Keith Urban was a lot like the average person when quarantine began. “I didn’t transition smoothly into this new way of doing things,” he confessed to CBS Sunday Morning’s Tracy Smith in a new interview.
And that wasn’t all. “I was gonna put my sweatpants on, sit on the couch, watch TV with the family, and wait ’til the whole thing blows over!” the country superstar, who’ll be hosting the ACM Awards on Wednesday (Sept. 16), added. “I just didn’t do anything! I just did nothing for it seemed like eternity for me.”
But it wasn’t long before Urban began doing livestream concerts from home, as did many other musicians who wanted to stay connected with fans as tours around the world were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. By May, the country star was helping to kick off a new trend: the drive-in concert.
Urban played a drive-in show for Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s healthcare workers just outside Nashville May 14. “It actually resembled a tailgate party more than a drive-in,” he told Billboard afterward. “The only thing that’s changed is the tailgate party will now be the concert. We’ll just bring the stage out to them.”
A drive-in concert was something he hadn’t expected he’d ever do, he told Smith. “Didn’t have that on my list of things to do in life, but here we go,” he said. “I was so grateful that we were able to do it at all, and particularly grateful we got to do it for all the frontline workers.”
As for whether he thinks drive-in shows are the future of live concerts? “I hope not!” he laughed. “Please, no!”
Urban also opened up about how the pandemic impacted his upcoming album, The Speed of Now, Part 1, which drops Sept. 18. “There’s a chunk of this record, probably a good third of it that wouldn’t have happened without what we went through,” he explained to CBS’s Smith. “I would say I had 70 percent of the record finished, so some of these songs because of the times, from the times, and were even created during that period as well.”
And though things are still looking bleak with the number of coronavirus infections still growing by the thousands each day in the U.S., the musician is trying to look at the bright side. “I’m always hopeful. We will learn so much from this moment. And when this comes again and there’s no doubt it will at some point, we’ll be way better prepared for it,” he told Smith before sharing his thoughts about concerts going forward. “We’re always gonna play — somehow, some way, we’re gonna figure out how to do it.”
Check out his entire interview below, and watch Urban host the ACM Awards Wednesday (Sept. 16) on CBS at 8 p.m. ET. (The event is produced by dick clark productions, which shares a parent company with Billboard.)