Keith Urban sure knows how to celebrate the release of a new album. With his album Fuse only days away from its official release, the “Little Bit of Everything” singer took the stage at three Nashville honky tonks this past Friday (Sept. 6) for brief but rowdy sets highlighting songs from his brand-new release. He played to fans who’d been waiting for hours at the Stage, Legends Corner, and the famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge; during his set at latter he was even joined by Aerosmith‘s Steven Tyler, who sang a bluesy take on “Walk This Way” to an extremely packed house. Earlier that evening, Fuse guest artist Eric Church had also joined Urban during a 45-minute set at Nashville’s Cumberland Park.
Radio.com recently talked with Urban about Fuse (which hit stores today, Sept. 10). The album features 16 songs and includes collaborations with not only Church but also Miranda Lambert. “I’m really really looking forward for people getting to hear the whole album,” said Urban.
Radio.com: Why did you decide to make “Little Bit of Everything” the lead single off your new album?
Keith Urban: I just got the feel of it. Everybody that had heard the song loved it. Sometimes it’s just as simple as that. It just feels good. It sounded good and everybody felt like that was a good song to go with. For me, ’cause I’m working on the whole album, it’s almost like, “You guys pick whatever song you want. I’m so happy with this whole record, let’s just pick a song that makes sense and get it out, and let’s get touring.”
Your previous albums have had themes of love or personal pain. Did you go in with a specific theme for Fuse?
Not really. I don’t really ever go in with a theme for an album, one usually comes from all the songs I start gravitating towards. I always let the album drive everything. I go in and I take songs that I’ve written, songs that I’ve found. In this case with Fuse, we recorded well over 20 songs, which I’ve never done before. It was just a prolific time and I found a lot of great songs. Slowly but surely what I thought constituted this particular record started to come together. To me, it’s really 16 songs, so I’ve pieced together these 16 songs and there’s a 13-song version of the album as well. For me, the flow of the record really is about those 16.
Is there a song on the album you feel defines where you are as an artist right now?
They all do in their own way, that’s how a record comes together. There’s something about each track that is very much a part of who I am. Even if it’s a song I haven’t written like “Little Bit of Everything” I make a connection with the song and hope others do, too.
Is there a certain criteria for you to select a song someone else has written? Do you have to relate to it or feel a certain emotion?
Oh God, yes. Absolutely. People send me a lot of songs, and I hear a lot of songs, but it’s the ones that I have an immediate reaction to. Certainly a song like “Come Back To Me.” I just love the lyric, and I know those people in the song–both the guy and the girl.
Do you feel a song comes out better if you went through it firsthand yourself?
I think having an emotional reaction to something can be just as strong watching someone else go through something. There are so many ways to write and create art. But there is a power in having gone through something firsthand, certainly in the case of a song like “Stupid Boy.” That’s a song I could relate to, that guy. I didn’t write that song, but that’s a guy I knew very well.
“Come Back To Me” is almost like the guy from “Stupid Boy” who has finally figured out how to do things right. That’s why I love that song so much. I think anybody who hears it will know why that song affected me the way it did.