Story Behind the Song: Keith Urban (Feat. Breland and Nile Rogers), ‘Out the Cage’
Keith Urban's 11th studio album opens with a collaboration, "Out the Cage," featuring Chic guitarist Nile Rogers and country-meets-rap artist Breland. Urban and Breland penned the song together during a writing session in Nashville -- one of four they wrote together that day, in fact.
To The Boot, Urban describes Breland as a "kindred spirit": someone who doesn't pay particular attention to the confines of genres and is game to be a bit experimental in what he does. The two hit it off after Urban cold-called Breland after reading an interview with the up-and-comer.
Below, Urban shares his recollection of his first interactions with Breland, and the story behind "Out the Cage."
I knew about him last year when he put out "My Truck," and then I read an interview online with him a few months back, and I was fascinated by the interview. It was really good interview, and I felt that -- I went, "This is somebody after my own heart. This is someone that doesn't see labels and boundaries and limitations and boxes and stuff, he just creates," and that's that's that's right; that speaks to me in a big way.
So I got ahold of his phone number through some somebody -- just cold called him -- and we talked for, like, 45 minutes, that day -- just effortless on the phone, about music and growing up. He was raised by two gospel-singing parents, and we just hit it off, and I said, "Gosh, anytime you're in Nashville, Breland, it'd be great to get in the studio and see what happens if we write something."
And this is on a Wednesday afternoon, and he goes, "I'll be there Friday morning." And, sure enough, 9:30AM Friday morning, he had driven from Atlanta -- I don't know what time he left, 5AM or something -- but he was on my doorstep. And we set about writing a song, and then we wrote another one, and we wrote "Soul Food" and we wrote "Out the Cage," and we just clicked. It was fantastic ...
I know when we wrote "Out the Cage," that's a great example of a song that, I know why I'm writing it, I know the perspective I'm coming at it from in my life experience and the things I'm passionate about. [But also,] I know why he's writing it, and that's a different life experience, a different passion, it's a different thrust, and yet, it's all connected: It's all based in this feeling of confinement, whether it's oppression or confinement through all kinds of ways, really.
When we were writing the song, I said, "I really, really want this to be a song that speaks to liberation of all sorts," even if that's somebody in a dead-end job, somebody that's stuck relationship that's going nowhere and they can't get out, someone who's sort of imprisoned in their own mind. You know, that line, "In my mind's eye lies the key that'll open the door / You can't break me, there's a new day coming," is just trying to take back that power inside all of us, to keep pushing outwards and breaking out of any confinement.
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