As all of my readers know by now, I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer in 2013. Today is actually my 4 year “cancerversary”. I never knew that something could change my life so much, but there was something (well… someone…) that changed my life in an equally powerful way. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he is playing a show in Nashville that I will be at on my “cancerversary”… and I feel like today is a perfect day to share this in the form of an open letter to him: Keith Urban.
You may or may not remember me (and that’s okay)… A little less than 4 years ago, you performed a series of mini concerts in downtown Nashville to promote your Light The Fuse tour on September 6, 2013. I was at Legends Corner that night. It was actually a last minute decision that truly changed my life. I had just been diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer on June 11, 2013 and I decided I wanted to catch your show because I figured I would never get another opportunity like that again (and I needed a night out after everything I had just gone through with surgery and radiation a few weeks prior to that night). I lucked out and was able to get in and get right up front. I had never seen you live and you completely mesmerized me with your talent. The one thing that you did at the end that stuck out to me the most though was that you acknowledged me and shook my hand and said “Hey baby” directly to me as you were leaving the stage. I left 100% as a new fan of yours. I immediately started following you and your career and going to as many concerts as I possibly could afford to go to & downloading your music. I saw you at Bridgestone that year, as well as All 4 The Hall and in Virginia Beach. Then, the day before my 29th birthday (and about 2 months after my 2nd thyroid cancer removal surgery), I was able to get a meet & greet with you (thanks to a mutual friend). This day changed my life. I briefly told you a little bit of my story (that I had briefly written out a few lines to you on a piece of paper). You were absolutely the nicest and most kind artist that I had ever met. You were so humble and blew me away. I left your concert and my life changed. I was sitting in my kitchen the next day and had a very real “A ha!” moment and started to get emotional because I realized that I had to do SOMETHING in the music industry. I knew I wanted to work for someone that made me feel connected to the music and someone that cares about their fans. I started to pursue my dream of music promotion. Through that, I was inspired to start a company called Shine On Music City, LLC. (The “Shine” part was inspired by your song “Shine”… The line in the song being “Everybody’s got a cross to carry. Everybody’s got a story they can tell.”) I’ve been following my heart every step of the way and I feel like it has turned into something meaningful… not only to me… but hopefully also for the artists I have tried to help along the way as well. My dream job is to work for you some day, but you inspired me to start this company and I am so grateful for the inspiration. After starting Shine On Music City, I saw you several more times between 2014-2016. I lucked out again and got a VIP package for All 4 The Hall in Nashville in 2016. It was then that I had the opportunity to tell you face-to-face a few more details about Shine On Music City… and again, you were so humble and seemed to really appreciate the fact that I was inspired by you. You held on to my hand as we were talking and were so genuine and that meant more to me than I can even truly express. In 2016 alone though, I literally traveled coast-to-coast to see you perform. Today (Sunday, June 11, 2017) will be the 27th time that I have seen you perform since that first show on September 6th, 2014, and I really hope that you might get a chance to see this post before then.
I have watched you and every aspect of your performances and interactions with fans. I have seen you stand out in the rain in the early morning hours just to meet and take pictures with each and every fan that wanted a picture. You engage and want to know more about your fans. You have personally acknowledged me in crowds of thousands of people at multiple shows (and once even when I was 700 miles away from home to see you perform). You continue to impress me each and every show. You truly care about your fans and that is something that you can’t fake, and that I hope every artist can appreciate and learn from. You are so much more than an amazing musician. You are truly what I pray that each and every artist I meet will aspire to be like.
I may be a hardcore fan and you might even think I’m a bit of a crazy fan. I make signs. I might even sit outside shows for hours before the show to secure a good spot… but it’s worth it to me. As long as you know that someone appreciates what you do, I don’t mind taking the title of “crazy fan” (but I prefer the term “passionate”. lol) Everyone deserves to have someone that is considered their “biggest fan”.
I want to thank you, Keith… for changing my life… for inspiring me. You have been one of the brightest spots in my life during one of the hardest times in my life. You have given me something to look forward to and be happy and excited about… You have even given my friends something to tease me about (but they support my passion for your music… and I have a 4 ft. painting in my office that a friend hand painted for me for my birthday this past year from a picture that I took of you at a show… and a section of my home office that I adoringly call my “Urban Nook” to prove it).
Cancer is never easy, but it has been reassuring knowing that I have something (your music) that I can turn to on the hard days. Thank you, Keith! You and your music have truly changed my life and that is something that is priceless. Thank you for being a part of my story that I can share with people. Most importantly, thank you for helping me find a way to SHINE.
P.S. In the 26 shows I’ve been to, I’ve never had the chance to hear “Shine” live, so IF you happen to see this in time, I wouldn’t totally hate it if you just “happen” to play it for me at CMA Fest.