Aug/Sept ’12–On The Cover: Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney has sold over 30 million albums, nearly 20 million digital transactions and over one million concert tickets every year for eight consecutive years. He’s had 24 No. 1 singles, 10 No. 2 singles and 39 Top 10 singles. His latest single, “Come Over,” was certified Gold in just over 9 weeks, making it the fastest Gold single certification in Chesney’s career. Chesney has won many recent honors including CMT Awards Artist of the Year (2011), CMA Awards Music Video of the Year “You and Tequila” with Grace Potter (2011), and other awards over the years including CMA Entertainer of the Year, ACM Entertainer of the Year, People’s Choice Awards Favorite Male Singer, American Music Awards Artist of the Year and more.

Chesney’s 13th studio album, Welcome to the Fishbowl, delivers great songs penned by Chesney himself and a diverse mix of top-shelf songwriters. Chesney, who produced the album with longtime collaborator Buddy Cannon, says that in making the album he felt “solid in his skin” in his roles as songwriter, producer and interpreter of songs. “I’d been through a lot emotionally since Hemingway’s Whiskey came out, and I think that’s reflected in this record,” he says. “My main goal when I went into the studio was to be honest with my fans and myself as a songwriter and a creative person. I do feel like, now more than ever, that I’m comfortable at being authentic, wherever that leads me. That’s why I’m proud of this record, because every song on it has been an evolution.”

Chesney says striking a balance between taking his fans in new directions and giving them what they want is a conscious choice that he specifically strived for on the previous album. “When you’ve been as blessed as I’ve been with all the songs I’ve had on the radio, it would be really easy to internally get complacent,” Chesney admits. “Any artist could be tempted to say, ‘this is what’s always worked, so this is what I’m gonna do.’ But, especially before I went in to cut Hemingway’s Whiskey, I realized that I just can’t keep re-releasing ‘Beer in Mexico’ every time. That song has its place, I love it and I’m proud I wrote it. But I really felt like it was time for me as an artist to find songs and write songs where the melodies were different and what it was saying was different. To be able to push myself as an artist, and more importantly push my audience but not alienate them, that’s a fine line to walk. And I think we did that with [Whiskey’s] ‘Somewhere with You’ and ‘You and Tequila,’ and I think there are several moments on this record that will do that, too.”

Chesney welcomes both veteran fans and newbies. “I’m excited about the people that have been on this train with me a long time, listened to my music, dreamed this dream with me and saw everything that has happened,” he says. “I’m excited for them to hear this music and the evolution of where it’s at, and where I’m going. And I’m also excited for those people that are at their first show, that never bought one of my records, that don’t know anything about me at all. If Welcome to the Fishbowl is their first Kenny Chesney record, I’m really glad that this is their first one. I’m that proud of it.”

Artist Name: Kenny Chesney
Hometown: Luttrell, TN
Birthday: March 26
Label: Blue Chair Records/Columbia Nashville
Current Album: Welcome To The Fishbowl
Current Single/Video: “Come Over”
Current Producer: Buddy Cannon & Kenny Chesney
Management: Morris Artists Management, Clint Higham
Booking: Dale Morris & Associates, Mike Betterton
Recent Hits: “The Boys of Fall,” “Somewhere With You,” “You & Tequila”
Awards: 4 time CMA and ACM Entertainer of the Year
RIAA Certs to date: More than 30 million albums sold. More than 20 million digital transactions.
Interesting Facts: Produced two sports documentaries for ESPN, Boys of Fall and Color Orange: The Condredge Holloway Story.

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