NASHVILLE, Tenn.- (April, 21, 2012) Keith Urban was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry family this evening by Opry members Trace Adkins and Josh Turner.
On stage after Urban had performed his hits “Days Go By” and “Without You,” Adkins presented him with his Opry Member Award and made membership official. “Thank you very much! Yee haw! That is awesome!” Urban began. After thanking the Opry’s members, his parents (who “got me into country music and drove me around to all the gigs”), his wife and daughters, and his fans, among many others, the superstar 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 … and 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.”
To continue the celebration, fans can visit Keith Urban on Facebook and share their favorite moments from his career for a chance to win a Nashville experience including visits to some of the Music City places Urban loves most including the Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, Bluebird Café, a favorite restaurant, and more.
In 2001, the Country Music Association honored Keith Urban with its Horizon Award, designating him a talented artist with a bright future. He is the first Horizon Award winner in history to go on to win the CMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year, a title he’s captured three times, and the coveted Entertainer of the Year. More than 15 million albums later, Keith is a four-time Grammy Award winner, who has also won a People’s Choice and American Music Award. He’s won five Academy of Country Music Awards, had 14 #1s, including 28 Top 5 hits. His latest CD, Get Closer,comes on the heels of his fifth consecutive platinum or multi-platinum release. It has produced three consecutive #1s, “You Gonna Fly”, “Long Hot Summer” and “Without You”.
Before the induction, Keith spoke with reporters backstage:
Keith begins with some opening remarks: The first time I heard one of my solo songs on radio was at the gas station by Opryland.
Feelings and thinking as you anticipate what will happen? I wish I had more time to thank everybody. The first time I played the Opry was backing another artist named Slim Dusty. He used The Ranch as his band. I remember thinking how great it would be to sing on that Opry microphone.
Recollections of the invitation: I didn’t know what was happening. I figured Flatts was getting an award. I also thought they were going to do the induction then. Then they said it was gonna be on the 21st.
What do you say to the fans? That I share this with them tonight. This is a day for me to say how much they mean to me. They’re why I do what I do.
Is there something you want to accomplish at the Opry? I get asked where you get inspiration, and there’s a lot of places. But there really is something in a Walon Jennings song: Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way. It’s about evolution and diversity. This is my way of dedicating myself to the past and the future.
What did you think it would be like? There’s a community simplicity about it. I grew up playing country msuic festivals. The culture of country music is the same in Australia and here. There’s a certain way of being that way’s the music’s about.
What are you thinking about? What songs to do to make it different. It’s hard to put into words.
Who’s here? My wife will be here, by daughters are in be I hope. I invited a lot of people who were supportive from the start. I came over in 1989, we shopped a demo around.
Who is your favorite Opry star? For color and character it has to be Little Jimmy Dickens. But I gotta send a big shout out to Vince Gill. He’s a spiritual brother to me, so I’m gonna say Vince.