CMA will present the Pinnacle Award to four-time CMA Entertainer of the Year Kenny Chesney during “The 50th Annual CMA Awards” airing live Wednesday, Nov. 2 (8:00-11:00 PM/ET) on the ABC Television Network.
The Pinnacle Award recognizes an artist who has achieved global prominence through concert performances and record sales at levels unique in Country Music. The artist has also attained the highest degree of recognition within the broad expanse of music worldwide. The artist’s talent and presence will have a long-term positive impact on the appreciation of Country Music for generations to come.
“I can’t think of a better occasion than the 50th Anniversary of the CMA Awards to present an award of this magnitude to an artist of this caliber,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “Kenny’s outstanding career and the millions of fans he has touched through his enormously popular stadium shows epitomize the definition of the Pinnacle Award.”
“When you do what you do, you never think it’s a big deal,” Chesney said with humility. “But when an organization like CMA recognizes you in this fashion, it makes you step back. To receive this award – especially during their 50th Anniversary – is such an honor, because they’re recognizing half a century of Country Music.”
The Pinnacle Award was created in 2005 when it was presented to Garth Brooks. The only other recipient is Taylor Swift (2013).
Chesney has 43 career CMA Awards nominations and eight wins including four for Entertainer of the Year (2004, 2006-2008), Album of the Year for When the Sun Goes Down (2004), Music Video of the Year for “You and Tequila” (2011), and two for Musical Event of the Year for “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” (2007) and “Feel Like A Rock Star” (2012).
A critically-acclaimed songwriter and artist, Chesney’s music tapped into the turf between the coasts, accumulated 28 No. 1 songs and sold in excess of 30 million albums. The only Country artist on Billboard’s Top 10 Touring Artists of the Last 25 Years, he’s played to more than a million fans every tour – 135 major stadium shows. Balancing relentless energy, full-throttle production and room on the bill to present Nashville’s next generation of performers, his tours have inspired TV specials and a major Sony Pictures theatrical film “Summer in 3-D.”
A native of East Tennessee, Chesney tapped into the truths of where he comes from – and made impossible dreams come true by turning them into songs. Working the dive bars on Lower Broadway, he eventually signed a publishing deal at Acuff-Rose on the strength of a song that captured a 20-year-old’s broken heart, “The Tin Man.” Chesney learned writing from the best of the old guard, developing a respect for and knowledge of what makes a song great. He was later signed to Capricorn Records by the legendary Phil Walden through the strength of “The Tin Man,” which Walden felt demonstrated the promise and voice of a writer/artist on the verge.
Moving to BNA Records, Chesney found his voice – and those songs became the watermark for a generation. In addition to the CMA Pinnacle Award, BMI is recognizing the indelible mark his songs have left with their President’s Award, which recognizes songwriter/artists whose music has impacted the culture in palpable ways over the breadth of an established career.
“To me, songs are the root of everything,” Chesney said. “The records, the radio, the live shows – and how you touch your fans. When I look out at the fans from the stage at Gillette or MetLife Stadium, or a little bar in some college town, I see faces that not only know what I’m singing about, but are living it. With that kind of motivation, it makes me always push.”
That commitment to those fans has kept Chesney’s music honest – and permeates every aspect of who he is. He clearly understands the importance of a hard-earned Friday night, and the passion that drives football fans on Sunday. A credible commentator of baseball and football, players and coaches welcome him to the sidelines, while ESPN routinely hosts him on set and in the press box. Chesney co-directed and produced several documentaries for ESPN, including “The Boys of Fall,” “Believer,” and “The Color Orange: The Condredge Holloway Story.”
The same work ethic and undeniable talent that caught the attention of Nashville insiders still drives Chesney. It is what fires those massive tours and makes him strive to make his music better. No idea is too big; no fan is too small.
His last recording, The Big Revival, yielded four No. 1 hits: the Grammy-nominated “American Kids,” “Til It’s Gone,” CMA and Grammy-nominated “Wild Child,” featuring Grace Potter, and the three-week chart-topper “Save It For a Rainy Day.” Always looking to stretch the limit without losing his roots, Chesney follows up with the highly-anticipated Oct. 28 release of Cosmic Hallelujah, featuring “Setting the World on Fire” with P!NK.
Deemed “The King of the Road” by the Wall Street Journal and “The People’s Superstar” by the Los Angeles Times, Chesney is an artist whose passion drives him and his ability to distill life makes him an artist whose music connects in a very singular way. For information, visit KennyChesney.com.
“The 50th Annual CMA Awards” will be hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood and broadcast live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Wednesday, Nov. 2 (8:00-11:00 PM/ET) on the ABC Television Network.
For more information on “The 50th Annual CMA Awards” and to sign up for CMA emails and exclusives, visit CMAawards50.com. Celebrate Country Music Month in October.