Keith Urban is a solo artist -- but that doesn't mean he doesn't like working with other musicians. It's quite the opposite, in fact.
Urban frequently teams up with other artists or vocalists, bringing them in on song after song, album after album. The result is a bevy of Urban hits that are collaborations with some of the biggest names in country music ... and beyond.
Urban's hit a new collaborative peak as of late: His 2018 album Graffiti U features four guest vocalists, on four different tracks. One of those four is among The Boot's picks for Urban's five best collaborations. Read on to hear them all.
It’s a match made in some weird, wonderful Heaven: Urban and … Pitbull? We know it’s true because Pitbull announces it, as he always does, right at the top: “Keith Urban! Mister Worldwide!” Along with funk legend Nile Rodgers, this unlikely team fuses their sounds more easily than you might expect. Less surprising is that the result, “Sun Don’t Let Me Down,” is an outrageously fun dance song.
Busbee, Urban’s co-writer on “The Fighter,” filled in the duet vocals on this song until Underwood came along. The writer and producer was a “placeholder,” Urban tells The Boot, “until I beautifully heard Carrie’s voice on it finally one day.” Underwood’s voice fits perfectly into the dance-y pop-country song, as she and Urban trade lines in the chorus: “What if I fall?” she asks. “I won’t let you fall,” he replies. The easy give-and-take between the two helped them earn the ACM for Vocal Event of the Year.
Urban and Church earned a Grammy Awards nomination for their 2013 collaboration "Raise ‘Em Up.” The song, about raising everything from lighters to voices to children, wouldn’t be what it was without Church -- just ask Urban.
"It’s such a cinematic song as well, and I’ve always considered Eric to be a very cinematic artist,” Urban says (quote via KTIC Radio), "and I sent him the song, and he was in the studio immediately. I’m so glad he wanted to be a part of it because it took the song to a new place."
Urban has a history of teaming up with other megastars on his songs, but 2018’s “Drop Top” is a little different: The song features Ashton, a rising star who's (for now) much less known than Urban’s typical collaborators. When he was looking for a female vocalist for the track, Urban tells Taste of Country, “I said, ‘Whoever the girl is, she’s gotta have the right voice, she’s gotta have the right attitude, she’s gotta have swagger. Legit, not faux swagger. The real deal.” That real deal ended up being Ashton, and her powerful, bombastic voice makes her one of Urban’s most exciting collaborators, period.
Lambert is the featured artist on Urban’s 2013 “We Were Us,” but listening to it, the song belongs just as much to her as it does to him. She delivers the first verse and goes head to head with Urban in each chorus. Halfway through, all the instruments drop, and we hear nothing but Urban and Lambert’s blended voices singing: “Back when that song was a song I could sing along / Without thinking about you every time it came on.” If it wasn’t clear before then, that moment hits home what a powerful duo the two make.