On Air Now
The Smooth Late Show with Martin Collins 10pm - 1am
15 September 2021, 16:33
At the tender age of 11, Keith Urban had already decided he wanted to be a country music singer.
So with his heart set, the ambitious Australian entered talent show Pot Of Gold, singing a cover of Dolly Parton's 'Applejack' to win over the judges.
But once his sweet rendition came to an end, what came next has stayed with Keith Urban for the rest of his life.
As the multiple Grammy Award-winning artist prepares to become a judge on The Voice Australia, he relives the harsh criticism he received that could've easily called a halt to his career before it even started.
Pot Of Gold's lead judge Bernard King had a similar reputation to that of Simon Cowell down under during the late 70s, and did not hold back after 11-year-old Keith concluded his Dolly cover.
Despite the criticisms that major stars face on a regular basis, this specific incident still haunts Keith Urban, as he detailed in a recent interview with The Daily Telegraph.
"I desperately encourage you to escape the mediocrity, get out of country and western music, and get into some real music otherwise you’ll end up sounding like Dolly Parton and absolutely useless.” King lambasted Keith at the time.
Keith recalls: "He said, ‘Kindly learn to sing in tune, because you’re intrinsically a good musician ‘ and I remember saying to mom and dad, ‘What’s ‘intrinsically’ mean?’"
Even after an incident that could've deterred even the most spirited of adults, let alone an 11-year-old child, Keith took another shot on TV talent show New Faces five years later in 1983.
Now 16 years of age, he again was on the wrong end of criticism from the talent show judges.
This time singing a cover of Air Supply's 'All Out Of Love', he was knocked back by each of the judges who said he still required plenty of improvement.
Though, to take a verbal battering on two occasions as such a young man could've only reinforced his determination to become a successful musician.
It spurred him on, after releasing his debut self-titled album, to relocate to Nashville, Tennessee in 1992.
And we all know how that turned out, with Keith Urban selling over 15 million albums achieving more than 20 number one singles since.
He stuck to his guns, followed his dream, and is now widely regarded as one of country music's contemporary greats.
Now as he returning to helm one of the judges chairs on The Voice in his home country, the tables have turned.
But in this twist of fate, let's hope he uses his experiences as a talent show contestant to help another budding star chase their dreams.