Ask any Kenny Chesney fan what makes him their favorite artist and they are likely to tell you their appreciation goes beyond the music he makes and has more to do with the “No Shoes Nation” culture he creates and the way he welcomes them into his world. A Kenny show is more than a concert, it’s an event, and fans flock to the sold-out gatherings to forget their work and worries and be transported to a place where the music carries them down a dirt road or away on a Caribbean breeze. No shoes, no shirt, no problems, indeed.
Over the past 25 years, the pride and joy East Tennessee has developed a bond with his fans that has made him one of the most successful acts in country music. Born in Knoxville and raised in nearby Luttrell, Kenny played baseball and football in high school, and though he’s always loved sports, it was a guitar he got for Christmas that forever changed his world. He studied advertising at East Tennessee State University and began performing at local bars around Johnson City, Tennessee. He recorded an independent record to sell at his shows and began dreaming of making music his career. After graduating from college, he moved to Nashville and landed a music publishing contract. In 1994, he recorded his first album, “In My Wildest Dreams,” for Capricorn Records, and took his first two singles to country radio.
When Capricorn shuttered its country division, Kenny moved on and signed a deal with BNA Records, which issued his second album, “All I Need to Know,” in 1995. The title track and the song “Fall in Love” became his first top 10 hits. With the release of Kenny’s second BNA album, 1996’s “Me and You,” his career really began gaining traction. The album was certified gold, signifying sales of more than 500,000 copies, and Kenny was honored with the Academy of Country Music’s top new male vocalist award in 1997. That same year, he released his third BNA album, “I Will Stand,” and scored his first No. 1 single with “She’s Got it All,” which spent three weeks at the top of the chart.
Since then, Kenny has been one of country radio’s most consistent hit-makers. His parade of smashes includes such sunny, Caribbean-flavored hits as “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” and “When the Sun Goes Down” alongside such poignant songs as “There Goes My Life” and “The Good Stuff,” which spent seven weeks at No. 1, became “Billboard’s” No. 1 country song of the year for 2002 and was named single of the year by the ACM in 2003.
Over the last two and a half decades, Kenny has dominated country radio with such memorable hits as “Living in Fast Forward,” “Summertime,” “Beer in Mexico,” “Never Wanted Nothing More,” “Don’t Blink,” “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven,” “Out Last Night,” “Come Over,” “American Kids” and many more that have crowds singing along at his shows. He also loves to collaborate and has recorded hits with such diverse duet partners as Pink, Grace Potter and Uncle Kracker.
Along the way, Kenny has won numerous awards, including four entertainer of the year trophies from both the ACM and CMA. After more than two decades with the same label, Kenny started off 2018 with big news, announcing that he had signed a deal with Warner Music Nashville and was working on new music.
After a Hurricane Irma decimated his beloved island of St. John in September of 2017, Kenny (who lost his own home in the storm) became a hero to the people of the Virgin Islands by energetically spearheading relief efforts, using his own plane to fly in medical supplies, food, water and pet food. He also established a charity, the Love For Love City Foundation, to help friends, neighbors and strangers who lost everything.