Keith Urban shares the advice that made him stay Getty Images
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Although our parents preach the virtue of being “uniquely you,” most kids spend their youth just trying to blend in, fit in and not stand out. We don’t know if Keith Urban’s parents told him that, but somehow being his genuine and authentic self was as natural as breathing for the Aussie country star.

Thank goodness, right? What would we do without everything from “It’s a Love Thing” to “Wasted Time”?

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When he first came to Nashville, though, he was passed over by record labels for creating his own sound. He tells CMT, “People really liked us, but didn’t know what to do with us.”

When one label finally did give him a break, a dispute in the recording studio over an arrangement that didn’t jive with Keith caused him to walk out. “I think it comes easy when you have nothing to lose,” he says. “That’s the point I was at. I thought, ‘I have nothing. We’ve achieved nothing. We’re nobody.’ To me, that’s the definition of nothing to lose.”

Still, Keith and his band, The Ranch, persisted, playing locally at different clubs but never catching that big break. You would think they would have been so disheartened that continuing on would have been painful, but when Keith asked industry executive Cliff Audretch what they were doing wrong, he got the advice that turned things around for him.

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He says that Cliff told him, “You’re doing nothing wrong. You’re just…you’re really unique. And it will be your biggest curse until it becomes your greatest blessing.”

So, if Nashville is in your sights and a career as a country music artist is your dream, don’t get frustrated at the pitfalls, as Keith says, “Stay the course.”

Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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