Kenny Chesney’s Advice to Fellow CMA Nominees: “Come Get Me”

Superstar Wins Fourth CMA Award as Entertainer of the Year

Kenny Chesney has just a few words for next year’s CMA nominees for entertainer of the year: “Come get me.”

Shortly after winning his fourth CMA entertainer trophy on Wednesday night (Nov. 12) in Nashville, Chesney told reporters in the backstage pressroom, “There are some really wonderful acts who have been nominated. … And I know at some point — ask Reba McEntire, ask George Strait, ask Garth, ask Alabama — sooner or later, they [CMA voters] are going to move on to something else, and I understand that’s part of it.

“But to those other four acts that are nominated, I’m not just going to lay down, either. I love what I’m doing, and I love doing it from the heart with the passion, commitment and sacrifice that it takes to do this. These aren’t given away. These aren’t free. It’s a very humbling thing to stand up here and hold this for the fourth time.”

Chesney told reporters he’s planning his next tour, which he expects to launch in April.

“I was home a couple of days ago and I found myself clicking again about, ‘What am I going to do?’ It’s going to be April before I know it. The energy that I get when I’m on stage, and the energy that comes back to me and the guys, it’s something that’s pretty addictive. I think entertaining is what we do best. We spent a lot of time … trying to give the fans the best experience possible and to be a part of their summer every year.”

Although he already has a 3D model of his new stage, Chesney said the music is the most important element of his show.

“After the intro and all the bells and whistles, it all comes back down to the music, and it comes down to presenting that music the best way you can,” he said. “I think I’ve got a great band, and luckily — knock on wood — by the time we start touring in April, we’re going to have three or four new songs from the Lucky Old Sun album under our belt. We just try to present what we do in a little bit different way every year — with the same energy. I can’t begin to tell you guys what it feels like for me and the band to walk up there on the stage every night and feel the energy of 60,000 people. It’s unbelievable, really.”

Chesney earned his first CMA nominations in 1999, for Horizon Award and music video (“How Forever Feels.”) But he wouldn’t actually win a CMA award until 2004 when he picked up album of the year (for When the Sun Goes Down), as well as his first entertainer award. He won the top trophy again in 2006, 2007 and, of course, in 2008.

“Winning the entertainer of the year, here at the CMAs, for the fourth time in five years, it’s a lot more than this kid ever dreamed of,” Chesney said. “I didn’t know that my life was going to be like this. I was this happy when I got my first Top 5 record, and I was very, very happy just to get a tour bus and tour around the country with my buddies. I remember being in college, we were in a Laundromat, doing our laundry, and I was with a guy named David Farmer, who is now my road manager. He goes, ‘What do you want to do?’ I was playing clubs, and I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be a lot of fun to get a song on the radio? And take all my buddies and go around the country, just one summer, and play music and see the world?’ This coming summer will be my 16th summer, so I’ve been very blessed.”

View photos of Kenny Chesney and others at the CMA Awards show.

Craig Shelburne has been writing for CMT.com since 2002. He is also a producer for CMT Edge, Concrete Country and Live @ CMT.