Keith Urban is floating on air.
Between marriage, sobriety and having a child, the international country music superstar can’t hold in the joy.
It wasn’t a conscious move, but Urban’s elation and gratitude give wings to his latest album, “Defying Gravity.”
“I wrote the album in a six-month period. When the songs are written so close together it gives a consistency to the record. And right now I’m in a really grateful place,” the New Zealand-born, Australian-raised singer said in a telephone interview.
“I don’t think about any of that when I’m writing. I tend to prefer to let it be what it is and in hindsight that lets me see where I am. There may be a theme happening before I am even aware of it.”
“Defying Gravity” is the endlessly optimistic follow-up to 2006’s “Love & the Whole Crazy Thing,” which was released in the wake of Urban’s stint in rehab shortly after marrying Hollywood star Nicole Kidman, another Australian.
The new album finds Urban in the grips of bliss, clear-headed, happily married and a brand new dad – all of which have both tested and driven his capacity to love.
“I’ve always written about relationships and love but this record is permeated with the courage to love. Not to sound sappy, but that’s what I’ve been learning in marriage – to have the courage to let somebody love me and the courage to love someone,” he said.
“I’ve had my heart broken and each time it gets more difficult to let someone love me. Since meeting my wife and getting sober and more clear, I’m more awake and now I feel like I’m really in this – here in the present.”
While Urban was sailing on a natural high, he set out to make an album that was arena-ready, which further spurred the high-energy approach to “Defying Gravity.”
And while his sobriety was prevalent on his mind, he was more concerned about the ups than the downs in his life.
“I wanted an upbeat record for the touring aspect,” Urban said. “The love and pain was very honest, but I didn’t need the music as a cathartic release for processing all of what was going on.
“I wrote about the thing that pulled me though and that was being loved. I wrote about the solution rather than the problem.”
When Urban talks about his 1-year-old daughter, Sunday Rose Kidman Urban, he compares it to hearing a sold-out audience sing the words to his songs.
“When that little girl came along it changed everything. The feeling is still sinking in,” Urban said, comparing it to the sort of out-of-body experience he gets onstage.
“It’s existential. I sort of remove myself from the moment. That’s the great thing about playing live – that dichotomy of being in the moment and at the same time lost in the moment.”