Keith Urban Only Heard ‘Female’ a Month Before Releasing It
"The writers wrote this song on Oct. 10, and I heard it the next day," Urban tells Rolling Stone Country, which points out that the song was written less than a week after the New York Times' expose on Harvey Weinstein's history of sexual harassment and abuse was published on Oct. 5. "I got to hear it fresh out of the oven, and it was instant love for me."
Shane McAnally, Nicolle Galyon and Ross Copperman co-wrote "Female." Urban, Copperman and Dann Huff produced it.
"I know all three of [the writers], and I think, obviously, the tone of times right now was weighing on all of them, and compelled them to write this song," Urban reflects. "It affected me not just as a husband but also as a father of two young girls, and a son. I had a heart reaction -- my first thought was that it was a gospel soul prayer mantra, all rolled into one."
Galyon has confirmed that she sings background vocals on the track, but when it comes to the rumors that Urban's wife, Nicole Kidman, is singing also, Urban plays coy.
"They are a blend of a couple people," Urban says of the song's background vocals. "Just a sense of female."
Urban tells Rolling Stone Country that one of his favorite lyrics in "Female" is the part of the second verse that addresses rape culture and consent: "When somebody laughs and implies that she asked for it just 'cause she was wearin' a skirt / Aw, is that how that works?" Urban calls that line in particular "extraordinary songwriting."
Urban has been in the studio in recent months -- in July, the singer shared on social media a photo showing just that -- but fans shouldn't expect all of his new music to sound like "Female."
"I've been in the studio all this year, a long way into a new album, but I don't even think of this song as a first single," Urban admits. "It's a single standalone piece that felt really strong to me."
Keith Urban + Nicole Kidman's Most Adorable Moments
Unforgettable Keith Urban Moments