Keith Urban recalled meeting fellow country singer Dolly Parton for the first time during a May appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, calling the experience “surreal” because he “grew up singing her songs.”
Urban shared these comments with DeGeneres after she mentioned Parton said she’d love to sing a duet with him.
“This is the coolest thing. Dolly Parton said, uh, I think someone asked if she were to do a duet with somebody, who would it be, and she said you,” DeGeneres told Urban, referencing an appearance on Good Morning America in which Parton praised the “Wild Hearts” singer.
“Very cool,” DeGeneres later remarked.
“She’s so sweet,” Urban agreed.
“She said you reminded her of her brothers, I don’t know what that means,” DeGeneres continued.
“It was so sweet,” Urban reiterated. “I think she just meant…I come from working-class parents and a rural kind of background in Australia, um, and I think…the first time I met Dolly, she sung with me a few times, but the first time I met her, uh, it was surreal because I mean, I grew up singing her songs,” he explained.
“[As a] matter of fact, I sang her songs because I was nine years old and my voice hadn’t broken yet and I sounded like her,” he said, adding, “I could sing in her key.”
“Can you do that now?” DeGeneres asked amid laughter from the studio audience.
“No,” Urban admitted.
Parton appeared on GMA back in January of this year and was asked who both her dream duet and dessert partner would be while promoting her Duncan Hines cake mix line. Parton was quick to name Urban.
“I love Keith Urban,” Parton said on GMA. “I’ve always thought that he was one of the most talented and cutest guys in the world — I’m not trying to hit on him, cause he’s got Nicole [Kidman], and who could beat that; she’s Jolene. I love his writing and I just think he’s dear. I’d be happy to make a big ol’ cake for him and spend all afternoon singing songs,” she added.
Urban covered “AppleJack,” Parton’s song with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt as a child in 1978 at QTQ 9 Studios in Brisbane.