"SHINE was the biggest place I had ever performed. Then all of a sudden I was put on American Idol, the biggest show on television, performing in front of millions of people."
During Season 9 of American Idol, Tim Urban emerged on the national music scene with a blend of smooth vocals, all-American charm and a big smile. His talent, determination and upbeat attitude won the hearts of fans all over the world and earned him the number seven slot in the competition. While in the process of auditioning for American Idol, Tim attended SHINE the year before Idol. He continues to write new music and perform concerts around the country.
What have you been up to recently?
Well, I have actually taken a bit of a sabbatical from performing too much because of my family.
How has being a father and husband changed your perspective on your music?
I’ve always had a very specific view on music and performing. Especially when it comes to music and songwriting, the type of songs that I wanted to write and the message that I wanted to share. I wanted my songs to be about the love stories that have resonated with me. Stories about people who have been together for years, married for decades and have chosen to stick it out. Just about what real love looks like, specifically through a Biblical worldview. Being married and now having a child, it’s really cemented in my mind the reality of what love looks like…what real love looks like. How often, this real love is vastly different than what people are shown in movies, television shows and songs.
You were #7 on American Idol Season 9. What was that like?
That entire experience was a blur! It was such an eye-opening shock to the system. I had no idea what I was doing. Before American Idol, I had only played at some small, local gigs in Dallas. I went to SHINE right after my first audition with American Idol, so it was right before I went to the show. SHINE was the biggest place I had ever performed. Then all of a sudden I was put on American Idol, the biggest show on television, performing in front of millions of people. Honestly, I just went with it and let it happen.
What challenges did you have to overcome?
There were a lot of challenges, especially because I am someone who believes in God and have a set a moral standards that go along with my faith. I think one of the hardest things about being on the show was isolation. I know that sounds strange, because it was the biggest show in the world, and millions of people suddenly knew my name, but most of my friends from back home didn’t communicate with me at all while I was on the show. I guess they weren’t sure how and weren’t sure about what to say, so they just didn’t. My family was incredibly supportive, but having not gone through it, it was hard for them to relate. So all of a sudden I found myself isolated. I wasn’t surrounded by Christians on the show, a lot of good people and great friends, but not people who shared my beliefs or who could encourage me in them.
How did you develop the passion for Christ and for music in the first place?
I was born the sixth child out of ten. My parents are incredibly strong Christians and decided to homeschool all of us. I grew up in a very interesting home… by interesting I mean it was crazy and loud. 12 of us lived in a house with four bedrooms and one-and-a-half bathrooms. Because we were home-schooled, we were there all day, basically. It was crazy but fun. I was raised around Godly influences and the Bible throughout my childhood. From a very young age I knew the truth of Christ and I prayed to accept Christ at five or six.
While I knew who Christ was, and believed in Him, I was never really challenged in my faith. I didn’t have to develop a relationship on my own until I was a teenager. When I was 17, I went on a mission trip to Europe with 43 strangers. All of a sudden, I had to start figuring things out for myself. This trip was also when I started performing for people outside of my family. I brought my guitar and led worship with some other guys on the trip. After that, I realized I wanted to pursue music. It is interesting that my music and my passion to pursue music went along with the development of my relationship with Christ, and my realization of who I was.
When and how did SHINE come into your life? How did you get involved in entertainment?
I was introduced to SHINE right about the time I auditioned for American Idol. I was 19 or 20 at the time. I had heard about it and wanted to check it out. I had been playing music around Dallas, and all of a sudden I had an opportunity with SHINE. While I was participating at SHINE in Orlando, I made it through on the first round of American Idol. I did well at SHINE and I learned so much. It was really a massive confidence boost. Prior to SHINE and American Idol, I hadn’t really done anything that had given me confidence in pursuing music as a career. Then after those two events, I was faced with so many options. I was really thankful for SHINE's impact when I got on American Idol because…(laughs)…you have a lot of critics on that show.
How else did SHINE help you in your career?
AMTC also helped open my eyes to the unpredictability of the entertainment industry. I met a lot of people, and you kind of just jump in and see what happens. You can’t predict it, can’t say for sure what will happen. You have to know yourself and know what you believe, then whatever happens, you have to approach it through that lens. Through the lens of what you believe and what you want to do. I needed that on American Idol. So many opportunities open up and if you don’t have a clear and definite knowledge of what you believe, you can find yourself is some tough places.
Tell us about being married and having a family while also being in the industry?
Kate and I got married in September of last year. Our baby was born 12 minutes before our one-year anniversary. For me, I have realized what’s important to me and what matters most to me is not entertainment. If entertainment is the most important thing to you, then you are going to make choices and decisions that you probably shouldn’t. You are going to be willing to do things for the sake of your career, and that is a dangerous place to be.
I have decided that Christ, my wife and my daughter are the most important things to me. So if my music career, acting or anything else conflicts with my family or with what I believe, then the answer is no. I don’t give myself an option to justify things because I’m "trying to be a performer and just have to sacrifice things." I’m not perfect at this, by any means, but that is how I look at it. It gives Kate confidence to know that no matter what I’m doing, she, my baby and my relationship with Christ are the most important things to me.
Anything we should be looking out for in the future?
Well, I just started reconnecting with some different people in Los Angeles. Just restarting relationships with people I have met throughout the years. I’m really working to get some original music in front of recording labels. I am working with booking agents to set up some concerts… just getting back into the swing of things. I’m not really sure when everything will come into play, because you never know with this business.
I really enjoy getting to share with performers my experiences. If it helps them while they are breaking into the industry, that’s what I want and that’s awesome.