Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for "Til Summer Comes Around." He also just released a brand new album, "Get Closer," which he says is a love letter to his wife, Nicole Kidman. He performed the song "Put You in a Song" for Ellen -- check it out here!