From the land Down Under, Keith Urban kept his eye on Nashville, his hands on his guitar and his heart on his dream. And on Tuesday night April 10, 2012 Keith’s dreams came full circle as Opry member Vince Gill along with fellow members Rascal Flatts, Diamond Rio and Oak Ridge Boys invited Urban to become the newest member of the esteemed Grand Ole Opry during the annual “All For The Hall” benefit at Bridgestone Arena. All for the Hall, organized by Keith and Vince, is an annual, star-studded concert that raises money for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Toward the end of evening’s benefit, Vince summoned Opry members Rascal Flatts back out to the stage to present a gift to Urban. Keith opened a large black duffel bag unveiling its contents – the Opry’s signature microphone stand – as Vince Gill announced, “We would like to invite Keith Urban to be the next member of the Grand Ole Opry!”
“I don’t know what to say – but first, YES! Thank you very much to everybody at the Grand Ole Opry who made this possible. I’m shocked. How beautiful for this to happen tonight of all nights.”
Keith will be the first artist from outside of North America to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. New Zealand-born and Australian-raised, Keith Urban made his way to many country music festivals with his family where he would play. At age 9, Keith took the stage for the very first time. “I think I sang ‘Let Your Love Flow’ by the Bellamy Brothers,” he said. “And I just loved it.”
The pursuit of a dream . . .
Keith made his U.S. country music appearance as part of the trio The Ranch and an album packed with stellar tracks such as Desiree. Unfortunately, the group disbanded shortly after their 1997 debut album and Keith struck out on his own.
“I’ve been here 20 years this year,” Urban told the audience. “1989 was the first year I came over from Australia to take my demo to the record labels. I got a lot of strange looks. … This night here is in a whole other stratosphere.”
Since that time Keith’s been well decorated and well recognized as a country music icon yet humbly treasures the first time he played the Opry stage as a solo artist.
“I will always remember the first time I played the Opry,” the surprised Opry invitee shared, “seeing this stand and standing in the circle was an extraordinarily surreal moment. So this right here is just a whole other stratosphere! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Keith will officially be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday, April 21 during a LIVE broadcast on GAC of the premiere of Noteworthy at the Opry at 9/8 CT. The new series is set to feature performances and personal, inside stories from the top acts in country music along with interviews with artists and other celebrities about the artists and music featured in each episode.
“We are extremely excited that another of today’s most popular country music superstars will be joining our Opry family,” said Opry Vice President and General Manager Pete Fisher. “Keith has become a master at forging a unique musical path and building an incredibly successful career. He generates amazing enthusiasm from fans every time he plays the Opry, and he continuously demonstrates the deep regard he has both for the Opry and the entire country music community.”
Nowhere is Urban’s reputation as a songwriter, musician, vocalist and stellar guitarist more evident than when he’s performing. His electrifying concerts have sold-out worldwide in Australia, Germany, England, Canada and the U.S. accumulating accolades from accredited journalists such as:
“Urban is one of the best reasons in the world to attend a live concert.”
Indeed, the stage is his calling card, the audience his confirmation.
Watch Urban’s Surprise Invitation to the Opry :