Kenny Chesney Shares Throwback Pics With Heartfelt Message To Taylor Swift

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Kenny Chesney penned a heartfelt tribute celebrating global megastar Taylor Swift’s freshly-announced title as TIME’s Person Of The Year.

Chesney shared two throwback photos with Swift, and reflected on his impression of the “Cruel Summer” powerhouse, even in her earliest eras. The “I Go Back” hitmaker said he knew, even then, that Swift undoubtedly would blaze her own trails in the music industry, and expressed he’s “proud” of the award-winning artist she’s become.

“Taylor, I knew looking in your eyes that first time on stage with us, you had ‘it,’” Chesney wrote in his caption on Instagram on Wednesday (December 6). “The hunger, that something special… A gift not everyone has to connect. It’s been awesome watching you shine! Congratulations on being [TIME]’s Person of the Year. I’m glad TIME sees what I’ve always loved about your music, your art and you as a human being. I’m so proud of you and I love you.”

Swift also nodded to Chesney in her TIME article, with “fuel[ing] my dreams.” Swift recalled going from “so excited” to “devastated” that she’d secured a spot as an opener on Chesney’s headlining tour when she was 17, only to be removed from the lineup of the tour, sponsored by a beer company, because she was underage at the time. Chesney, however, never forgot the budding superstar, and sent her an 18th birthday card with a check, “for more money than I’d ever seen in my life,” Swift recalled. “I was able to pay my band bonuses. I was able to pay for my tour buses. I was able to fuel my dreams.”

Read Swift’s full TIME Person Of The Year story here.

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