Written by: LB Rogers
Over 150 lucky Keith Urban fans and Spotify listeners had the chance to preview Urban’s tenth studio album, Graffiti U on Monday, April 23 at a Spotify Fans First event at Houston Station in Nashville.
Attendees received a first-listen of the record on a custom jukebox and were able to screen print their own t-shirts. In the spirit of Graffiti U, a guitar emporium and art mural exhibition of street art was commissioned from Nashville muralists, which framed songs from the record. Tracks like “Steal My Thunder,” “Horses,” My Wave,” and “Coming Home” were selected by artists including Nathan Brown, Ty Christian, Brian Wooden, Eric “Mobe” Bass, and Aaron Martin.
As one of estimated two events Spotify is now throwing weekly across all genres, the streaming service noted how unique the invite-only events are for fans to intimately connect with artists. With streaming data, Spotify is able to locate the biggest fans in a particular region.
Urban’s made an appearance for a short, intimate performance and a Q & A, thanking Spotify and fans for coming out. With just an electric guitar, the Grammy winner played three of the 13 tracks on the record, including “Parallel Line,” which he enticed his wife, actress Nicole Kidman to come sing.
— MusicRow Magazine (@MusicRow) April 24, 2018
Additional performances included the previously-released “Female” and “Coming Home,” a title he previewed at the Academy of Country Music Awards earlier this month. With intimate lyrics on album tracks like “Gemini,” She’s a maniac in the bed/but a brainiac in her head, the Capitol Records Nashville superstar detailed how the meaning for a specific title, “Coming Home,” came after the opening lick.
“When I heard that Merle Haggard lick, it made me think of home,” said Urban. “A lot of the times for me the music draws the story versus the other way around. Where [“Coming Home”] gets personal is, a lot of us who now live in Nashville aren’t from here, but your dreams are here or you fall in love here…We love being here, but miss being able to touch base with home and the people who know the real you. That feeling has always stayed with me.”
Urban also described how the album’s title came about.
“This record felt like a free, artistic record,” he said. “In the studio [it] was literally like painting a canvas—I’d come in with nothing, start playing music. The whole thing was like a wall that I was painting on. The word ‘Graffiti’ came to me because that’s what it felt like. And the U was the audience/listener. The U is an inclusive experience, and my last name is U.”
Urban took requests to close out the performance, playing his hit single from Ripcord, “Wasted Time.” Fans took group photos in front of the artistic murals.
Earlier today (April 24), Urban released a trailer for the album (below). Graffiti U will be released this Friday, April 27.
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