Story Behind the Song: Keith Urban, ‘Coming Home’ (Feat. Julia Michaels)
Keith Urban threw a party for fans in advance of the release of his Graffiti U album in late April. Along with treating fans to a first listen of the record and an art exhibit of murals and installations crafted by local artists, Urban played an intimate set showcasing the new music, pausing between songs to answer fan questions.
In response to one fan's question, the country singer explained the creative process that led to "Coming Home," the album's first official single, which features pop singer-songwriter Julia Michaels. Read on to learn how the song was created, get a peek into Urban's songwriting process and hear all about the special line that Michaels added to the track.
This song started with a Merle Haggard lick, from "Mama Tried." I wanted to use that in a song. We took it to JR Rotem, and we put some chords around it, and we started playing the song.
I didn't set out to write a song about coming home, but when I heard that Haggard lick, it kept making me think of that. I remember writing it and looking at it and going "Oh! This song is about coming home. Okay." I love how, for me, a lot of times the music tells the story, or draws the story out, versus the other way around.
It was a personal song, because I came to Nashville 26 years ago. Nashville was where my dreams were, and it was where I wanted to live, but after being here for a while, I missed being able to just go home for the weekend. I didn't want to go home permanently, it was just getting hard here, like it does for a lot of new artists. You just wanna go home and be around people who know the real you, and can love you back to life. I was just really missing that.
I think that feeling is universal. I think a lot of us who now live in Nashville aren't from here, and we love being here, but we also want to be able to touch base with home. When I brought Julia in, she said, "I know it's only one phone call away, but it's not the same." She just summed up the whole song in one simple phrase! Especially now, more than ever before, with FaceTiming and texting and everything -- all that stuff's great, but it's not the same as physically being home.
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