Today’s Feature – July 14-15: Jo Dee Messina

July 16, 2008 at 1:59 am (Today's Feature)

As huge as the country music scene is today, there will always be artists that started the genre’s big push into the most visible mainstream spotlights that it’s ever been under – Superstars such as Garth Brooks, Reba, Tim McGraw, and today’s feature, Jo Dee Messina. For more than a dozen years, starting with “Heads Carolina, Tails California,” Messina has influenced the country artists of today and undoubtedly the ones of tomorrow with hits such as “I’m Alright,” “Bring on the Rain” and “My Give a Damn’s Busted.”

No doubt an inspiration as one of the strongest female leads in music, Messina has had nine #1 singles on the Billboard country music charts and has been honored by the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music and was even nominated for a Grammy. Of course, we can’t forget to mention that she was the first female country artist to land three multiple-week #1 songs from the same album as well. Her latest record, “Unmistakable” is just as capable of such greatness. Messina says, “Topic wise, there’s something for everybody. Musically, the sound is very real. It really sounds like a live show. For years, people have told me you sound great on your records, but you sound better live. We just stripped down the whole process that people usually go through when making a record. What’s happening in the studio is what you get on tape.”

You’ve probably already sampled songs such as “Biker Chick” and “I’m Done,”but the rest of the collection brings it just as hard. You must check out the Jo Dee Messina performance that you’ve probably already heard so much about to see these tunes belted out in person. Jo Dee is as close to her fans as an artist can be, even having her fan club party broadcasted live on XM this past June. So expect a lot from the live show. Check out “Unmistakable” and get into the XXQ’s to learn more.

XXQ’s: Jo Dee Messina

PensEyeView.com (PEV): Hey Jo Dee – Where’d I catch you guys?

Jo Dee Messina: We are in… Atlanta, Georgia.

PEV: So, how did it your career really start? How did it all come together? I know you worked with Tim McGraw very early on.

Jo Dee: When I moved to Nashville, I was doing a talent show to win a chance to perform on a radio show, and that’s when my producer (Byron Young?) heard me and he was working with Tim McGraw at the time and that’s how I met him. It seems like forever ago, but it also seems like yesterday. We worked great as a team – we just knew each other, it was just a natural thing.

PEV: What were your musical influences growing up?

Jo Dee: I was listening to all sorts of music but I gravitated towards country music because it was very real, it made sense. When I was a kid I was listening to Alabama, Hank Williams Jr., Debra Allen, Reba, that kind of stuff.

PEV: You grew up in Boston and I hear you’re a big Boston sports fan – you even sang at the Predators and Red Wings playoff game. How was that?

Jo Dee: They won! The Predators won that night, so it was a really good thing. You grow up in New England, so you’re going to get your share of sports, that’s for sure. Today, it’s like how it was when I was a kid – Boston ruled!

PEV: So you’re a hockey fan?

Jo Dee: I was a bigger one when I was a kid. When I was in high school, I went to the Stanley Cup finals. That was pretty rocking. I used to actually play ice hockey and street hockey – it was part of growing up on that side of Boston.

PEV: If we were to walk into your practice studio right now, what is something interesting we’d find there?

Jo Dee: Haha, probably the trash bag that the dogs went through (laughs). They just tear it up.

PEV: What kind of dogs are they?

Jo Dee: They’re both mutts.

PEV: When you sit down to write music, is there a certain environment you need to surround yourself with?

Jo Dee: No, not really. I can write a song just about anywhere. It doesn’t have to be a major ordeal, it can just be walking down the street when I come up with a tune.

PEV: I’ve been listening to a few songs off of the album, “Unmistakable.” What can people expect from the album?

Jo Dee: Topic wise, there’s something for everybody. Musically, the sound is very real. It really sounds like a live show. For years, people have told me you sound great on your records, but you sound better live. We just stripped down the whole process that people usually go through when making a record. What’s happening in the studio is what you get on tape.

PEV: Is that what makes this record in particular stand out?

Jo Dee: I dunno, you tell me (laughing)!

PEV: (laughing) I was listening to a few of the new songs, like “Biker Chick” and “I’m Done.” And I agree, even as a guy, I feel like it’s something that does appeal to everybody.

Jo Dee: O, why thank you!

PEV: I saw that XM did a live broadcast of your fan club party in June. What’s it mean to you to stay so tight with your fan base?

Jo Dee: I love getting out there, you know and just hanging out for a few hours and visit. It’s an important thing to me because they’re the ones you make the music for.

PEV: How’s life been on the road for you?

Jo Dee: We’ve been to some great places this year – we just came from Nashville. It’s been a really good pace – not too crazy out here on the road. But it’s good to get home. Being with the band is great – they’re a huge part of my life. They’re like family.

PEV: Does a city stand out in particular as the best scene for music?

Jo Dee: No, not really. I’ve been to a bunch of these cities several times. They each have their own thing. We’re just so lucky to get to so many cities. Every place has their own magic to it.

PEV: So what can fans expect from a Jo Dee Messina live performance?

Jo Dee: We have a lot of fun, a great time on stage, very high energy. There’s a lot of crowd involvement. I don’t like for people to just feel like they’ve been to a show and not been part of the show. Even people who are not familiar with the music.

PEV: Before these performances, do you have a pre-show ritual you need to do?

Jo Dee: I usually do vocal warm-ups.

PEV: Is there a dream collaboration with someone you’d like to see happen that hasn’t yet?

Jo Dee: I would love to do some work with Bonnie Raitt. That would be really rocking.

PEV: Is there an up and coming artist that we should all be looking into?

Jo Dee: No… I have no answer for you (laughing).

PEV: Is there one thing we haven’t heard about Jo Dee Messina that would surprise us?

Jo Dee: Nope. I think you pretty much know it all (laughing). I was thinking about that just the other day – there’s not a lot that people don’t know.

PEV: Is there something you really enjoy doing in your spare time?

Jo Dee: I spend a lot of time tending the garden in my backyard – the rose bushes in my backyard. I always go around and smell them every morning.

PEV: In one word – could you sum up Jo Dee Messina?

Jo Dee: Um. No (laughing). How bout you?

PEV: (laughing) I probably couldn’t either. It’s a tough question.

Jo Dee: Yes it is! (laughing) But it is an interesting question. But no, I can’t.

PEV: I know what you mean – I know I couldn’t answer if someone asked me that on the fly.

Jo Dee: Still a very good question – how about real?

PEV: Very Cool. So what’s next for Jo Dee Messina?

Jo Dee: Well, we’ll be launching this record and I’ll be supporting this single, trying to get it on the charts. More shows and that kind of stuff.

PEV: Thanks so much for talking with me today.

Jo Dee: Alright, take care. Bye.

For more information on Jo Dee Messina, check out www.JoDeeMessina.com

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