Kenny Chesney: Men In Country Music “Objectify The Hell” Out Of Women
Kenny Chesney is not interested in continuing to put out music that treats women as objects. In a Billboard cover story, the massively popular country performer explains, “Over the last several years, it seems like anytime anybody sings about a woman, she’s in cutoff jeans, drinking and on a tailgate — they objectify the hell out of them.” Chesney says, “Twenty years ago, I might have written a song like that — I probably did. But I’m at a point where I want to say something different about women.”
On his new album The Big Revival, Chesney has included a song called “Wild Child” that portrays a stronger and more independent woman than is typically found in many of the tracks sung by the leading male artists of today. While he acknowledges that his past success has owed a lot to music that objectifies women, Chesney is trying to leave a lot of that behind.
The Chesney brand is huge, but he does not want to follow in the footsteps of stars like Keith Urban and Blake Shelton who joined TV competition series. “I’m not knocking anybody that does it, but I just don’t ever see myself doing it,” he tells Billboard. “Can you imagine Tom Petty being a judge on American Idol?”
In recent years, Chesney’s music and image has been largely inspired by the Virgin Islands and his meshing of traditional country with a laid-back, tropical vibe. It was part of a conscious decision to “[let] how I lived into my music.” Chesney explains, “Once I decided to quit trying to be George Strait, my life changed.”
But the island life has gotten irritating for Chesney as privacy disappears. “It’s harder now, because everybody is paparazzi,” he says. The singer says iPhones are one of the reasons the islands are no longer “the place of peace they used to be for me.” “It’s still rejuvenating — I just have to walk a little more carefully,” Chesney says of the Virgin Islands. “That’s why God made boats.”