Kenny Chesney Talks 'The Big Revival,' Writing About Women and Taylor Swift's Pop Crossover
By Sophie Schillaci
The Big Revival is more than just an album title for Kenny Chesney: It's a new way of life.
Taking a year away from touring, Chesney tells Entertainment Tonight's Nancy O'Dell that he needed to press the "reset" button.
"I just felt like I was at that time in my career, my life as an artist, as a human being, that we just needed to reset things and to revive, if you will," he said. "The Big Revival meant more than just a cool album title, it had a real meaning about how I felt in the studio, about where I was in my life and what I wanted to say to my audience."
Now, as he promotes his new album, Chesney is ready to pour his renewed energy into performing.
"When we go out on the road, it's going to feel like a revival because I feel great," he said. "I feel great about where I am in my life, in my music, and when you are in that spot in your life it's a lot more fun up on stage. I can't wait to do that."
After more than 20 years of hustle and bustle in the music biz, Chesney reveals that he had begun to feel "numb" to his own feelings.
"I have been moving for so long, and I am in love with the idea of being still. I crave it," he confessed. "The thread that runs through this record is about just enjoying where you are and the right now and trying to soak all that up… I try to preach that a lot of my audience, and it is really hard to live in the moment when you are constantly planning for something else."
Among the standout tracks on The Big Revival is "Wild Child," a direct answer to country's growing trend of objectifying women through lyrics.
"I felt like that there's a lot of people out there that weren't being sang to and when we sat down to write 'Wild Child,' I had this idea of who I am attracted to and the kind of people that I love in my life," he said. "I am learning that when you write songs about women, the perfect place to start is their spirit.
"I am really excited about that song just for what it says, because it does allow a woman to be the ultimate free spirit but not be irresponsible," he continued. "I am attracted to women like that."
Sounds a lot like one country crooner-turned-pop star, doesn't it? Asked about Taylor Swift's official genre crossover, Chesney had nothing but praise for the singer-songwriter.
"She is such a global act. I mean, it's unbelievable," he gushed, confessing that he "loves" her pop material. "I have always been one of Taylor's biggest fans and I think that her songwriting has gotten really good. And I think that's the foundation of everything we do, songwriting."
As for the haters: "It may have aggravated some of the traditionalists or whatever in our business, but they are not going to Taylor shows."
Would he ever consider a genre switch?
"I have such a diverse audience, now I am going to be a country act just because of the way I talk and sing. I can't make those records," he said. "If I did, it would be very disingenuous."