Russ Harrington Keith Urban
New show. Who dis?
After a hugely successful multi-year Las Vegas residency show at Caesars Palace — one that was interrupted by COVID in 2020 — Keith Urban is headed back to Sin City this spring to begin a new production.
This time, the 13-time CMA winner will take over the Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood for 16 nights with his Keith Urban: The Las Vegas Residency show.
"That room already feels geared towards a certain energy that's probably a bit better for what I do," he told PEOPLE exclusively. "I love the sort of club arena vibe, and I think that room already has a bit more of that rock and roll spirit, so I'll be making the most of that."
Coincidentally, Urban admits to fighting against a Vegas residency show for years. Things changed when he actually got to play his show.
"I was asked to do it earlier but always said no because to me a residency sounded a little bit like an episode of Severance and I was like, 'I don't know that I'm built for this,'" he joked. "I need freneticism and unpredictability, and I need a certain energy. When we finally went and did the residency at the end of 2019, I loved it and I was transformed."
In the upcoming show, not only will Urban perform from his deep catalog of songs, but he'll also tap into his new material, such as "Wild Hearts," "Brown Eyes Baby" and "Street Called Main." And, there's a lot more where that came from.
"I've probably got maybe half a dozen or more songs that have all been finished mixed, done, ready to go," Urban revealed.
While Urban has continued to release songs over the past few years, he hasn't released a studio album since 2020's The Speed of Now Part 1. The way Urban sees it, there's no right or wrong way to release music in this ever-changing world.
"It's tricky because there's no center anymore. There was a time when you would say, 'Well OK, here's the trajectory: We're gonna take this song to radio; we're gonna shoot a music video; we're gonna put that on CMT' — there was a sequence to everything," he said. "But there's so many portals and platforms and ways to get new music out, from TikTok and all the social media platforms to obviously filming a video or maybe just doing a lyric video. Maybe you do a little snippet or a live version and then something that's officially a single for radio, and then another one that you're not really going to take to radio."
"There's just infinite ways. And when someone says, 'Well, that was that song a hit?' You go, 'There's like 20 different ways to define what a hit is these days,'" he added.
Still, when it comes to new music, a couple of key people almost always hear his songs first: His wife, Nicole Kidman, and their daughters, Sunday Rose, 14, and Faith Margaret, 11.
"[Nicole] and the family obviously hear these songs because here I am, they're gonna hear these songs first," he said. His longtime producer is also early in the pecking order.
Before Urban heads to Vegas, he'll make his touring return to Australia, where he was raised.
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"Country music is finally starting to really take off down there. It feels like it's taken decades for it to catch up," Urban said. "Country's evolved a lot and there's a massive audience down there now that didn't used to be there."
Recalling his early days touring Down Under, Urban spoke of people sitting down through pretty much the entirety of the show.
"We were playing arenas here in America and everybody's up on their feet and it's like New Year's Eve every night," he said. "Then we'd go down to Australia and it would be lots of people seated and it was just a different kind of vibe. Slowly over the years, we've been able to change our audiences and get them really up and engaged, but the genre itself I think is really starting to explode down there."
Keith Urban: The Las Vegas Residency launches March 3, 2023.
March 2023: 3, 4, 8, 10, 11, 15, 17, 18
June 2023: 16, 17, 21, 23, 24, 28, 30
July 2023: 1