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Country singer Dierks Bentley: ‘My mates Nicole and Keith are normal people’

Country singer Dierks Bentley: 'My mates Nicole and Keith are normal people'

He’s a heart-throb of the country music world with nine Grammy nominations and celebrity buddies like Taylor Swift and Keith Urban. But superstar Dierks Bentley says his greatest joy comes from his wife of seven years, Cassidy Black, and their two daughters, Evie, 3, and Jordan, 1.

While touring Australia with local music legend Lee Kernaghan, Dierks, 36, spoke to Sebastian van der Zwan backstage at CMC Rocks The Hunter.

This is your second time in Australia. How are you enjoying it?

I don’t know where to start! Physically, it’s a really beautiful country. I love the coast. The Gold Coast is amazing. I stayed at Lady Elliot Island and went scuba diving, which was incredible. Then there’s Melbourne, which has such a great vibe. The people are just really laid-back. I love the “good on ya, mate” attitude. I’ve discovered this great spirit of positivity and pride in being Australian. The first time I came here, I knew I wanted to come back straight away, but I had a family right after that. This time, I brought them down with me. It’s the trip of a lifetime.

What have you been up to as a family?

We’ve got our pictures taken with kangaroos and had lots of beach time. The kids have been to see Annie, the musical, and I took them to a Taylor Swift concert. We went backstage and she was like, ‘What are you doing here? It’s a crazy world!”

You’re friends with Taylor Swift?

Yeah, I know her as well as you can and I’m just really proud of her. It’s so great to see the impact she’s having on young girls’ lives, inspiring them to make good choices, believe in themselves and live out their dreams. She’s a really good role model and I hope she’s still around when my daughters are old enough.

You’re also friends with Keith Urban, right?

Yeah, Keith is a buddy. He lives down the street from me. I go to his place and we talk about kids. We watch them swim in the pool while we talk about guitars and how amazing it is to have a couple of girls.

What would surprise people about him and Nicole Kidman?

They’re great, down-home people. They just cruise about like any normal family. Keith’s super-devoted to his wife and kids – crazy about them. And he really loves music. I’ve seen some commercials for The Voice down here, which looks really neat.

You got a university degree before becoming a full-time musician. What did you study?

English. When I moved to Nashville, I had some work to do on my skills and I figured it would be the best thing for my song-writing. My English has actually gotten worse, but I’ve become better and better as a musician. I’m really lucky to make it because there are a lot of talented people in Nashville and everybody’s trying to make it big there.

You’re often described as a bit of a heart-throb. How important is image to you?

Not at all. I’m terrible at it and I get bored with it. I don’t put too much time into the image stuff. I mean, I’ll do anything to get people to my shows and buy my records, but I don’t spend a lot of time looking at myself in the mirror. When I’m off stage, I’m just a dad.

How has fatherhood changed you?

It’s made me even more focused on my music. I don’t want to mess around anymore. When I’m away from my girls, I want to make the time count and put 100% into everything. When I’m away from my family, I really miss them, so I want to make the time count. It makes you dig a little deeper as an entertainer.

Are there any signs the girls are following in your musical footsteps?

My eldest daughter is a big fan of musicals and on my last record, she sings a couple of lines of a song with me. She might be a singer one day. We’ll see. I would definitely encourage it. I’d encourage her to do anything she wants to do. It’s all about following your dreams and chasing your bliss.

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