Keith Urban‘s father passed away in 2015, but his influence still permeates almost everything Keith does. It was his father who instilled in him a love of country music, and his father whose approval he still seeks today, even though he has been gone for six years.

“I think that fire has burned in me forever, and probably still does,” Keith tells Billboard. “I think I got my dad’s approval long before I thought I had it…but it’s a strong driving force for me to impress my dad. Still, to this day.”

Urban mentions his father in the opening lines of his current single, “Wild Hearts,” which says, “Saw the man in black / Spotlight in the air / Heard a thousand screams / Saw my daddy stare.”

“When you’re five years old and you see your father mesmerized by something — in a way that I don’t think I had seen that gaze come to me — I’m like, ‘I’m going to do that,"” he says.

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