Jo Dee Messina puts career in fans’ hands
When country singer Jo Dee Messina set out to record her new album, she wanted to give her fans a voice. She accomplished it via the fundraising website Kickstarter.com.
“I have been told year in and year out, ‘People don’t know what they want, you have to give it to them.’ And I said that people would want to have an opinion,” Messina said during a recent telephone interview. Her new music will be released in September.
Messina first emerged on the national scene in 1996 with the Top 10 country hits “Heads Carolina, Tails California” and “You’re Not in Kansas Anymore” off her self-titled debut. Her sophomore album “I’m Alright” was more successful with the No. 1 country hits “Bye Bye,” “I’m Alright” and “Stand Beside Her.”
In all, she has had nine No. 1 singles, two Grammy Award nominations and multiple Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music awards.
Messina’s new album is the first since departing a major record label after the release of three EPs, each titled “Unmistakable” in 2010.
Now that she’s an independent artist, Messina is looking forward to doing things her way.
“It’s kind of like a roller coaster. It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be fast, it’s exciting. But then there is that scare factor because you have never been on this roller coaster before. But I have to be brave enough to just keep taking one step at a time,” she said.
Doing things her way includes giving fans a say in her music. Messina sought fan input on the track list, album title and first single. She admits people tend to gravitate to her “feisty attitude” songs but the disc also has more vulnerable tunes. The sound of the album varies with country, rock, pop and bluegrass sounds.
“It’s a mishmash of a lot of things, but it’s like someone’s personality. It’s has many sides of me and the average, everyday person,” Messina said.
Messina said she has wanted to travel singing music since she was 13 years old. Music was an escape while growing up as a latchkey kid, and she says songwriting remains therapeutic, and performing is something truly joyful to do.
“This is how I support my family. I feel very lucky to be able to do this. And every day that I wake up and I am allowed to do music for a living, I am grateful,” Messina said.