Kenny Chesney: Snapshot

Name
Kenny Chesney
Date of Birth
March 26, 1968
Birth Place
Luttrell, Tenn.
Kenny Chesney has made himself such a summer staple that his fans plan vacations around his sold-out summer tours. But it wasn't long ago that Chesney was playing for tips at night while parking cars by day.

When his first record deal failed in 1994, Chesney persevered and landed a contract with Sony BMG Nashville's BNA label – a partnership that would sell more than 21 million albums in the U.S. alone. But it was the country music superstar's personal life that made headlines when his wife of four months, actress Renée Zellweger, filed for an annulment, citing "fraud." Post-Zellweger, Chesney returned to the familiar life of touring as country music's biggest draw, and plans to release a new album in September 2014.

Kenny Chesney: Five Fun Facts

  1. In his early touring days, Kenny Chesney slept on a couch on a tour bus he called the Iron Lung. "That's how we rolled," he told Billboard in 2007. "I thought when I was making $3,500 a show, that that was a lot of money, and for a guy who had never made a dime, it was."
  2. Kenny Chesney dealt with the painful collapse of his four-month marriage to Renée Zellweger by working out. "I've had to put a new belt on my treadmill," he told PEOPLE.
  3. Faith Hill and Tim McGraw gave Kenny Chesney a Brunswick pool table as a housewarming gift.
  4. Even the laid-back Kenny Chesney has his pet peeves. "What I really hate is when girls with long nails just grab my hand and squeeze hard," he told PEOPLE. "They don't realize they're digging in."
  5. After he recorded Bruce Springsteen's "One Step Up," Kenny Chesney sent the Boss a copy of the recording. "He wrote me this really sweet, wonderful letter, telling me how much he loved what I did with his work," Chesney told the Chicago Tribune. "And that was one of the highlights of my career."

Kenny Chesney: Biography

late 1970s

Kenny Chesney

Kenny's Dreams Fall Short

As a kid, Tennessee native Kenny Chesney has dreams of becoming a star athlete. But by the time he reaches Gibbs High School, those dreams fall short when he stops growing at 5'8". During his freshman year in college, his hairdresser mom Karen buys him a guitar for Christmas. "I remember making up songs in my head," Chesney tells PEOPLE in 2002. "Just stupid stuff." In three months, he figures out the chords to the Eagles' "Tequila Sunrise" and has a new passion for music.

1987

Kenny Chesney

Chesney Plays for Supper

In between marketing classes at East Tennessee State University, Chesney begins performing in small clubs near campus. "I got $5 an hour plus as many enchiladas as I wanted," he tells PEOPLE. Simultaneously, the budding musician makes a homemade album that sells 1,000 copies. He uses the money to buy a new guitar. After graduation, he moves to Nashville, where he signs with Acuff-Rose as a songwriter.

1993

Kenny Chesney

From Capricorn to BNA

Chesney appears at a Nashville songwriters' showcase and gets a record deal with Capricorn Records. His debut album In My Wildest Dreams fails on radio, and Capricorn disbands its country division. However, he nabs a new deal with Sony BMG Nashville's BNA, which releases 1995's All I Need To Know (left) and delivers two Top 10 country hits.

Read More on Kenny Chesney's Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: Courtesy BNA Records

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Courtesy Kenny Chesney; Jim Smeal/WireImage; amazon.com

Edited by Julia Wang

Kenny Chesney

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