BACK TO 1991
Approximately 50,000 singles were released in the UK during the nineties. With five weeks at the top, the twentieth most successful release of that entire decade was ‘The One and Only’, the lead song from the soundtrack of the film “Buddy’s Song” sung by a 19 year old Chesney. The song has gone on to be the subject of numerous compilation albums, TV ads, TV theme music, film soundtracks and, now a student anthem, continues to top ‘Best pop song of the nineties’ polls.
Chesney’s television appearances could form the basis of a slapstick comedy show but with added danger. Following his appearance on the Channel 4 show The Games, he needed surgery on a hip injury. His Fred Astaire like dancing skills (?) have been on display on ‘Let’s Dance for Comic Relief’. Looking pain and humiliation squarely in the eye he signed up for ITV’s ‘Sing if You Can’ where, being asked to sing while a fire roared around him, he narrowly escaped being burnt to death. Well….. Always looking to push the boundaries, he accepted an invitation to join the cast of ITV’s ‘Dancing on Ice.’ All was going well until just before filming started he went on to the ice on his own, breaking an ankle and ruling himself out of the show. Chesney’s accident prone history was hilariously summed up in John Bishop’s ‘Panto’, in which Chesney played the role of a member of the cast forever doing damage to himself. If ever a role was written for him……….
THE ALBUM: REAL LIFE LOVE
The album is a collection of 9 songs, all co-written by Chesney. Brimming with talented collaborators, writers on the album include long time collaborator Nik Kershaw and Chesney’s talented sister Keely. The new single taken from the album is ‘Aeroplane’, co-written with Keely and Chris Garcia. It ran under the closing titles for ‘Panto’ and is a very personal take on family life and how children grow up before you know it.
In 2001 Chesney embarked on a ‘mini’ tour with his four piece band. Initially intended to take in five dates, the touring has never stopped. Headlining at universities, colleges, and clubs continues unabated and performances have now passed the 1,000 date mark during this period. Further appearances at festivals and radio promoted open air summer road shows, together with events abroad, have brought the combined ‘live’ audience to which he has performed to close to 2 million. In August/September 2014, Chesney is joining Ant and Dec for 12 dates on their nationwide ‘Takeaway’ tour.
Chesney has combined touring with TV appearances and radio interviews. These have included Channel 4’s Top Ten Teen Idols, judging on Britain’s Got More Talent, BBC Breakfast, London Tonight, VH1, Popworld, Question of Pop, Banzai, Loose Women, The Wright Stuff, Bliss, Weekend with Aled, This Morning, BBC’s The Cinema Show and Big Brother’s Big Mouth. Radio interviews include Jonathan Ross, Steve Wright, Edith Bowman, Colin Murray, Claudia Winkleman, Paul Ross, Janice Long, Clive Anderson, Alex Zane, Scott Mills, Jamie Theakston, and Dermot O’Leary. He has presented two shows for VH1/MTV and has taken part in a celebrity edition of The Weakest Link. Chesney also took part in Channel 4’s ‘The Games’ emerging a medal winner and he performed on the Granada/LWT show ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time.’ He has also appeared on a Champion of Champions edition of ‘The Games’, as well as, as a guest, on Big Brother. Further appearances include the Ant & Dec Show, The One Show, Daybreak, The Graham Norton Show and Bob Mortimer’s Christmas production ‘All Stars Impressionists’ show.
Chesney’s first acting role was as Buddy in the rock ‘n roll movie ‘Buddy’s Song’ which featured a cast of young actors destined to make their mark. These included Nick Moran and Julia Sawhala, who went on to create the character Saffy in Absolutely Fabulous, as well as Lee Ross, long before he appeared with Catherine Tate and in Eastenders. Heading the cast was rock legend, and The Who lead singer, Roger Daltrey, in the role of Chesney’s dad. Chesney’s subsequent career has been firmly rooted in music but at Christmas 2007 he joined the cast at the Lowry theatre in Manchester for his first pantomime, playing Dick Whittington. In 2008 Chesney toured the country playing the lead in Bill Kenwright’s production ‘Can’t Smile Without You’, the musical based, of course, on the songs of Barry Manilow. Jack and the Beanstalk, his second pantomime, played at the Grimsby Auditorium during Christmas 2009 and at Christmas 2010 he played the lead in Aladdin in Northampton. In September 2011 Chesney played the lead in the Milton/Morrissey production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat in Guernsey.
Chesney has worked with writers and producers from a broad section of the industry, among them Mark Goldenberg (The Eels), Jesse Valenzuela (The Gin Blossoms) and Counting Crows producer Marvin Etzioni. Other collaborators include Howard Jones, the Police’s Stuart Copeland, Nik Kershaw, Bijou Phillips and more Rob Davis (co-writer of Kylie’s Can’t Get you out of My Head). Artists continue to cover his songs and he has had material recorded by three international Pop Idol winners. English band ‘Hepburn’ covered “Next Life”, which Chesney co-wrote with Phil Thornally. (Phil co-wrote “Torn” for Natalie Imbruglia). Caprice charted with “Once Around The Sun” which Chesney co-wrote with Eric Pressley and he also collaborated with Tricky on his ‘Mission Accomplished’ EP. Another of Chesney’s songs, “Almost You”, was in the film “Jawbreaker” starring Rose McGowan and Marilyn Manson and “Missing You Already” was in the film “The Night We Never Met”, starring Matthew Broderick. In mid 2007 Chesney co-composed an orchestral piece commissioned by Lexus Cars for a live presentation. The piece was recorded at AIR Studios by the London Symphony Orchestra and represents Chesney’s first orchestral work. The Duncan Jones movie Source Code, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal, opened in the UK on 1st April 2011. The film features a 2011 Nik Kershaw/Chesney Hawkes production of The One and Only.
In 2009 Chesney’s song ‘Celebrate’ was recorded by Chinese megastar Jane Zhang for her album. Jane has 15 No:1s to her credit and performing ‘Celebrate’ on the Oprah Winfrey Show represented her US TV debut. Chesney also wrote the title track for the film ‘All’s Faire In Love’ which stars Christina Ricci. His song “Seven of Sundays” has been recorded by Curt Smith, founder member of Tears for Fears. Jane has since recorded two more of Chesney’s songs.
Chesney is nearing completion of his autobiography entitled ‘Who I Really Am’. Even when he needed a title for the book, a line from the ever present One and Only came to the rescue.