Keith Urban Working With Chic’s Nile Rodgers on New Music
Keith Urban's been a busy guy: He's hard at work on a new album, will return to the judges' table for the final season of American Idol and recently played at both the 2015 Taste of Country Music Festival and Country Jam 2015. He also has been collaborating with Nile Rodgers, of the band Chic.
Rodgers — whose band gained popularity in the 1970s with disco hits such as "Good Times" and "Le Freak" — reveals to Yahoo! Music that he's recorded at least two songs with Urban, which Yahoo! Music describes as "EDM-country."
“While I was putting it together, I thought, ‘You know, it needs to be a little bit more modern,'" says Rodgers. “I really pushed him to sing at the top of his range. Keith was nervous about it; he wanted to do another take. But I told him I loved the way it sounds.”
Urban reached into other genres for his 2013 Fuse album, with rap producer Mike Elizondo and rock producer Jay Joyce among his collaborators for the album. It's unclear if these new collaborations are for Urban's new album, a project by Rodgers or something else, but according to Rodgers, the tunes will usher in an entirely new audience for the country music superstar.
"His fans may have some kind of problem at first,” Rodgers concedes. “But my biggest records have always been like that. A lot of people, the only record they ever bought by David Bowie was Let’s Dance [which Rodgers co-produced]. That’s at least [seven] million albums — he’d never sold anything near that before. So his fan base got angry: ‘This sucks! This is not Ziggy Stardust! That’s not Scary Monsters!’ But it was huge because it spoke to a broader audience. I think a record like this will speak to a broader audience [for Urban], and the country people will come around.”
The "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16" singer says that he gets inspiration from working with musicians from other styles of music.
“I love working with people who play a lot of instruments," Urban says. "I love the idea of working close and collaboratively with people like that so we can work quickly and we can not have to try and get this vision across to six, seven, eight different people in the studio — not exclusively, but I like starting like that.”
Rodgers has released dozens of albums, but the 62-year-old admits that Urban taught him something new about music.
"I’m a jazz guy; I don’t put a capo on my guitar — to me that’s, like, taboo," he says. "But when I watched Keith do it, I was like, 'Wait a minute! I gotta learn this!’ So I watched him play, and I went home and started practicing. I said to him, 'Give me six months, and I’m going to be killin’! I’m moving to Nashville!’ Of course I’m joking — I mean, I’m not going to move to Nashville. But give me six months, and I’ll have that down.”
Urban isn't the only country artist who has been collaborating with stars outside of country music: Lady Antebellum recently announced that they will be releasing a new song with EDM artist Audien, and the Band Perry has revealed that they worked with Diplo on their upcoming new album.
Keith Urban Talks New Music, Advice From Dad
See Keith Urban + More Country Stars as Kids