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Messina, Jo Dee

Jo Dee Messina

Singer, songwriter

Country singer and songwriter Jo Dee Messina enjoyed a trio of successive number one hits on Hot Country Singles & Tracks from her second album, I'm Alright, released in 1998. She became the first female solo artist to score three consecutive multiple-week number one hits from one album since Billboard's country album chart debuted in 1964. The high-spirited redhead was nominated for six Kahlua Boston Music Awards, a distinction traditionally earned by rock artists, including Act of the Year and Outstanding Album, Female Vocalist, Single ("Bye Bye"), Video ("I'm Alright"), and Country Act. After hearing of the award nominations, she told Billboard's Chuck Taylor, "I had to check my messages twice because I didn't believe it." She was also nominated for Country Music Television's Female Vocalist of the Year, and for a Horizon Award. Messina's songs have demonstrated a sassy, upbeat muscularity, and are designed to strike a familiar chord or two in the listener. Entertainment Weekly declared that Messina's style "blends the vocal cadences of Reba McEntire with the lyrical worldliness of K.T. Oslin." Her album I'm Alright went gold and platinum, and she won the Top New Female Vocalist award at the American Country Music Awards in 1999. Emerging from personal problems and hit hard by an industry downturn that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Messina bounced back with the successful album Delicious Surprise, and kept up a heavy touring schedule.

Messina was born Jo Dee Marie Messina on August 25, 1970, in Framingham, Massachusetts. She was raised in nearby Holliston, Massachusetts, by Vincent and Mary Messina, and had two sisters, Terese and Marianne, as well as a brother, Vincent. Her early musical influences included the Judds, Reba McEntire, Deana Carter, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams, Jr., Patsy Cline, and Tim McGraw. She performed in plays in the Boston area as a child, and starting at the age of 14 she sang in local country bars. By the age of 16 she was performing every weekend in the Jo Dee Messina Band, which included her brother on drums and one of her sisters on bass guitar. Although she was a good student in school, she was sometimes called to the principal's office for falling asleep in class due to playing late night sessions. Messina knew at a young age that music was her calling, and at the age of 19 she left home for Nashville.

Messina competed in talent contests and sent her demo tape to various industry executives. While at Nashville's Fan Fair event in the mid-1990s, she approached an executive at Curb Records and said, "What you guys really need over there is a redhead." Just as the executive was about to reply, Curb producer James Stroud approached Messina, said he was impressed by her demo tape, and she was soon signed to the label. Her self-titled debut album was released in 1996, produced by Tim McGraw and by the reigning king of rock-flavored Nashville stylings, Byron Gallimore. Two of her debut release's singles topped the charts: the road song "Heads Carolina, Tails California" (written by Tom Nichols and Mark Sanders) and "You're Not In Kansas Anymore." Messina performed 215 shows in 1996.

Taylor wrote that Messina "has seen her share of industry heartache, starting with a label deal that promised to make her dreams come true and then went sour when management shifted." She signed to Curb, but saw her finances dry up between hits, and she came close to declaring bankruptcy. She spent almost a year finding the right songs and sound for her 1998 follow-up release, I'm Alright, but the album eventually made her one of the genuine country artist success stories of the 1990s. Messina told Taylor that the struggle was well worth the ride. "I don't know anything else besides country music. I'll always do some kind of music, whether it's writing or doing demos or commercials. It just runs through my veins."

I'm Alright highlights a selection of songs about personal strength and survival. She told Taylor, "I have to be able to relate to what I sing and know what the song is saying. As a singer, you're painting a picture, and you can't sing it if you don't know what it looks or feels like." Robynn James, publicity director of country WYYD/WJLM in the Lynchburg/Roanoke, Virginia, area, told Taylor, "It seems like every record we get from her is stronger and stronger. When you think she can't get any better, she comes out with something superior." Mike Brophy, publicity director of WKLP Boston, also told Taylor, "The beauty of her music is that it's upbeat and positive. From a programming perspective, it's easier to put on that kind of music than slow, sad songs."

Messina's band members included Ralph Friedrichsen on bass guitar and vocals; Tim Haires on drums; Pete Jeffrey on keyboards, vocals, and as bandleader; Stacy Kostes on acoustic guitar and vocals; Allen Love on pedal steel; and Tony Obrohta on lead guitar and vocals. Messina toured for several months during 1999 with the George Strait Country Music Festival, and appeared on CBS This Morning in April of that year. She told Taylor, "Every day is a reward. It's all about getting out and meeting as many fans as I can and giving a little bit back to the people who've put me where I'm at. I'm very grateful for it all."

Messina's career rolled along with the release of her album Burn in 2000, earning praise from Ralph Novak of People for her "Mae West-meets-Janis Joplin persona," topping Billboard's country albums chart, and cracking the pop top 20. In the early 2000s, however, Messina faced pressures from several directions. Touring revenues, a staple for the hardworking star who performed up to 230 shows a year, dried up after the September 11, 2001, attacks, and Messina struggled with a growing tendency toward alcohol abuse.

Raised in a nondrinking household, Messina had her first drink at the age of 29. In the fast-paced atmosphere of constant touring, her consumption escalated to a bottle at a time. Outwardly she seemed to show few ill effects, but her moment of truth came when she found one morning that she couldn't remember the previous evening's performance at all. She checked into a rehab program in Sundance, Utah, and emerged clean and sober.

For the Record …

Born Jo Dee Marie Messina on August 25, 1970, in Framingham, MA; daughter of Vincent and Mary Messina; married Chris Deffenbaugh (an entrepreneur), 2007.

Performed in plays in the Boston area as a child; sang in local country bars at age 14; moved to Nashville, 1986; competed in talent contests and sent her demo tape to various industry executives; signed to Curb Records, released Jo Dee Messina, 1996; released I'm Alright, 1998; became first female solo artist to score three consecutive multiple-week number one hits from one album since Billboard's country album chart debuted in 1964; toured for several months during 1999 with George Strait Country Music Festival; released Burn, 2000; released holiday album A Joyful Noise, 2002; released Delicious Surprise, 2005; album Unmistakable completed, 2008.

Awards: American Country Music Awards, Top New Female Vocalist, 1999.

Addresses: Record company—Curb Records, 48 Music Square East, Nashville, TN 37203. Web site—Jo Dee Messina Official Web site: http://www.jodeemessina.com.

Absent from the country music scene except for the 2002 holiday album A Joyful Noise, Messina was facing competition from a whole new crop of female stars when she released Delicious Surprise in 2005. The album more than lived up to its title, rising to number one on the Billboard country chart and to number seven on the pop Billboard 200. The record was a personal one for Messina. "This record is my life for the past five years, and boy, I've lived a lifetime," she told Redbook. "There's every emotion covered. … Every song is connected to a piece of my soul—it's scary because that's me out there!" Messina had happy personal news with her marriage to entrepreneur Chris Deffenbaugh in 2007, and in 2008 she was awaiting the release of her next Curb album, Unmistakable.

Selected discography

Jo Dee Messina, Curb, 1996.

I'm Alright, Curb, 1998.

Burn, Curb, 2000.

A Joyful Noise, WEA, 2002.

Delicious Surprise, Curb, 2005.

Unmistakable, Curb (projected).

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, March 5, 1999.

Entertainment Weekly, March 27, 1998; April 12, 1996.

People,August 14, 2000, p. 35; May 3, 2004, p. 95; June 13 2005, p. 44; July 9, 2007, p. 85.

Redbook, July 2005, p. 59.

Runner's World, May 2006, p. 120.

Online

"Jo Dee Messina," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (June 29, 2008).

"Jo Dee Messina Biography," http://www.curb.com (September 24, 1999).

Jo Dee Messina Official Web site, http://www.jodeemessina.com (June 29, 2008).

—B. Kimberly Taylor and James M. Manheim

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"Messina, Jo Dee." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Messina, Jo Dee

Jo Dee Messina

Singer, songwriter

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Country singer and songwriter Jo Dee Messina enjoyed a trio of successive number one hits on Hot Country Singles & Tracks from her second album, Im Alright, released in 1998. She became the first female solo artist to score three consecutive multiple-week number one hits from one album since Billboards country album chart debuted in 1964. The high-spirited, jocular redhead was nominated for six Kahlua Boston Music Awards, a distinction traditionally earned by rock artists. She was nominated for Act of the Year and Outstanding Album, Female Vocalist, Single (Bye Bye), Video (Im Alright), and Country Act. After hearing of the award nominations, she told Billboards Chuck Taylor, I had to check my messages twice because I didnt believe it. She was also nominated for CMTs Female Vocalist of the Year, and fora Horizon Award. Messinas songs demonstrate a sassy, upbeat muscularity, and are designed to strike a familiar chord or two in the listener. Entertainment Weely said, (Messina has) a style that blends the vocal cadences of Reba McEntire with the lyrical worldliness of K.T. Oslin. Her album Im Alrightwen gold and platinum, and she won the Top New Female Vocalist award at the American Country Music Awards in 1999.

Messina was born Jo Dee Marie Messina on August 25, 1970, in Framington, Massachusetts. She was raised in Holliston, Massachusetts, by Vincent and Mary Messina, and had two sisters, Terese and Marianne, as well as a brother named Vincent. Her early musical influences include the Judds, Reba McEntire, Deana Carter, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams, Jr., Patsy Cline, and Tim McGraw. She performed in plays in the Boston area as a child, and starting at the age of 14, sang in local country bars. By the age of 16 she was performing every weekend in the Jo Dee Messina Band, which included her brother on drums and one of her sisters on bass guitar. Although she was a good student in school, she was sometimes called to the principals office for falling asleep in class due playing late night sessions. Messina knew at a young age that music was her calling, and at the age of 19 she left home for Nashville.

Messina then competed in talent contests and sent her demo tape to various industry executives. While at the Fan Fair in the mid-1990s, she approached an executive at Curb Records and said, What you guys really need overthere is a redhead. Just as the executive was about to reply, producer James Stroud approached Messina, said he had heard her demo tape, and lauded it to the skies. She was soon signed to Curb and her self-titled debut album was released in 1996, produced by Tim McGraw and Byron Gallimore. Two of her debut releases singles topped the charts: Heads Carolina, Tails California (written by Tom Nichols and Mark Sanders) and

For the Record

Born Jo Dee Marie Messina on August 25, 1970, in Framington, MA; daughter of Vincent and Mary Messina; two sisters, Terese and Marianne, brother Vincent.

Performed in plays in the Boston area as a child; sang in local country bars at age 14; left went to Nashville, 1986; competed in talent contests and sent her demo tape to various industry executives; signed to Curb Records, released Jo Dee Messina, 1996 (included Heads Carolina, Tails California, and Youre Not In Kansas Anymore); released Im Alright, 1998; became the first female solo artist to score three consecutive multiple-week number one hits from one album since Billboards country album chart debuted in 1964; Im Alright went gold and platinum; toured for several months during 1999 with the George Strait Country Music Festival.

Awards: Top New Female Vocalist, American Country Music Awards, 1999.

Addresses: Record companyCurb Records, 3907 West Alameda, Burbank, CA 91505; (818) 843-2872. Internet http://www.curb.com

Youre Not In Kansas Anymore. Messina performed 215 shows in 1996, and told Country Spotlight reporter Susanna Scott that the best gift from a fan she ever received was a stuffed white horse that neighed when tilted, which was left on the stage by a five year old. When Scott asked her what piece of advice she would most like to impart to her fans, Messina said, Dont give up.

She took her own advice to heart and stayed the difficult course. Taylor wrote, (Messina) has seen her share of industry heartache, starting with a label deal that promised to make her dreams come true and then went sour when management shifted. She signed to Curb, but saw her finances dry up between hits and came close to losing her home and car and declaring bankruptcy. She spent almost a year finding the right songs and sound for her 1998 follow-up release, Im Alright, which eventually made her one of the genuine country artist success stories of the 1990s. Robynn James, publicity director of country WYYD/WJLM in the Lynchburg/Roanoke, Virginia, area told Taylor in 1999, There are so many female singers at country radio now, and its become all the more of a challenge to break through the pack. Messina told Taylor that the struggle was well worth the ride. I dont know anything else besides country music. Ill always do some kind of music, whether its writing or doing demos or commercials. It just runs through my veins.

Messinas 1998 release, Im Alright, highlights a selection of songs about personal strength and survival. She told Taylor, I have to be able to relate to what I sing and know what the song is saying. As a singer, youre painting a picture, and you cant sing it if you dont know what it looks or feels like. Jaymes added, It seems like every record we get from her is stronger and stronger. When you think she cant get any better, she comes out with something superior. Mike Brophy, publicity director of WKLP Boston told Billboards Taylor, The beauty of her music is that its upbeat and positive. From a programming perspective, its easier to put on that kind of music than slow, sad songs.

Messinas band members include Ralph Friedrichsen on bass guitar and vocals; Tim Haires on drums; Pete Jeffrey on keyboards, vocals, and as bandleader; Stacy Kostes on acoustic guitar and vocals; Allen Love on pedal steel; and Tony Obrohta on lead guitar and vocals. Messina, who has a tenacious, feisty, and dynamic personality, has some clearly defined goals set for her future: she wants to meet Bonnie Raitt, perform with an orchestra, write an entire album, and have Shania Twain cut one of her songs. She toured for several months during 1999 with the George Strait Country Music Festival, and appeared on CBS This Morning on April 28, 1999. She told Taylor, Every day is a reward. Its all about getting out and meeting as many fans as I can and giving a little bit back to the people whove put me where Im at. Im very grateful for it all.

Selected discography

Heads Carolina, Tails California, Curb Records, 1996.

Jo Dee Messina, Curb Records, 1996.

Im Alright, Curb Records, 1998.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, March 5, 1999.

Entertainment Weekly, March 27, 1998; April 12, 1996.

Online

http://members.aol.com/JoDeeFan8/lndex.html

Jo Dee Messina Biography, http://www.curb.com (September 24, 1999).

B. Kimberly Taylor

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"Messina, Jo Dee." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Messina, Jo Dee." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved June 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/messina-jo-dee-0

Messina, Jo Dee

JO DEE MESSINA

Born: Framingham, Massachusetts, 25 August 1970

Genre: Country, Pop

Best-selling album since 1990: Burn (2000)

Hit songs since 1990: "Heads Carolina, Tails California," "I'm Alright," "Burn"


A country star with a husky, powerful voice and a mane of red hair, Jo Dee Messina was part of a wave of 1990s female vocalists, also including Trisha Yearwood and Shania Twain, who updated country music with a prominent rock and pop influence. Born and raised in New England, Messina did not fit the southern country prototype, but her brash vocals were well suited to the breezy, assured sound promoted by 1990s country radio. Overcoming significant personal obstacles to keep her career on track between albums, Messina proved that the toughness and resilience projected in her singing were genuine.

Raised in the small town of Holliston, Massachusetts, Messina longed to be a country singer from an early age, emulating the throaty, soulful style of 1970s vocalists such as Tammy Wynette and Dottie West. By her teens Messina was performing in a band with her family, becoming a well-known act on New England's country scene. Recognizing the limited options for a country singer in the northeast, Messina decided at age nineteen to move to the country music locus of Nashville, Tennessee, where she found work singing on a radio program, "Live at Libby's." Although producer Byron Gallimore heard her on the radio and soon became a supporter, Messina's true breakthrough came in 1994 at Nashville's popular Fan Fair, an annual event where country stars mingle with their fans. Backstage with her friend, up-and-coming singer Tim McGraw, Messina spotted a Curb Records executive and joked with him, "What you guys really need over there is a redhead." Aided by further recommendations from famed producer James Stroud, Messina signed with Curb and released her self-titled debut album in 1996.

Sparked by energetic hits such as "Heads Carolina, Tails California," Jo Dee Messina represents the spirited, rock-driven country sound popular in the mid-1990s. While less than perfect from a technical perspectiveher big voice sometimes strays off-pitchMessina makes up for it with her directness and honesty. Her singing projects determination and self-assurance, qualities upon which she relied after her first album's run of hits had dried up. Due to the high expense of maintaining a touring band, Messina ran into severe financial problems while recording her second album. At one point she placed her house on the market, planning to declare bankruptcy and move back to Massachusetts. Fortunately the album, tellingly titled I'm Alright, proved an even bigger success than its predecessor, crossing over from the country to the pop charts. Messina's voice, rich and compelling in its lower register, is well served on upbeat hits such as "Bye Bye," "Lesson in Leavin'," and the likable title track, which good-humoredly alludes to Messina's on-again, off-again career success: "I'm above the below / and below the upper." By the time of her third release, Burn (2000), Messina had cultivated a strong rock sound, evident on tracks such as "Dare to Dream," which blares with high-voltage electric guitar.

Following a circuitous path to stardom, Messina brought a winning directness to country music of the late 1990s and early 2000s. While falling short of the crossover fame of fellow country artist Shania Twain, Messina appealed to both country and rock fans with her hard-driving vocal style and engaging series of hits.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Jo Dee Messina (Curb, 1996); I'm Alright (Curb, 1998); Burn (Curb, 2000).

WEBSITE:

www.jodeemessina.com.

david freeland

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"Messina, Jo Dee." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Messina, Jo Dee." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved June 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/messina-jo-dee