By EW Staff
August 01, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

HOMETOWN Caboolture, Australia

AGE 34

RECENT RELEASES ”Keith Urban” (album, 1999); ”Somebody Like You” (single, 2002)

WHY HIM New Zealand-born and Brisbane-raised, Urban is a critically acclaimed guitarist who has been featured on albums by Garth Brooks, the Dixie Chicks, and Steve Wariner. His self-titled debut produced the 2001 Grammy-nominated instrumental ”Rollercoaster” and three Billboard country Top 10 hits, including the No. 1 single ”But for the Grace of God.”

WHAT’S HOT With his soul patch, thrice-pierced ears, and endless supply of open shirts and painted-on jeans, this guy makes Enrique Iglesias look conservative.

WHAT’S NOT That sketchy 2001 Playgirl spread in which he posed wearing little more than a guitar and a smile

WHAT’S NEXT Urban will continue to tour small venues throughout the U.S. until October, when his sophomore album is set to hit stores. The first single, ”Somebody Like You,” is already in the Billboard country Top 40, only a month after its June 14 release.