There wasnt really much else Keith Urban could have ever done with his life other than make music. Music is like air to me, he explains, Its like breathing.He neednt worry about losing his breath. Fans and critics alike have lauded his music, his remarkable skills with the guitar and his dynamic stage performance. USA Today wrote that Urban perfectly balances his guitar heroics and his sensitive pop-star handsomeness with his introspective depth, while one US label president told the Los Angeles Times: Hes a great musician, has his own attitude, doesnt appear to be manufactured. Hes played a lot, earned his chops and that goes a long way with me.His energetic and infectious music effortlessly conjures up images of wide open spaces and unobstructed highways, of clear skies and endless possibilities. So far he has sold over five million albums, had five American number one singles, nine top five hits and picked up a clutch of Grammy nominations. He is constantly on the road, playing one packed out show after another, and his well earned reputation as one of the best live performers around means that the tickets are usually all sold out in a matter of minutes. Urban signed his first record deal back in his native Australia with EMI in 1990. His self-titled debut came out the following year and was a huge hit, spawning five number one singles. But Urban always had his sights set on international success, and so in 1992 he crossed the Pacific to live full time in the US.A musician as skilled as Urban wasnt going to remain unnoticed for long and in no time the requests for this remarkable new guitarist came piling in. After years of travel, small gigs and one-off studio work he saved enough money to book his own monthly showcases. These eventually led to him signing his own deal with EMIs Capitol Records and since then his success has been nothing short of phenomenal. His three solo albums have sold over five million copies despite only being released in three countries the USA, Canada and Australia, where he has remained a huge star.His second solo album on Capitol, 2002s Golden Road, is now double Platinum in the US. Three of its singles made number one, including the irresistible Somebody Like You which spent an impressive eight consecutive weeks atop the charts. His most recent album, 2004s Be Here, was certified Platinum just six weeks after release and the sets first single, Days Go By, gave him his fastest climb to number one.Co-produced and mostly written or co-written by Urban, Be Here sums up the philosophy of someone who has worked incredibly hard and valued every minute of it. Times so limited, you just dont know how long youll be here for. So it seems to me that to make the most of every day is really crucial. The relationships you have with people are the only things that are going to matter in the end, he explains. Being in the moment at any given time, thats the greatest achievement, thats where the balance is. Thats where everything is. Thats the goal.Growing up in Australia around Brisbane, Urban first picked up a musical instrument, a ukulele, when he was only four years old. Impressed at his ability even then to strum along in time to the music on the radio, his parents bought him his first guitar when he was six and hes spent little time away from one since. I remember holding that guitar at a very young age and it just felt so comfortable, so natural, he says.Brisbanes location, facing out onto the vast Pacific Ocean, had a profound effect on Urban, instilling him with a drive and optimism that has stayed with him ever since. Growing up near the ocean gives you a sense that anythings possible, he remembers. Its wide open.For the young Urban the possibilities were endless, especially those revolving around his love of music and playing the guitar. Hours and hours of teaching himself to play along to the guitar solos of the records in his parents collection meant that, by the time he left school at the earliest possible opportunity, he was already a veteran of the local music scene, and so accomplished on the guitar that it had become almost an extension of his own personality. What Ive always liked most about the guitar is that it communicates things I cant say, he says. It helps me express what I cannot express because I cant find the words or I just dont have it in me as a person, but the guitar says it all for me.His influences take in singer songwriters Elton John and Jackson Browne, the celebrated writing and guitar playing of Elvis Costello as well as musicians such as Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits and Fleetwood Macs Lindsay Buckingham. The common theme throughout all these and all of his own recordings is the importance of the song itself. A good song is a good song, thats what it all comes down to, especially if the songs are original and unexpected.People like Prince and OutKast I love the guys that come along and break all the rules of songwriting, he says, even while he freely admits hes still none the wiser as to how to exert any kind of control over the writing process. Songwriting is the most elusive thing in my life, its a mystery.But he knows when hes got it right. People always talk about their island discs, the records theyd take on an island, he says, explaining his outlook. Never mind that. How about a 14 hour drive? What are the records you have to have when youre packing your car? Thats the pile you want to be in when youre making a record, he says.As a songwriter, you put more of yourself into your music than ever before. As a vocalist, you sing with newfound passion and commitment. Already recognised as a true guitar hero, you play your instrument with even more fire and skill. For me, its just a matter of getting more comfortable in my own skin, Urban confesses. I hope that theres more of me coming through in the music. I think that comes from getting comfortable with myself as a person and as a musician, but also from getting comfortable in the studio. In the end, all you can do is live and learn.Be Here, co-produced by Dann Huff and Urban himself, is music from a young man whos lived a little, loved a little and battled a couple of demons along the way. There are songs here for the good times, such as Youre My Better Half, Making Memories of Us and Gods Been Good To Me. And there are songs that speak to lifes darker patches, like Tonight I Wanna Cry, The Hard Way and Nobody Drinks Alone. From the driving opening track Days Go By (the albums first single) to the graceful reprise of These Are The Days, Be Here offers the sound of a gifted singer-songwriter and world-class player embracing life and savoring the chance to play another day. You expect a great deal from country radios most played artist of 2003, a famously crowd-pleasing live performer with a remarkable track record of four #1 songs and eight Top Five hits all of this accomplished with just two solo albums. And now on Be Here, Urban delivers more than ever before. While the songs sound as accessible as ever, Be Here is Urbans most personal and deeply felt work to date. This is music for living life in the present tense. If there was a theme to this album, it would be the big questions I ask just like anybody else: What are we doing here? Whats life about? says Urban. These days, I think more about the brevity of our time here. So it seems to me that making the most of every day is really crucial.Keith Urban grew up loving country music in another country -- Australia.We moved around a lot in the city of Brisbane when I was very young, Urban remembers. Then my dad decided it was time to get back to his rural upbringing. He bought a property in a place called Caboolture, a farming town about an hour north of Brisbane. We moved up there and lived on this 12-acre farm. We had our own cows for milking well, one cow, singular, to tell the truth. He wanted our family to be self-sufficient from the land.From the start, Urban took to his parents country records collection -- Don Williams, Glen Campbell, and Charley Pride, among others. And before long, young Keith was playing along. By age seven, Urban was already thinking about coming to America and making his mark in Nashville, Tennessee. I inherited this kind of love for the American dream, Urban explains. I fell in love with the music, the cars and the whole idea of America.At eight, Urban started winning country music talent shows. By twelve, he was booking his band in local clubs, and at fifteen, quit school and hit the road. In 1990, Urban signed with EMI in Australia and recorded his first solo album, which charted four No. 1 country hits over there. Finally, Urban decided the time had come to move to Nashville in 1992. Once in Music City, Urban made some industry buzz with a three-piece group called The Ranch. But after releasing one album in 1997, Urban was ready to leave The Ranch and move on as a solo artist.In 2000, Keith Urban, his self-titled debut in the United States, became a real breakthrough effort that established Urban as one of countrys brightest talents. The album, co-produced by Matt Rollins and Keith Urban, featured three Top 5 hits, including the No. 1 hit But For The Grace of God. In the wake of that tremendous success, Urban won the Country Music Associations prestigious Horizon Award in 2001, as well as the Top New Male Vocalist Award at the 2001 Academy of Country Music Awards. As if that wasnt enough, his highflying instrumental performance on Rollercoaster was nominated for a Grammy Award, and all of this in the midst of two years of non-stop touring.When it was released in 2002, Golden Road became another great leap forward. The album went Gold in eight weeks and spawned a wildly impressive run of hits including Somebody Like You, Raining On Sunday, Who Wouldnt Wanna Be Me and Youll Think of Me. Somebody Like You spent eight consecutive weeks at the top of the charts, remaining at #1 longer than any other country artist in 2002.Now with the release of Be Here, Urban is excited to hit the road and be wherever the music takes him. I cant wait to get on the road and play these songs live, he says. Theres a lot to be said for having toured so much since Golden Road came out. I think all that roadwork helped us in making Be Here. And even now, Urban doesnt mind having to win new fans on the road. Its a daily challenge, ya know, you gotta rise to the expectations, those of your own, of those whove seen you before, and the friends theyve brought along, especially the ones theyve dragged along.With Be Here, Urban has made the most ambitious and heartfelt music of his career to date a song cycle that reflects Urbans great musical range and personal point of view as never before. But like all great music, in the end, ultimately its all about expression and communication for him.We want our music to connect with as many people as possible, Urban explains finally. Thats what its about for me giving all Ive got to lift spirits and raise the roof.