Kenny Chesney's Life Is as Good as It Sounds

If country music's happiest strummer has some girls, some rum, and some decent weather, he's not too worried about anything else.
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If country music's happiest strummer has some girls, some rum, and some decent weather, he's not too worried about anything else.
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Kenny Chesney’s mantra is simple: “I work really hard and try to play harder.” When he’s not on tour, the 46-year-old country superstar spends much of the year at his island-paradise hideout on St. John, and his embrace of the relaxed-fit, it’s-always-happy-hour lifestyle—including his own brand of rum, Blue Chair Bay—has caught on: He’s sold more than 30 million albums, his tours have grossed more than $735 million in ticket sales, and he has 24 number one singles. He’ll be on tour in 2015 behind a new album, The Big Revival, but if you can’t wait, here are a few shortcuts to living like Chesney. 

More Rum MeansMore Reps

“My drink of choice is rum, which is not something you should drink if you want to be lean. Nothing makes me happier than a few rum drinks. When I’m not on the road, I’m usually on a boat or the beach, with a girl. And a guitar.” 

Adrenaline is Like aLineof Meth

After a concert, “it takes me hours to relax.” Why not wind down with a good book? “I haven’t read a book in years. I love to read, but my mind goes in a lot of different places, because I’m constantly multitasking.” 

Pretend ThatYou’re NotFamous

For celebrities in the social-media age, “your life is a spectator sport.” Aside from a few stumbles (most notably, a quickly scrapped 2005 marriage to RenéeZellweger), Chesney survives by treating his boldface persona like it’s Batman. “You need some ego to be onstage and be great at it. But I don’t bring that into my personal life. I like meeting that guy up there onstage, but it’s almost like we’re two different people.”

To Make CountryMusic, IgnoreCountry Music

“I don’t listen to country,” he says. Regarding “bro country,” the current knuckleheads-in-trucks fad that dominates the radio waves, he views it as a passing phase. “There are some great songs and some horrible songs. But the music I’ve made has nothing to do with it.” 

A Cheeseburgeris Paradise

“I love to eat and drink, and I love red wine and carbohydrates. And cheese! Once a tour is over, I throw my diet out the window. It’s a lot of fun to chomp into a cheeseburger at 11 in the morning, when a beach bar opens, after you haven’t eaten a cheeseburger all year.”

Never Rule Outthe Possibility of Partying

How many times, in 2015, will Chesney reach “seventh gear,” his term for maximum alcohol enjoyment? “Not many times, if at all.” But it’s hard to change completely, so Chesney reconsiders his answer: “Well, maybe New Year’s Eve.” 

Photos by Danny Clinch