Kenny Chesney took the stage last night at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles as part of an interview series with musicians intended to educate kids about the arts. The country artist studied marketing and advertising at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tenn. He said it's important to "build a relationship" with fans and calls "word of mouth marketing the best type of advertising in the world."
The relationship built with fans goes hand in hand with the singer-songwriter in him. It's about connecting with people, he said. "If five people come to the show, when they leave I want them to tell five more people," Chesney admits.
Aside from making great music, that mentality helps make him the only artist in any genre to sell 1 million tickets for eight consecutive summer tours. As he talks about advertising and marketing, it becomes apparent the one-on-one interaction with fans in the museum theater demonstrates his comfort with online advertising and social media on Facebook and Twitter @kennychesney, as well as search engine marketing.
On Twitter, Chesney shares videos and photos of life on the road. In the 200-seat theater at the Grammy Museum, located in the Nokia L.A. Live center, he asks fans to introduce themselves as the moderator presents their question.
Chesney's songwriting inspiration comes from life, as well as the music of Bruce Springsteen, Willy Nelson, John Mellencamp, Tom Petty and others, he said.
During the event, sponsored by American Express, the country artist dug into his past to recall motivations, education, and dreams that turned into reality. The format seemed similar to Bravo's "Inside the Actor's Studio" hosted by James Lipton.
Robert Santelli, executive director of the museum, interviewed Chesney, who wore a crewneck T-shirt, khaki pants and a baseball cap.
This weekend, Chesney -- along with Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Steel Magnolia, and Easton Corbin, and other artists -- will perform at the annual country music festival, Stagecoach, at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, Calif. His college friends -- who often come along on the road when he performs to merchandise and promote the tour and goods -- will likely be there, too.