Kenny Chesney & Michael Franti Talk About the Art of 'Chillaxification' at Los Angeles' New SoFi Stadium

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Kenny Chesney, Louis Messina and Michael Franti

The artists will tour together next year, including a date at the NFL venue currently under construction.

"Chillaxification" isn’t just an extension of the No Shoes Nation fan base -- it’s a philosophy about the healing power of live music.

“Music is medicine for wherever you are in your life,” explained Kenny Chesney, who was joined by Michael Franti on Thursday at the still-under-construction SoFi stadium in Inglewood, California, to discuss their upcoming Chillaxification 2020 Tour. 

“I've always felt like ‘chillaxification’ was the perfect term for my audience because we all have the same ups and downs. We go through life the same way and that’s part of the connection we share,” explained Chesney to a small group of team officials, reporters and workers helping to build the $5 billion stadium.

“Even if you wake one day and feel like you've got 50 pounds of bricks on your back, music has be ability to take that off,” Chesney said. “The idea and the calming energy of music is chillaxification. You can come here, listen to music, have a good time and leave feeling great.”

For Franti, who’s performing on his first major country music tour next year, the idea of chillaxification meant leaning on music and art to get through difficult times.

“It’s about easing our hearts and saying to ourselves, ‘I can get through this,’" Franti explained. “People tell me all the time that they leave my shows feeling better. It doesn’t matter the genre, music makes people stand up a little stronger in their lives.”

Chesney and Franti are launching the Chillaxification Tour on April 18, 2020, in Dallas, a 108-date trek that includes Old Dominion and Florida Georgia Line. The stadium run could be Chesney’s highest grossing tour yet and by the time the tour wraps, Chesney will have played in front of more than 18 million fans in his career, including more than 70,000 at SoFi Stadium, which will anchor a massive entertainment district when it opens next year.

"This place is amazing. It's the most beautiful place," said Louis Messina, tour promoter for Chesney, who plays the Los Angeles-area show on Aug. 1. “I've never seen a stadium like this in my entire career."

Franti and Chesney are touring after they first met at Tortuga Festival in 2013, and Chesney says Franti and his band Spearhead are the third most played group on his SiriusXM station No Shoes Radio, behind Bob Marley and Chesney's own catalog.

“When you really love (someone) and truly respect what they do and what they give to the world, you become really excited about the possibilities of rolling down the highway with them,” Chesney said. 

“I think that word that unites is optimism,” added Franti. “I believe that music is a thing that can be there for us in our most joyous moments of life and get us through the most challenging things in life.”

The Chillaxification tour is the second show planned for the Inglewood stadium, which is set to open on July 25 with Taylor Swift's two-day Lover Fest West. Once complete, SoFi Stadium will be one of the first indoor-outdoor stadiums to be constructed in North America, with a tear-drop shaped roof canopy covering a 6,000-seat performance venue and the 2.5-acre American Airlines Plaza.

The new stadium is set to host Super Bowl LVI in 2022, the College Football National Championship game in 2023 and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2028 Olympic Games.

More than 12,000 workers have helped construct SoFi stadium, and after joining Chesney on stage Franti thanked “all the men and women who have designed and engineered this stadium and the iron workers who have brought this vision to life.”

Chesney said the design of the stadium, where the field sits 100 feet below ground level, will hold sound great and create a “really loud environment.”

“We've never played a stadium with this design,” said Chesney. “It's really narrow and it’s going to be very intimate and between the fans and our band, really loud.”

He added, “I know what we're capable of on stage and I know how hard we worked to give the fans the best experience they can possibly have.” 

2019 Billboard Live Music Summit and Awards

 

 


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