Keith Urban was honoured for his dedication to furthering music education at the Grammys on the Hill Awards on Wednesday (05Apr17).
The country singer has been tirelessly campaigning for thousands of musical instruments to be provided to programs in need throughout America, and told USA Today at the ceremony, held at The Hamilton in Washington, D.C., that he is determined to change the notion of music being “some frivolous activity”.
“Even if you’re not going to become a professional, the benefits to kids is just really unquantifiable,” he added.
He also commented on the amount of cuts happening to school programs, telling the audience at the event: “Taking music out of schools is like taking out reading. That’s how musicians learn to read… It’s our portal into communicating with the world.”
Keith has become one of the most successful country singers in the industry over the past few years, but the 49-year-old’s confident onstage persona has taken some time to perfect, as Keith admitted he struggled with shyness as a youngster and music helped him come out of his shell.
“For a kid like me who was really shy, very insecure, moving around a lot trying to meet new kids – I was very just awkward, and I found that guitar at six years of age and it completely changed my life,” he added to USA Today.
Keith also treated guests at the event to an intimate set of his songs, including the Grammy-nominated tune Blue Ain’t Your Color.
The ceremony was emceed by past recipient Martina McBride, who told Washington’s WTOP that she couldn’t think of a better person for this year’s gong.
“Keith is one of the most giving people we have,” she said. “He’s also such an artist. He’s got his own style, he’s a talented guitar player, writer, singer, he’s just got it all. We all love him. We’re so proud to have him a part of country music. It’s great to see him honoured. He gives so much back.”