Story Behind the Song: Keith Urban, ‘Say Something’
Keith Urban's father wasn't one to express his emotions; in his childhood home, the country superstar admits, conversations about feelings were not often had. "Say Something," from the singer's The Speed of Now Part 1 album, reflects on how his father's mindset affected him and his desire to live his life differently.
Urban co-wrote "Say Something" with Lindy Robbins, Scott Quinn, Jeppe Bilsby, Mitch Hansen, Brandyn Burnette and Celine Svanbäck. In its finished form, the song delivers a timely message about learning from the generation before you — both their rights and their wrongs — and standing up for what you believe in.
Below, Urban shares the story behind "Say Something," in his own words.
"Say Something" got started by a couple of the other writers who did the track, and then Lindy Robbins, who had already started a lyrical direction for that song, and it was called "Say Something," and she had sketched out most of that first verse, and I knew what her inspiration was, where that was coming from, but when I thought about my own life and the way I was raised ...
I was raised in a house with a dad that was always like, "Shhh. Don't rock the boat. Don't talk about anything; say [it] in your music." And there's a lot of truth in that. It's a little bit like what Gandhi said — you know, when they said to Gandhi, "What's your message?" he goes, "My life is my message." And I've always admired that approach, but there are times when we should be speaking up and saying something.
And my own connection to that moved toward my family I was raised in and times I wished I'd spoken up in that environment, 'cause we didn't talk about anything. "When I get close, I close up / Intimacy's so hard for me and I get stuck" — that's how I was raised. And there was so many times we should have said something. We didn't talk about stuff; we just didn't talk about it. We should have said something in the home, so I wanted to make sure that got covered in that song as well ...
My dad didn't really live his truth to the fullest extent that I know he wished he could have — a product of his own raising. And I didn't want to be like that. You know, that's what it says: "I don't wanna be like my father was / Scared to rock the boat, never speaking up." And I'm learning a lot about that in my family now ... a lot more about talking about things, connecting. Yeah, imagine that. [Laughs]