The Fighter

Album: Ripcord (2016)
Charted: 38
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  • This disco-influenced, jazzy country love song finds Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood portraying two lovers having a conversation. The Australian country star thought of the American Idol songstress as soon as he wrote the tune with busbee.
  • The duet was recorded by the two singers in separate studios as Urban was shooting the video for "Wasted Time" on the only day that Underwood was free. "She said, 'I have a day off in St. Louis, it's the only day off between now and when you need to finish your record'," Urban told Taste of Country Nights radio host Sam Alex, recalling his conversation with Underwood.

    "Busbee flew to St. Louis, got a studio and was in there with Carrie," he added. "And then I would take a break from filming and Facetime then and check in with them."
  • Keith Urban told The Boot that the song is as much about showcasing Underwood's talents as it is about illustrating his own. "I love her voice. She's really, really talented, and she's just really starting to discover what she can do as a singer, so I was really happy she wanted to sing on this song," he said of his duet partner. "It's pretty simple, too … It's not a traditional duet, where there's a lot for the girl to sing, but it's an important role in the song."

    "It was written with that idea of a simple conversation, simplistic conversation, a very simple question-and-answer scenario in the chorus," Urban added, "which really appealed to me."
  • Urban said he wanted to write a song that wasn't a traditional duet, but more of a call-response type of song.

    "I was writing with busbee, and we had written a song called 'Your Body,' which is on the album, and the next day I was coming back to finish up the song with him. And just out of the blue that morning I thought I really would love to write a duet that isn't the traditional guy and girl singing together, but the girl maybe asking a question and the guy answering her. The early part of relationships sometimes have that need for reassurance, and that's certainly been my experience. And so, the idea for 'The Fighter,' came up with the girl is asking 'What if I fall?' And the guy says, 'I won't let you fall,' and she says, 'If I cry?' And he says, 'I won't make you cry.' And then she says, 'If I get scared,' then he says, 'I'll hold you tighter and when the world's trying to get to you, I'll be your fighter.'

    So, we wrote the song and busbee sort of sang the girl part in his girly voice, and then we set about thinking about who would be the right voice for this and Carrie - I love, love her voice and always have. And so I sent her the song and fortunately she loved it, and it's on the record."
  • Urban explained the track's meaning: "It comes from a very real place," he said. "It's a song about helping to heal and protect someone you love. It's a song about reassurance that you'll always be there to take the blows the world can throw."
  • Urban and Carrie Underwood performed this song at the Grammy Awards in 2017.
  • The song's music video was the fourth directed by John Urbano for Keith Urban following "Cop Car," "Somewhere In My Car" and "Wasted Time." The clip shows Urban and Underwood performing the song as a girl in a grey hoodie busts some dance moves.

    "The original inspiration for the video came from an old photograph of the Mohammad Ali, Joe Frazier fight from the early '70s," explained Urbano. "[The photo] inspired the idea of light. So we're hinting at a fight through lighting. I also had this idea to tell this story through dance interpretation."
  • This was the fastest song that Keith Urban wrote in a long time. He recalled to The Boot:

    "I was working with busbee that day; we were in London. I was actually driving to the studio to work on this other song we started, and I had most of it the chorus in my head, and it felt like I had most of the song in my head - the verses just had to flesh out. I walked into the studio and played the chord progression, and he built this track really quickly, and then I could sing over the top of it.

    I think we put down the chorus pretty much straight away, with busbee filling in where the girl would sing. I still have a copy of him - [mimics Underwood's part] - and so, that's what I had as a placeholder for a long time, until I beautifully heard Carrie's voice on it finally one day.

    It was just a very quick, quick song to write, because I literally thought about Nic and I and our relationship in the beginning, and some of the things we had said all went into that song."
  • Keith Urban was inspired to write the song after listening to Charlie Puth's duet with Meghan Trainor, "Marvin Gaye," and being intrigued by the male/female combination. "I thought I'd love to write a duet that is more of the girl asking something and the guy answering," he told Billboard magazine. "I like that back and forward, a little bit like 'Baby It's Cold Outside' or 'Paradise by the Dashboard Light' - really more of a conversation."
  • A second "dancers version" video was released, which was also directed by John Urbano. It features performances from Lyle Beniga and Lindsay Richardson, the latter of whom can be seen dancing in the official music clip for the duet.

    "John said, 'I know this girl who dances, sort of street dancing," said Urban. "I don't even know what it is,' but it was so good and John said 'listen to the song and watch her dance at the same time' and they just went together so incredibly well that we decided to put out a full "dancer's version."
  • The song was inspired by at least in part by Urban's wife, Nicole Kidman. "I literally just thought about Nic and I, and our relationship at the beginning and some of the things that we had said," the singer remembered, "and it all went into that song."
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