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From 'Idol,' to new album to concerts, Keith Urban has no time to idle


Keith Urban's life is a busy one but he takes it all in stride.

Associated Press Enlarge

NASHVILLE — Keith Urban’s to-do list goes something like this: Provide the voice of reason on American Idol, choose and record songs for a new album, plan a tour of outdoor venues and arenas that starts this summer, coordinate and learn songs for an upcoming fund-raiser concert, fly back and forth to London where wife Nicole Kidman is shooting a film, and carve out the right amount of time with his two young daughters.

“There’s a lot of creativity happening right now,” Urban said in a phone interview Monday. “I’m also building a studio at my house, just for the heck of it. Why not? Let’s do that, too. I had several meetings yesterday on a Sunday with various people, and it was like I’m choosing color fabrics for something or other and thinking about the song I’ve got to cut in the studio today. Dear Lord.”

Some of the things that are keeping the 45-year-old Australian country music star-TV personality busy:

■ American Idol: Urban’s not even through his first season on the Fox network singing competition, but he already knows he’d consider doing it again if asked. He’s managed to navigate early tensions between fellow judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, and says he’s getting to know the real people behind the on-air personas of his fellow judges, a group that also includes Randy Jackson.

“Being on this panel, I love the color of it all — Nicki, Randy, and Mariah,” Urban said. “I like being on this panel. I like that we don’t agree on everything. We come from different places. I think that’s important.”

■ His new album: Urban never set a formal release date, but feels like he’s falling behind. He plans lots of guests, so that’s slowed things down as he’s tried to integrate everyone’s schedules. The album’s release might not come until late summer.

■ The “Light the Fuse” tour, starting July 18 and including a Nov. 24 stop at Huntington Center: There may be something a little different for those who hit one of his outdoor shows starting this summer, including his first trip to the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. “There’s a chance that we’ll start the tour before the album comes out,” Urban said. 

“So in a strange, weird way, people may be hearing songs off the new album live before they hear the album. That’s never happened before [for me], but that’s where we are.”

■ The fund-raiser: Urban has picked the theme “Rebels and Renegades, The Outlaws Are In” for his Country Music Hall of Fame fund-raiser April 16 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, and he’s lined up some of country’s most notable mavericks. The list includes Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Kris Kristofferson, Hank Williams, Jr., Jason Aldean, Eric Church, and Rosanne Cash.

Note that sleep isn’t on the list. Urban admits he can sometimes feel the weight of all there is to do, but he’s figured out a coping mechanism.

“I know in 30 years’ time, I’m going to look back at this moment and go, ‘Oh, my God, what a great time. I should have enjoyed that more,’” he said. “So I really think of that and it’s sort of like I exhale and just slow down and go, ‘OK, what’s the next thing? What’s the next thing?’”

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