Australian country music star Keith Urban has a much more culturally fluid background than many people would think. His genre of music tends to make people assume that he was born and raised in the southern parts of the U.S.A., but that could not be further from the truth.
Urban’s early life
Keith Urban was born in Whangarei, North Island, New Zealand to his parents Marienne and Robert Urban. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Caboolture, Queensland, Australia to start a new and more prosperous life.
Urban’s parents share the same passport country of New Zealand. Because of this, Urban is considered to be a Third Culture Kid by its definition that a TCK is, “an individual who, having spent a significant part of the development years in a culture other than the parents’ culture, develops a sense of relationship to all of the cultures while not having a full ownership in any.” Urban spent all of his developmental years in a culture that he did not share with his parents and because of this he was able to experience the culture that his parents taught him from New Zealand along with the culture he was surrounded with in Australia.
His culturally fluid life continues
During Urban’s teenage years, he discovered his passion for the genre of country music. This passion stemmed from his father’s love of the U.S.’s style of country music. Urban put his own Australian twist on the genre by mixing rock guitar and country sounds. This new form of country music earned him multiple talent show awards and even a spot in a band. He and the band also debuted their first album in 1997 but shortly after Urban decided to pursue a solo career.
In 1999, Urban decided to leave Australia and progress his singing career by moving to Nashville, Tennessee in the U.S.A. Urban said:
My goal was always to get to Nashville. And I sort of made the decision that I could stay in Australia and keep building my career. But the minute you go to Nashville, you start all over again anyway. So if I’m going to starve, and pay my dues in Nashville, let’s go. Let’s start it now and not in five or 10 years.
This last move from Australia to the U.S.A. also makes Urban a Third Culture Adult. Not only did he spend his developmental years in a country outside of his parents’ passport country but he also moved out of the only country he ever knew while in his 20s. He moved in order to pursue his music career. Urban knew that it would take off if he moved to the country music capital of the world.
Urban is a TCK and a TCA
Keith Urban is more culturally fluid than the genre of music he plays would make him appear. Urban is a TCK and a TCA and this has added to the way he easily adapts into new cultures. He accepts change with open arms and has been lucky enough to experience New Zealand, Australia, and U.S. cultures while following his musical dreams. Having done this for the past 50 years, he uses the multiple cultures he has been immersed in to create a unique sound and that is what separates him from all other country artists.