Keith’s origins are based in China Grove, North Carolina where he was raised by his mother and grandparents who gave him the solid foundation for life. His mother exposed Keith to a wide variety of music growing up. Her love for Motown developed the soul you will find in Keith’s music today. Keith feels that Otis Redding is the greatest singer who ever lived stating that, “Otis sang with passion and pain.” Dee, Keith’s mom, gave him a large taste of country music as well.
Keith’s grandparents influenced his life with their strong faith during his weekend visits. Sunday’s obviously, without exception, included church services. He looked to his grandfather for the male influence in his life. That influence led Keith to develop a faith in God. “God became my refuge, a safe place I learned to run to in times of crisis” states Keith who called church his home away from home. It was at church that Keith learned of his passion for music, writing his first song at 13.
He was a natural athlete and was being prepared for a college career in baseball, but knee surgeries turned him back to the church and music. After spending years on the road involved in gospel music, Keith landed a major recording contract in the mid 1990’s charting two top 5 singles from his “Talk About It” project with the Benson Music Group.
Mark Harris, from the Dove award winning group, 4Him, became a close friend. The pair produced several number one songs. Keith received a Dove award nomination for his song, “The Hand Of God” in 2000. That is when Acuff/Rose Music Publishing in Nashville came calling. The deal had Keith in the company of songwriters, Dean Dillon, Skip Ewing, and Kenny Chesney. Keith recalls, “I was so fortunate to have had a chance to be a part of the same family as these amazing writers. I fell in love with the honesty of writing while I was around the country guys. I did my best to study the craft of songwriting, and watch and learn as much as I could from my days at Acuff/Rose.”
Keith’s latest cd project, “China Grove” brings talented input from his friends Michael Omartian, Chris Rodriguez, Mike and Mark Childers. Michael Omartian is known for work with Michael Bolton, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, and Steely Dan. Chris Rodriguez may be most known for working with Keith Urban and Kenny Loggins, while Mark Childers is working for Carrie Underwood and Chely Wright. Mike Childers credits include, Little Big Town and Shelly Fairchild. In addition to these, Grammy Award winning engineer, John Jazczs(Yosh) contributes as well. “This project is really a collection of all the styles that influenced me; I call it a collision. I feel like we have some great songs with great players; I couldn’t really ask for more.” Keith says of this latest effort.
No greater acknowledgement of the quality of “China Grove” can be made than by that of Grammy Award winning producer and songwriter, Michael Omartian. Michael stated, “I have been involved with Keith Dudley’s new project for quite some time. At this point in the process, I am convinced that there is a very cohesive, musical and very commercial album being birthed. I have had the opportunity to be involved with many big selling records. I say that not to bring attention to me, but to say that I have been taught that there are definite criteria that make up a hit record, and I can say with confidence that Keith has that in abundance on this project. The songs are wonderful and soulful, and his voice is amazing. I will help Keith find the right home for this record and will make every effort to see that all options are exhausted to insure that he gets what I feel he deserves.”