Keith Urban was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry family this Saturday (4/21) by Opry members Trace Adkins and Josh Turner.
After Urban performed his hits “Days Go By” and “Without You” on the Opry stage, Adkins presented him with his Opry Member Award and made his membership official.
“Thank you very much! Yee haw! That is awesome!” Urban began. After thanking the Opry’s members, his parents, wife and daughters, and fans among others, the country artist who was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia continued, “It’s a long way from Caboolture [Queensland, Australia] to the stage here at the Grand Ole Opry. To stand in this circle is the most phenomenal thing. I just want to thank the Opry for this honor, but also the responsibility. This is a responsibility that I take deep to the heart of me. This once and for all shows the global popularity and reach of country music. I honor the history of country music, but I absolutely fully dedicate myself to the future of country music, as well. God bless you all.”
After the induction Urban added his name plaque to the Member Gallery backstage at the Opry by using a pocketknife given to him by Opry member Marty Stuart. Later during an after show reception, Urban used the same knife to cut the Fender-shaped guitar cake. Urban quipped, “I just got this knife tonight and already I’ve used it to screw in a plaque and cut a cake.”
Prior to his induction during the Opry show, Urban held a press conference backstage. Reflecting on the career milestone Urban said, “I get asked a lot where my musical inspiration comes from. Of course, from my family and friends, and in particular, from one line in a Waylon Jennings song called, ‘Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way.’ The song has always been the perfect summation of what I love about playing country music because it’s about the diversity, evolution and keeping it growing. For me, getting this induction is a way to dedicate myself not only to the history, but also to the future of country music. There’s a line in the song asking, ‘Where do we take it from here?’ That is the defining question that inspires me to keep trying new things and bring new things in to expand and grow it. I am passionately interested in where we go from here.”
Urban added, “I first came to town in 1989 and shopped a demo around to four or five different labels. Looking back it was just a terrible demo, no wonder nobody made it through the first two verses. But out of all the people I met, I got some good support in a letter from RCA’s Mary Martin. She talked about country music being in a particularly traditional period. But she said ‘I hope you find a home here,’ and that was all I needed to hear.”
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