|It took Kenny Chesney a lot of nights playing in rowdy honky-tonks and Mexican restaurants to become the country superstar that he is today. The multiplatinum-selling singer known for hits like “Guitars and Tiki Bars” and “The Good Stuff” has been selling out stadiums for almost 15 years with his odes to love and life on the beach. If you want to sing along with the crowd to “Come Over” or “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,” then buy your Kenny Chesney tickets today!
Everybody has to start somewhere, and Chesney was no exception. In fact, the country star didn’t pick up a guitar until he received one as a Christmas present from his family when he was still a marketing student at East Tennessee State University.
After some practice, he joined his friends in a bluegrass band and then began busking at a local Mexican eatery in Knoxville, Tennessee, before packing his bags and moving to Nashville. While in Music City, the future star played nightly at The Turf, a raucous bar where he sold his self-released demo tape to anyone. Eventually, Chesney caught a music label’s eye and released his proper debut album, In My Wildest Dreams, in 1993. The album only sold 100,000 copies, but got him recognized by an even larger label that would launch his career.
Success and marriage
It would take six more years for Chesney to hit the big time with 1999’s double platinum Everywhere We Go and its No. 1 hits “How Forever Feels” and “You Had Me From Hello.” By the next year, Chesney was one of country music’s biggest stars.
The singer followed up the success with a greatest hits album the next year before embracing the beach country vibe that fans know him for today with No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem and 2004’s When the Sun Goes Down. The easygoing island lifestyle came calling and Chesney teamed up with Jimmy Buffett, the king of Margaritaville, for “License to Chill” and a cover of Buffett’s classic “Come Monday.”
The 2000s proved to be some of the best years for the country singer as he racked up the honors at the Country Music Association Awards, winning Entertainer of the Year for 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008. His 2005 marriage to actress Renee Zellweger, for whom he wrote “You Had Me From Hello,” launched him into the mainstream, making him a household name. However, the marriage only lasted for seven months.
The decade also found him recording duets with country greats like Reba McEntire and George Strait while 2008 saw him tie Garth Brooks’ record for CMA’s Entertainer of Year.
Back to the beach
Chesney is still at the top when it comes to country stars. Since 1991, the singer has sold almost 30 million albums and his concerts have raked in $750 million since 1995. Chesney’s latest, The Big Revival, is filled with sing-along anthems and has received rave reviews from Rolling Stone and Allmusic.com.