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Keith Urban Duets With Kentucky 8-year-old

Eight-year-old Matthew Pinkham can stand on his own two feet, all right, even in front of an arena crowd. The young Kentuckian attracted media attention after appearing onstage with Keith Urban in Louisville’s Freedom Hall, but there’s more to the story.

“When Matthew was 4,” explains his mom, Becky, “he was diagnosed with a rare bone disease called Perthes. His doctors [told him] no sports, no running, no walking or playing.” But Matthew clearly had a normal boy’s energy level. “I would catch him bouncing on my furniture playing ‘air guitar’ to Dierks Bentley and Keith Urban,” Becky says.

The two struck a deal: Matthew would get a guitar, providing he’d sit still and practice it. Matthew, who watched plenty of music videos, had already absorbed the elements of showmanship. “He had the facial expressions down and the body language mastered,” remembers his mom. Matthew proved almost as quick a study when it came to playing an actual guitar, once they found one small enough for his diminutive frame and tiny hands. “At this time, Matthew’s legs didn’t even dangle off of the chair at lessons—they just shot straight out in front of him,” Becky recalls. “He’s reaching the floor now, I believe.”

The 8-year-old, who now enjoys full mobility, had recently been learning to play along to the songs on Keith Urban’s Defying Gravity CD—and decided he’d like to play Keith’s recent Top 5 hit, “Kiss a Girl,” onstage with the Aussie superstar. So, before leaving for the concert at Freedom Hall, Matthew’s mom made a poster that read i want to play “kiss a girl” w/u. Matthew, meanwhile, carried along his boy-sized guitar and his giant-sized wish.

“A nice gentleman kept holding Matthew up and I believe Keith saw his sign a few times,” Becky says. “Then, all of a sudden, ‘Kiss a Girl’ began. I kept telling him it was too late.”

Then, about a minute into the number, she says, “Keith started motioning for Matthew to come up. I’m sure Keith was initially thinking, ‘Sure, kiddo, bring your little toy guitar up here and stand beside me . . .’ But Matthew walked up and started picking his six-string like he had been performing in front of thousands of people for years.”

Matthew’s quiet confidence onstage shocked his mom (and seemed to impress Keith as well). “Matthew was 100% at ease. He said he wasn’t a bit nervous.”

Watch Keith and Matthew Onstage