Keith Urban‘s newest single has arrived — and it was inspired by a legend.
“Coming Home” is the latest single to be released off Urban’s upcoming Graffiti U album and while it features vocals and a songwriting contribution from pop star Julia Michaels, the track was largely influenced by the late Merle Haggard.
“‘Coming Home’ started with an idea I had of using the intro of one of my favorite Haggard songs, ‘Mama Tried,’ to build an entirely new song around it,” Urban explained. “Then, I took the idea to J.R. Rotem and he put some chords around it. I jotted down the first words that the music made me feel, jumped on a mic and sang the chorus.”
“Hearing that rolling Haggard guitar lick sparked memories of my childhood – and my dream to come to America,” Urban continued. “I knew right then the story [of the song] was about the struggles of being in a city where your dreams have brought you, but far from your home – wherever, whomever and whatever that is for each of us.”
Co-writing credits belong to Urban, Rotem, Michaels, Haggard and Nicolle Galyon, while the song was co-produced by Rotem and Urban.
“Julia’s writing contribution extended into the idea of the need to physically be home,” he said of Michaels. “She summed up the whole story in one sentence: ‘Yeah, I know it’s only one call away, but it’s not the same.’ For me, that simple phrase said so much, especially when she sang it!”
Once the project was finished, Urban made sure to seek the seal of approval from Haggard’s family.
“I called Theresa Haggard and Ben Haggard to play them what we’d been working on,” he explained. “It was important to me to have their blessing — and I’m so grateful that they love the song.”
“Coming Home” is the third track Urban has released in 2018, following the socially conscious “Female” and the Ed Sheeran-penned “Parallel Line”.
While Urban has yet to announce an official release date for his next studio album, he will be hitting the road on his Graffiti U tour beginning June 15 with special guest, Kelsea Ballerini.
But first, Urban will take the stage to perform at the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards on April 15 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The ceremony will be hosted by Reba McEntire and broadcast live on CBS. It will mark the 15th time that McEntire has hosted the event.
For more on what to expect from the show, watch below.