Keith Urban's latest single, 'Without You,' is a page out of the singer's life. But the tune is a rare instance where Urban did not pen the song -- hit songwriters Dave Pahanish and Joe West are responsible for the tender and touching ballad.
"I first met my wife, Kristin, a little over three years ago," Pahanish tells Taste of Country. "I had met just about everyone in her family, except for her sister who lives in Belize with her husband and family. They run an equestrian resort in the jungle, and we went down so I could be introduced to the rest of Kristin's family and to witness the birth of her sister's child, Sierra."
"One morning, I woke up with a melody in my head and started forming it into to what would eventually be 'Without You,'" he continues. "This was an exciting time in my life as I had just met the love of my life and my career, after so long, had finally started to take off. My song 'Do You Believe Me Now' [recorded by Jimmy Wayne] was climbing the charts with a bullet. Everything that was happening in my life I was attributing to fate. Kris was from Austin, and I was living in Nashville and it seemed so unlikely that we would meet and fall in love living so far from one another, but we did."
The song's chorus rings true to Pahanish as he quickly realized after meeting Kristin that nothing would really matter if she wasn't there to share it with him.
"The traveling, the singing, it don’t mean nothing without you / The fast cars, the guitars, they are all just second to this life / This love that you and I’ve been dreaming of for so long / But I’ll be as good as gone without you," Urban sings in the song's chorus.
That evening in Belize, Pahanish got the thumbs up from the family, and little Sierra was born. "It was beautiful and wonderful," he recalls. "It was kind of a bonding experience for me and the whole family. I felt a part of [the family]."
Pahanish then wrote the song's second verse in honor of Kristin, Sierra and the rest of the family for welcoming him with open arms:
"Along comes a baby girl / And suddenly my little world / Just got a whole lot bigger, yes it did / And people that I barely knew / They love me cause I’m part of you / Man it’s tough to figure / How two souls could be miles from one another / But still you and me somehow found each other."
"I played an early rendition [of the song] for [my wife's family] on the last night, sitting round a fire," Pahanish says. "I took it back to the States and started editing it up, and we cut a working version of the tune and started playing it in the band. People always responded. It resonated with the audience. You could feel there was something kind of special about this song. I put an early version of the demo on my album as kind of an extra before it was actually finished. Emily West had a copy of my CD and gave it to Keith at a party they were at and told him this tune was his life. Keith called me personally the next morning and said he wanted to record it for his album. He put some finishing touches on it lyrically, recorded it, and now it really is climbing with a bullet."
Watch the Keith Urban 'Without You' Video