It’s been a rollercoaster of a year for superstar Kenny Chesney.
The singer’s album, “Cosmic Hallelujah,” has earned him a big Grammy nomination for “Best Country Album,” and although the success of that album has brought him so much joy, the hurricane that destroyed his beloved island of St. John has brought so much heartache and sorrow.
Kenny stopped by “Late Night with Seth Meyers” Dec. 18 to talk about the album, the storm, and how taking the lead and risks have paid off big time.
As we’ve previously reported, he’s helping spearhead the efforts to rebuild his beloved U.S. Virgin Island of St. John, where he lost his own home to Hurricane Irma last fall. It turns out, he lost a pet in the aftermath of the storm as well.
“I started a foundation called Love for Love City,” Kenny told Seth, explaining that “Love City” is a nickname for the island. “That place has really fed me over the years as an individual, and as a human.”
Kenny said it’s also fed his creative side and been such an important part of his adult life. And while he wasn’t there during the storm, he allowed his home to be used as a shelter for his island family as they rode out the storm.
“I had 17 people inside my house going through the storm, and that was the most anxiety I’ve ever felt in my life,” he said.
After the storm, Kenny said he knew he was going to have to help the island, its people and even its animals.
Kenny’s island dog, Cookie, was rescued after the storm and brought back to the singer’s Tennessee home, but sadly passed away in the arms of Kenny’s assistant after arriving in the States. That’s when Kenny turned his attention to animal rescue and welfare efforts in the islands, too.
“They were as displaced as anyone else,” he said of the local animals.
When speaking about the success of “Cosmic Hallelujah,” Kenny admitted that when it came to this record, he wanted to think outside the box more than he had in the past.
“I think we just did a lot of things left of center than how we usually release a record,” Kenny told Seth. “I had a single and we changed it. I had an album title and we changed it. ‘Cosmic Hallelujah’ wasn’t even the album title.”
“What was it before?” Seth asked him.
“I can’t even remember,” Kenny revealed with a laugh.
“That means you made the right choice,” Seth chuckled.
Kenny made a video for the song “Rich and Miserable” when it wasn’t even a single, and asked his actor pal John McGinley to star in it.
“I think it was things like that that really allowed us to dig a little deeper than you normally do on a record,” Kenny said of veering off the traditional marketing path. “It was chaos from the beginning and I felt like, somehow, it’s worked out in the end.”
Oh, it did! And the fans absolutely loved it.
Seth asked Kenny if the rumor was true, that he visits the top of each stadium he plays in before the show to see the stage from the audience’s perspective.
Kenny said it’s absolutely true!
“I want to emotionally, visually and mentally measure how far I have to go when I’m onstage to reach the people in the very top of that football stadium,” he told the late night host. “And unless I go up there, and sit and absorb it all, I don’t really know.”
“I tell you, Seth, the connection we have out there onstage is the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever felt in my life,” he added.
That’s why his No Shoes Nation is the most loyal fan base in country music.
Kenny’s reputation for putting others above himself is just one of the reasons why he’s one of the most stellar humans on the planet. We wish him all the best at the Grammys in February.