Kenny Chesney Defends His ACM Rant
Kenny Chesney has posted an open letter to his fans about his backstage comments at the ACM Awards. After winning the night's top honor, Entertainer of the Year, Chesney expressed disappointment in the fact that this award was fan-voted for the first time, calling the change a "complete disrespect to the artists." But now the singer wants his fans to know he's not disrespecting them.
"I want to thank each of you personally for your part in this 4th Entertainer of the Year Award," he writes on his website. "You are not just the reason we do this, you are a lot of what makes us Entertainer of the Year. Beyond even your votes -- which were critical -- but the way you inspire me and the guys. We are more because you give so much . . . and I want to make sure you know how much I appreciate you, and how much a part of this you guys are."
But Chesney isn't backing down in his distaste for the voting change for Entertainer of the Year. He explains that the criteria that qualify an artist for that award stretch beyond the music.
"There's a lot more to being Entertainer of the Year than what we show you . . . and that's because I want the music to just be your music, your songs, your life -- the way it was for me," Chesney writes. "I've always been a bit uncomfortable with the amount of information that gets out there about how many trucks, how we do the effects, those sorts of things . . . because I don't want it to be about semis, I want what we do to be about that moment when you hear the music and we hear you. To me, Entertainer of the Year is about the work that goes into it. I don't ever want you worrying about the work; I want you living the songs . . . being in the moment of the music . . . finding your life on the radio. That was my point. Let the people who do the work, judge the work part of it . . . let the fans love what we do for that. And that was what I was being asked about . . . what a lot of people in the business were talking about . . . and frankly something an awful lot of artists and business people have told me they not only agree with, but something the entire media room applauded pretty resoundingly after I addressed it Sunday night."
Vince Gill is one person who's not so sure about the applause. He told Nashville's WKRN-TV that he's a bit perplexed by Chesney's statements.
"Here's a guy that fills up stadiums, you know, and he's whining," said Gill. "I don't get that. But on the other hand, I do. Regardless of what an artist accomplishes -- whether it's Garth [Brooks], whether it's Kenny, whether it's George Strait -- what they desire most is respect from the industry and respect of their peers."
Read Chesney's ACM backstage comments here.