Now in its second season, Reba McEntire’s Living & Learning podcast brings fans deeper into the lives of some of her famous friends. The country artist has been interviewing artists like Brooks & Dunn, Lady A, Jean Smart, Trisha Yearwood, Thomas Rhett, Darius Rucker, Dolly Parton, West Side Story actress Rita Moreno, Jane Fonda, and more since premiering in 2020.
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In McEntire’s most recent episode, “Learning to Live,” Keith Urban sat down to chat about his new single “Wild Hearts.” He also talked about how his upcoming 12th album came together, his marriage, and some of the childhood moments that were most formative to him as an artist (i.e. seeing Johnny Cash at 5).
Urban and McEntire end the podcast with a game of “Urban Legends,” and they come up with their own sets of two truths and a lie.
Urban on returning back to work after the height of the pandemic:
Reba McEntire: Were you itching to get back out there to perform or were you kind of okay with it all?
Keith Urban: A bit of both. We were finishing up our album. The biggest panic for me was that I hadn’t finished my record, and being a collaborative person with co-producers, musicians engineers I was like ‘so I can’t do that with anybody, for how long’. [I was] just gonna put on my sweatpants, get some popcorn, sit on a the couch with the family and watch Netflix until this all blows over. That was my plan.”
RE: I did get to watch a lot of Netflix. I loved it all.
KU: What did you watch, besides Tiger King. That was mandatory viewing.
RE: I have not watched Tiger King. I did watch Nicole’s [Kidman] shows for sure… Nine Perfect Strangers. I had no idea where that was going at all and at the end. Rex [Linn] and I, we love to watch television.
How “Wild Hearts” came about and seeing Johnny Cash when he was 5 years old:
RE: Tell me about “Wild Hearts.”
KU: I passed on the song [at first], so I called the writers [co-written with Brad Tursi, Eric Paslay, and Jennifer Wayne] and asked if I could re-write the verses to make them personal to me and luckily they agreed. So I wrote the first and second verse. And the first verse I remember sitting there at the kitchen table one morning. The kids were gone, Nic [Nicole Kidman] was gone. I drank this really strong coffee. I was like ‘alright, where does my journey begin and the very first thought I had was my mom and dad taking my brother and I to see Johnny Cash when I was 5 years old. That very much felt like the first part of it. So I wrote down ‘saw the man in black, spotlight in the air, heard a thousand screams, saw my daddy stare’ and then we were off and running.
RE: I love that… so five years old you saw Johnny Cash?
KU: That’ll stay with you.
RE: I don’t think that I ever saw Johnny Cash in concert.
How Urban and wife Nicole Kidman juggle their careers, family life, and traveling between the U.S. and Australia:
RE: How in the world have you juggled a career and a marriage, living in Australia and the United States back and forth?
KU: We live in Nashville, that’s been home for me for 30 years now. I’ve lived in America longer than I’ve lived in Australia. I was 23 when I moved to Nashville, so it’s crazy. We have a place in Australia, but we don’t live there. We go down to visit Nic’s mom and my mom—both live there. Nic’s sister and brother-in-law all their kids, and my brother has his kids, so we got a lot of family down there, but it’s a long way. You’ve done that flight before?
RE: Yeah, I have.
KU: You can meet someone and break up on that flight, Reba.
His biggest achievements: marrying the right person and sobriety:
RE: What’s been your biggest achievement?
KU: There’s a lot of things. Marrying the right person… massive. Marrying for the right reasons and getting sober 15 years ago [was] a big turning point in my life. I never had specific goals. When I was a kid, I just wanted to live in Nashville, write songs, make some records, and hope the radio plays them… [have] people come see us play our own music instead of covers that I’m playing. That was it. That was the goal.
How Reba has been a part of his life for a long time:
KU: Why do I play music? Because it’s just organic. That’s why I do it. I don’t do it for where it’s taking me now. I just had this intense love and passion and drive to keep doing it and try to get better at it, and the end result was doing a podcast with you, Reba, which is crazy.
RE: Aww. Listen at you.
KU: It’s true. But you gotta understand I grew up in Australia and I’m going to the CD store and there’s a Reba McEntire CD, and I’m buying your CD’s and now I’m on a freaking podcast with you. It’s crazy.
Photo: Reba McEntire / Universal Music Group; Keith Urban / PFA Media