By age six, Urban was already thinking about getting into the music business. He began learning the techniques at age seven and began winning young singing contests by age eight.A few years later he began to make inroads into the Australian country music scene with regular appearances on the Reg Lindsay Country Homestead TV Program, Mike McClellan's Music Program and various other TV Programs performing in duet with Jenny Wilson, local Brisbane girl with whom he won a golden guitar award at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. He also performed regularly on stage at the Northern Suburbs Country Music Club near Caboolture.
In 1990, Urban signed with EMI in Australia and recorded his first solo album, which charted four No. 1 country hits in Australia, New Zealand, and Germany. Urban toured as a back-up to Slim Dusty in 1993-4. In the mid 1990s, Dusty and Urban recorded a re-worked duet of Dusty's classic "Lights on the Hill" and Urban appeared for the first time at the Grand Ole Opry backing Dusty.
In 1992, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he found work as a guitarist for Brooks & Dunn and can be seen backing Alan Jackson in his music video for "Mercury Blues". Later, Urban formed The Ranch, a three-piece group that released one album in 1997. Originally the front man for The Ranch, Urban disbanded the group to pursue a solo career in 1998. In 1999, Urban found "Vocal Coach to the Stars" Brett Manning, and worked with him up until 2001.
In August 2000, Urban was the first male New Zealand performer to reach the top 10 on the U.S. country chart with "Your Everything". At the time he was spelling his name "keith urban".
In Nashville, Urban became a frequent user of cocaine. After reaching a personal nadir in 1998, he became determined to give up the habit and checked into Cumberland Heights, a treatment center in Nashville.Widely regarded for his guitar skills, has performed as a session musician on albums such as Garth Brooks' Double Live, Dixie Chicks' Fly, and Paul Brandt's This Time Around.
Urban performed "Lights on the Hill" for Tamworth's 2004 tribute concert following the death of Australia's Slim Dusty, an artist whom Urban had both written for and covered.
Urban was also a judge for the 8th annual Independent Music Awards.