Tons of musicians are born into the industry or get hooked up because their parents know someone big when they’re young and they happen to get their foot in the door with mega-producers before they even hit the age of 18. But in Kenny Chesney’s case, he took matters into his own hands to create the life that he wanted for himself, he didn’t wait around for someone to give it to him. When he was just 21 years old, he recorded his very first album with a guitar that he’d been given for Christmas in college.
He wound up selling nearly 1,000 copies of the album and used the proceeds to buy himself another, newer, nicer guitar. That guitar was basically Chesney’s baby, and music, his one true love. He used that guitar and followed his heart straight to the top.
As we’ve said previously in this article, Kenny Chesney by no means had anything handed to him. He had to work his butt off to make it to the superstar status he holds today. But it wasn’t like his childhood was too rough. In fact, it was pretty adorable and exactly what you’d imagine when you think of a Southern upbringing. The star was raised in a small town east of Knoxville Tennessee, in a tight-knit family that included his mom and dad and his sister, Jennifer.
He talks about how close his parents were and how things were for him growing up in his song, “Where I Grew Up,” a song that he exclaims is the kind that you “hope to get at least 3 times in your entire career.” Even after he graduated high school, he stayed within his home state and moved a few hours away to Nashville – home of the country music stars.
One thing Kenny Chesney never lacked was the drive to accomplish great things. This drive started when he was young and knew that music was what he wanted to do. He started to make things happen for himself in high school by working hard in his academic commitments. Then, he brought that drive with him to college when he enrolled at East Tennessee State. He linked up with a band and played covers in different venues around campus, really making a name for himself in the local college community.
He also joined up with the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and the ETSU Bluegrass Program. All the while, he pursued his 4-year degree in advertising, which would really come in handy for him later on down the road. He was so grateful to his alma mater that once he’d made his fortune, he started up a foundation to help them raise the money for a new arena.
He’s Made a Ton of Albums
Chesney graduated from East Tennessee State in 1990 with his degree in advertising. Afterward, he headed out to Nashville to really get his foot in the door in the music and entertainment industry. When he was playing a set in one of the blues clubs, he was scouted by the head writer of relations from BMI and invited to record his first major record. In 1994, Chesney’s In My Wildest Dreams album debuted. About 20 years later, and he has now put out 20 major albums, 14 of which have made it to gold status.
In addition to his albums, he’s also made top 10 on the Billboard with 40 of his singles. 29 of those singles even made it all the way to number 1! In 2018, he ended his recent Sony Music contract and signed with Warner Brothers. Later that year, he put out his most recent album, Songs for the Saints. The king of country has sold more than 30 million albums internationally since the start of his career.
…And He’s Won a Lot of Awards
Kenny Chesney does not just make music; he makes good music. He makes the kind of music that brings tears to your eyes and has you feeling pretty much all of the feels. And these tear-jerkers have not only brought joy to millions of people for decades, but they’ve also won him an insane number of awards. The country superstar brought home the ACM award for Entertainer of the Year 5 times, including 3 years in a row from 2006-2008. He also won the same title at the Country Music Awards 4 times.
Unbelievably, the singer has yet to win his first Grammy, but he has been nominated a whopping 6 times, including in 2010 for Best Country Collaboration on “Down the Road.” In 2018, Chesney missed out on the CMA Awards due to a death in the family but was still nominated for Entertainer of the Year again, and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon!