Keith Urban has 24 No. 1 songs and his muse — wife Nicole Kidman — to thank for one of his most recent.
Urban, co-writer busbee and Urban’s duo partner Carrie Underwood met at the Back Corner on Monday to celebrate “The Fighter,” the singers’ chart-topping CMA-nominated duet.
Hosted by BMI, the event included a performance of the song from Urban, Underwood and busbee along with an evening heartfelt of thank-yous.
Urban had some free time while he was in London and invited busbee to fly over and write songs. The men agree the writing process for “The Fighter” was effortless, with busbee calling it an “otherly thing.” The songwriter and producer remembers that Urban met him at a recording studio after the singer’s workout. As soon as Urban could get the song out of his mouth, they were singing it to each other.
“It was one of those natural days,” busbee said. “We walked into a room and we were able to pull stuff out of the sky. That was one of those days.”
Urban credits the ease of the creative process to Kidman. He said the song was born from a conversation they had before they were married. Urban explained he was assuring his wife he was a “good bet.”
“I was a safe place and I would take care of her, and she could remain vulnerable and precious and that I would try and keep the world away from her so she didn’t have to be hardened,” Urban recalls telling Kidman. “I’m saying too much, but they talk about people saying you have to have a thick skin, and I don’t agree with that. I think you should be vulnerable and be a spirit and be real, and if people would stop being so harsh, especially to ourselves, then we wouldn’t have to have thick skins. We could just be a little more what we are, which is pure spirit and fragile and real. Real human beings. Real people.”
Quoting the song, he said: “When they’re trying to get to you baby I’ll be the fighter.” Then he explained, “That’s where it came from.”
Urban praised Underwood for being willing to be vulnerable in the song and on stage. The pair performed “The Fighter” on the Grammy Awards and other awards shows.
“You were perfect,” Urban told Underwood. “It’s not a given that every female will say, ‘What if I fall? What if I get scared?’ Bless you for saying that in a song because so many people won’t say that because they think they have to be tough … and you were willing to do that. I can’t thank you enough for being willing to be vulnerable for this song.”
Underwood said she was “honored” to be included in the project and that Urban was an inspiration to the country genre.
“Every time I’ve been around him he’s always listening to new music and he’s like, ‘What else is new out there,’ ” Underwood said. “He’s a consumer, a lover of music, and I respect that so much. You are such a great example for the rest of us, ‘How do we grow and how do we keep pushing ourselves and how do we keep getting better?’ ”
Urban will celebrate a new No. 1 hit soon. His current single — “Coming Home,” a duet with Julia Michaels — also just topped the country music charts.