Story Behind the Song: Keith Urban, ‘Female’
Keith Urban's 2017 single "Female," may only have peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard country charts, but the week after its release, it was country radio's most-added song. "Female" also caught national attention for its subject matter, quickly linked to the #MeToo movement and the push for women's equality both in the country genre and in daily life.
Listeners had all kinds of takes on "Female": While some argued that it was mansplaining, others felt that it was a necessary point of view from a mainstream male country artist, to encourage other men to see how the movement applied to them and to be more proactive about addressing the societal biases women face. However, Urban insists that it wasn't the political weight of the song that made him nervous to perform it the first time he played it live.
"It wasn't because of that!" he said with a laugh during a fan party to celebrate the release of his album, Graffiti U. "I was nervous because there are a lot of words [in that song]! There's a weird voice that happens in my head before I start playing: Out of the blue, when I'm inches away from the mic, it goes, 'Don't forget the words!'"
Read on to learn more about what "Female" means to Urban, and why he felt compelled to record the track the very first time he heard it.
The people who wrote that song [Shane McAnally, Nicolle Galyon and Ross Copperman] wrote it the day before I heard it, so it was a fresh, brand-new song. It just hit me, as a father of young girls; my girls are around seven and nine years old. As a father and also a husband, I recorded it for my wife as well as my daughters, and also for my mom and for all the women in my life.
The thing about that song is that it was so much more than what it very quickly got labeled as. It was a bigger, broader, more all-encompassing prayer of a song. Yes, it dealt with sexual harassment, and that is specific to two lines in the second verse. Yes, that part of the song addresses that. But the rest of the song is a prayer. It's a song of hope, and of what we want for our girls and for all women. It was so important for me to have that message out there, and that's why I wanted to record the song.
Keith Urban + Nicole Kidman's Most Adorable Moments
Unforgettable Keith Urban Moments