By JAY CRIDLIN
c.2012 Tampa Bay Times@
Keith Urban is one of Nashville's premiere pinups, with a Hollywood wife, American Idol judgeship and a shelf full of trophies to back it up.
But beneath those bulging guns, perfect locks and dazzling baby blues, Urban remains something of a gearhead. After moving from Australia to Nashville, Urban worked as a session guitarist before making it big on his own, and like Brad Paisley or Vince Gill, he remains one of the genre's most respected singer-guitarists
So when it came time to expand his ever-growing personal brand, selling guitars was a natural fit. At midnight Saturday, Urban will launch the Urban Guitar Collection through St. Petersburg-based HSN. The line of eight electric and electric-acoustic instruments each come as part of a 21-piece set, which also includes an amplifier, two hour-long instructional DVDs and more.
Creating the line was a two-year process involving much back-and-forth between HSN and Urban.
"I was giving them notes on the things I liked and wanted to change a little bit, and I would send it back, and they would work on it and send it back to me," Urban said. "We went through a few different incarnations until we got just the right thing."
We caught up with the singer before his recent concert at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre to talk about his collaboration with HSN.
How'd you get your first guitar?
Well, I had a ukulele that my dad gave me when I was 4, and he said I could strum it in time with the radio. So when I was 6, they bought me a three-quarter-size guitar with nylon strings and a teacher, and I started learning at 6.
Did you teach yourself?
I learned basic chords and then after about three years of that because we moved around a lot, so I went to different teachers from about 9 years of age on, everything I learned was just by ear and watching people.
Does it feel strange being a brand? You've been such a successful musician for so many years, does it feel strange having your name on so many products, and feeling like a pitchman?
For me, the guitars are such a natural part of who I am and what I do. The opportunity to get it into people's hands who wouldn't ordinarily get to do it. And what I like about HSN is, it's the chance to get guitars in people's hands that might not walk into a guitar store. They might just be sitting at home and going, "I've quietly thought about being a guitar player, and this might be my chance to take that up."
Have you ever bought anything off TV?
I haven't, no.
What about online? If we went back through your Amazon history, what would we find?
A lot of stuff on eBay. A lot of guitars.
Urban Guitar Collection
Keith Urban's guitar line will debut at midnight Saturday on HSN. Get more details at hsn.com.