Kenny Chesney performs in concert at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA on Aug. 24, 2018. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Kenny Chesney Through the Years: Look Back at His Life in Photos


American country music singer, songwriter and record producer Kenny Chesney shows no signs of slowing down as a hitmaker and high-grossing touring act. He turned 54 on Sat., March 26.

As recently as 2020, Chesney's Here and Now scored him a No. 1 album on both Billboard's Top Country Albums chart and the all-genre Billboard 200. The title track reached No. 1 on country radio that same year, as would "Half of My Hometown," a duet with Kelsea Ballerini, in 2021.

Kenny Chesney's Net Worth

Kenny Chesney performs June 13, 2002 at the 31st Annual Fan Fair in Nashville, Tennessee. The four-day event is billed as the world's largest country music festival and features concerts, fan club parties and opportunities to meet the stars.

Rusty Russell/Getty Images

The forthcoming Here and Now tour (sponsored by the country artist's Blue Chair Rum (named after the album Be as You Are (Songs from an Old Blue Chair)) shouldn't negatively impact Chesney's net worth of a projected $180 million, as the No Shoes Nation's been waiting for this one since the Songs For The Saints tour wrapped in 2019.

Read on to revisit a mainstream career that dates back to the early '90s.


Pre-Fame Life

 Singer Kenny Chesney and date, his sister Jennifer Chandler and mother Karen Chandler attend the 33rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 22, 1998 at the Universal Amphitheatre in Universal City, California.

Singer Kenny Chesney and date, his sister Jennifer Chandler and mother Karen Chandler attend the 33rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 22, 1998 at the Universal Amphitheatre in Universal City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Kenneth Arnold Chesney was born in Knoxville, Tenn. on March 26, 1968. He's the son of David Chesney, a former elementary school teacher, and Karen Chandler, a hair stylist in the Knoxville area. He has a younger sister named Jennifer Chandler.

Chesney graduated in 1986 from Gibbs High School. During those four years, he played football and baseball and received as a gift his first guitar, "The Terminator."

He attended East Tennessee State University (ETSU), where he studied advertising and took part in the school's bluegrass program.

Chesney recorded a self-released demo in 1989 in Bristol, Va. He sold all 1,000 copies while playing clubs in the area. Funds raised by the demo positioned the singer-songwriter hopeful to purchase a newer guitar.


Early Days in Nashville and His First Album

Kenny Chesney circa 1994

Beth Gwinn/Redferns

After graduating from ETSU in 1990, Chesney set his sights on Nashville. Following two years of performing at local hotspots, Chesney crossed the radar of BMI's head of writer relations, Clay Bradley, who'd suggest that Opryland Music Group's Troy Tomlinson give the future superstar a listen.

An audition with Tomlinson led to Chesney's first songwriting contract. A year later, a solid performance at a songwriter's night landed Chesney a record deal with Capricorn Records, the historic home of the Allman Brothers Band.

Country Singer Kenny Chesney performs at Starwood Amphitheater 1999 in Nashville,TN.

Beth Gwinn/Getty Images

Chesney's debut album, In My Wildest Dreams, failed to score a hit for Capricorn. However, it caught the attention of what'd become the singer's longtime label home, BNA Records.

BNA debut All I Need to Know (1995) faired much better, earning gold sales status and introducing Chesney to the Top 10 with lead singles "Fall in Love" and the title track. The next year's Me and You faired even better, becoming Chesney's first of many platinum-selling CDs behind the Top 2 success of its title track and "When I Close My Eyes."

Kenny Chesney during 31st Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at Universal Studios Amphitheater in North Hollywood, California, United States.

Photo by Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Chesney hit his creative stride on 1997's I Will Stand, which brought us his first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, "She's Got It All." An album that still holds up was merely a sign of things to come, as Chesney wasn't finished etching his '90s country legacy.

Everywhere We Go

Country Singer Kenny Chesney performs at Starwood Amphitheater 1999 in Nashville, TN.

Beth Gwinn/Getty Images

Chesney went from being a young star with some good songs and a lot of upside to a certified superstar with 1999's Everywhere We Go. Two gold singles (the tender "You Had Me From Hello" and the delightfully absurd "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy") plus Randy Travis collaboration "Baptism" anchor a truly great album.

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems

Musicians Uncle Kracker (R) and Kenny Chesney perform on stage at the "39th Annual Country Music Awards" at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino on May 26, 2004 in Las Vegas.

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How does one improve on a double platinum album that solidified their reputation as a tippy-top country star? By going quadruple platinum with a project that endeared a hat act to Jimmy Buffett's fun-in-the-sun audience while adding two more great singles ("The Good Stuff" and "A Lot of Things Different") to the country song canon.

Eight more platinum studio albums followed, counting the hilariously-titled All I Want for Christmas Is a Real Good Tan and lasting through 2012's Welcome to the Fishbowl. That same span of sustained success brought 17 additional number ones (Chesney's racked up 30 overall), including greatest hits shoo-in "There Goes My Life," Uncle Kracker duet "When the Sun Goes Down," Tim McGraw team-up "I Feel Like a Rock Star" and Hemingway's Whiskey high point "The Boys of Fall" (Chesney produced an ESPN film of the same title).


Every album since Welcome to the Fishbowl reached No. 1 on the country charts and no lower than No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Only 2016's Cosmic Hallelujah hasn't achieved gold sales status or greater, and it's hardly a flop, bringing us platinum-selling single "Setting the World on Fire."

Industry Awards

Musician Kenny Chesney, winner of Entertainer of the Year Award poses in the press room at the 40th Annual Academy Country Music Awards at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on May 17, 2005 in Las Vegas.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Chesney's won the Country Music Association (CMA) and Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM) for Entertainer of the Year four times apiece, including four consecutive years winning the top ACM honor (2005-2008). Overall, he's won 12 CMA awards and 11 ACM awards.

Other ACM wins of note include the 1997 New Male Vocalist of the Year award.

In addition, he's a six-time Grammy award nominee.


Personal Life

Kenny Chesney during Willie Nelson and Friends Perform in Celebration ofn Willie's 70th Birthday at The Beacon Theatre in New York City, NY.

Stephen Lovekin/FilmMagic

Chesney made headlines in 2005 for his brief marriage to actress Renee Zellweger. The couple wed on St. John in the US Virgin Islands on May 9, 2005, just months after meeting in January at a tsunami relief benefit. They divorced in September.

For more up-to-date Chesney news, including tour dates, visit his official website.

READ MORE: Let's Go Girls: 40 Women Who Shaped '90s Country

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