Keith Urban Reveals How John Mellencamp Inspired His Entire Career

Keith Urban has been the inspiration for countless artists, but he likely wouldn’t be the singer, songwriter and performer that he is today without being inspired by one of his own musical heroes. It was John Mellencamp who inspired Urban to do his own, genre-free style of music, both on stage and with his records.

“I love John Mellencamp,” Urban says on Criss Angel’s Talking Junkies podcast (via Taste of Country). “Huge John Mellencamp fan. And he did a record called Lonesome Jubilee. Prior to that, he’d had Hurts So Good, more straight rock, and then through Scarecrow, he brings in some fiddles and a few little organic things. Then he does Lonesome Jubilee and he’s got accordion, fiddle, acoustic guitars, but he’s got this rock rhythm section still.

“It was the collision of all these things that, prior to going to that concert that night, I’d been like ‘Man, am I country or am I rock? I don’t know what I am, what I’m supposed to be doing,'” he continues. “I went to that concert. He walked out onstage. The band was phenomenal. And I saw and heard all that fusion and it was literally like a light went off. I was like, ‘I get it. Don’t think about genre or anything. Just…pull all the things you love, your soup, man, your gumbo, and make your gumbo.'”

Urban is known for his own music, which pulls from a lot of different styles, and will likely be on his next album. The 56-year-old reveals his next project, the follow-up to his 2020 The Speed of Now Part 1, is already completed, but won’t be released until early next year.

“It’s so frustrating sitting on so much,” Urban tells Access Hollywood. “It is a whole album of new music that I’m jonesing to get out, but it won’t be until early across mid to next year.”

Urban’s next set of tunes became an arduous labor of love for the recent Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, who redid much of what he had originally recorded, when he realized he wasn’t happy with the finished product.

“I started working on an album at the beginning of last year,” Urban previously told the Associated Press. “I spent the better part of the year in and out of the studio while I was touring, only to get to probably February of this year and sort of look at it all and feel like it really wasn’t a group of songs that was speaking to me. There was another album in me, I guess. It was a weird feeling. I actually never had that happen with a record, where I bailed on two-thirds of it. I probably kept about three out of those 12 or so songs.”

Urban just wrapped up his Keith Urban: The Las Vegas Residency. Find music and upcoming shows at

Read ‘Keith Urban: 11 Things to Know About the Country Music Hitmaker’ here.