Kenny Chesney is a Swiftie through and through. The country singer turned to social media to sing Taylor Swift's praises after Time named her the 2023 Person of the Year.

"Taylor, I knew looking in your eyes that first time on stage with us, you had 'it.' The hunger, that something special... A gift not everyone has to connect," he writes. "It’s been awesome watching you shine!"

"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," he adds.

The country veteran added a pair of behind-the-scenes photos from early on in her career.

Swift talked about Chesney and his impact on her career in her Person of the Year interview. When she was 17 years old, she was slated to join him as an opener on his tour.

“This was going to change my career,” she recounts. “I was so excited.”

Unfortunately, because the tour was sponsored by a beer company, she was unable work it due to her age. It was a devastating blow to Swift, but in the end, Chesney found a way to make it up to her.

For her 18th birthday, Chesney sent her a card, and in it, he apologized about the tour. He included a check as a birthday gift.

“It was for more money than I’d ever seen in my life,” Swift shares. “I was able to pay my band bonuses. I was able to pay for my tour buses. I was able to fuel my dreams.”

Since then, Swift has blossomed into arguably the biggest name on the planet. She's in the midst of her massive Eras World Tour, which resumes in 2024. It's the global influence and impact that Time says qualifies her for the honor.

"Picking one person who represents the eight billion people on the planet is no easy task. And certainly, in a year when the world is divided, there's a lot of light and a lot of darkness, there were a number of different choices that could have represented 2023," Editor-in-Chief Sam Jacobs says.

"But we picked a choice, someone who represents joy," he explains. "Someone who's bringing light to the world. Someone who's taken her own story and made it big enough for everyone."

Taylor Swift's 11 Best Country Collaborations, Ranked

It's no surprise that Taylor Swift's voice works so well in a country setting — it is her home genre, after all! From the Chicks to Chris Stapleton to Tim McGraw, Swift's country collaborations keep the genre close to her heart, no matter where else music takes her.

Gallery Credit: Carena Liptak

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