Who Is Kenny Chesney?
Born on March 26, 1968, in Knoxville, Tennessee, country music singer and songwriter Kenny Chesney enjoyed his first taste of fame with his sophomore album, All I Need to Know, in 1996. Follow-up albums like Everywhere We Go, No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems and When the Sun Goes Down cemented his place as a top-selling act, with the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association both honoring him as Entertainer of the Year multiple times.
Early Life and Career
Country singer Kenny Chesney was born on March 26, 1968, in Knoxville, Tennessee. While attending East Tennessee State, Chesney hooked up with a college band and started writing his own songs and playing at local bars. The hard-working musician eventually recorded an album to sell at his shows. After graduating with a degree in marketing in 1991, he headed to Nashville to pursue a career in music.
Albums and Hit Songs
'All I Need to Know,' 'Me and You,' 'I Will Stand,' 'Everywhere We Go'
After modest sales on recordings he completed with Opryland Music Group and Capricorn Records, Chesney caught the attention of RCA's affiliate, BNA Records. It was while with BNA that the singer went gold with All I Need to Know in 1995, platinum with Me and You in 1996 and I Will Stand in 1997 and double platinum with Everywhere We Go in 1999. By 2000, Chesney was a bona fide star who was adored by legions of country music fans.
'No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems,' 'When the Sun Goes Down'
In 2001, Chesney released his first Greatest Hits album, followed by 2002's rock-influenced No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems. Spurred by the highly popular singles "Young" and "The Good Stuff," it became one of the best-selling albums of his career. His follow-up effort, When the Sun Goes Down (2004), also reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and produced three chart-topping singles, including "There Goes My Life."
'Be As You Are,' 'The Road and the Radio'
In 2005, Chesney was honored as the Academy of Country Music's Entertainer of the Year for the first time. He released two new albums that year: Be As You Are (Songs From an Old Blue Chair) and The Road and The Radio. Both recordings were smash hits, reaching the top of the country charts with such singles as "Who You'd Be Today" and "Guitars and Tiki Bars." The following year, he released a concert album, Live: Live Those Songs Again, which topped the country charts and made an impressive showing on the pop charts as well.
'Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates'
For his next release, Chesney helped produce Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates (2007), which featured a slew of hits. The introspective "Don't Blink" topped the country charts as did "Never Wanted Nothing More" and "Better As a Memory." The recording also had two popular duets—"Every Other Weekend" with Reba McEntire and "Shiftwork" with George Strait. That same year, he won a CMA Award for Musical Event of the Year for his work on Tracy Lawrence's "Find Out Who Your Friends Are" with Tim McGraw.
Chesney went on tour during the summer of 2008 to support Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates, which was very successful. That September, Chesney was nominated for seven CMA Awards, including Entertainer of the Year as well as Male Vocalist of the Year. He also received nominations in the Musical Event of the Year category for "Every Other Weekend" and "Shiftwork."
'Lucky Old Sun,' 'Hemingway's Whiskey'
Chesney released Lucky Old Sun in 2008. One of the album's singles, "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven," became an instant No. 1 country music hit. In November of that same year, the Country Music Association presented Chesney with his fourth Entertainer of the Year award, tying him with Garth Brooks for most wins in that category. He went on to top the country charts with the album Hemingway's Whiskey (2010), which included the hit singles "The Boys of Fall," "Somewhere with You," "Live a Little" and "Reality."
'Welcome to the Fishbowl,' 'No Shoes Nation'
After Welcome to the Fishbowl (2012), which produced the successful track "Come Over," Chesney continued his pace of delivering a new album on a near-annual basis, churning out Life on a Rock (2013), The Big Revival (2014), Cosmic Hallelujah (2016) and No Shoes Nation (2017). His follow-up album, Live in No Shoes Nation, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 later in the year.
'Songs for the Saints,' 'Here and Now'
Chesney released Songs for the Saints under a new label, Warner Music Nashville, in July 2018, and teamed with Ed Sheeran to pen "Tip of My Tongue" the following year. Although his grand plans for the 2020 Chillaxification Tour were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, the artist placated fans with the arrival of a new album, Here and Now, on May 1.
Chesney married actress Renee Zellweger in May 2005, but she filed for an annulment just four months later, sparking whispers about the country star's sexuality. Both sides denied that was an issue, with Chesney later explaining that he "panicked" after realizing he wasn't ready for marriage. He has since been romantically involved with former Miss Tennessee Amy Colley and longtime girlfriend Mary Nolan.
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