Dee Messina Makes A Delicious Return
By Wendy Newcomer: CMA Close
Up News Service
Photo By: Jon Scarpati
been five years since Jo Dee Messina released an album of all
new music. But with the success of "My Give a Damn's
Busted" - her fastest-rising No. 1 single - the long
absence has hardly tarnished her career. In fact, the
award-winning, multi-Platinum star now finds herself once again
in the national spotlight. Just don't call it a comeback.
see it as a saving grace," said Messina, who spent the last
year undergoing a public and personal overhaul; she ended a
nine-year relationship, sought treatment for alcohol addiction
and replaced her manager and publicist.
was just time," she said of the changes. "I was very
shielded, protected and instructed for a long time. I had
reached a point where I would look in the mirror and be staring
at a stranger. [Looking back] I think everything was a blessing:
shutting down last year, taking a break, stepping off the
spent time reconnecting with family in Massachusetts. "I
hung out with cousins and uncles and the whole Messina clan -
the people where I came from," she said. "And I found
the most amazing person: I found myself again -the dreamer - the
one who has faith in herself, who wants to sing and loves the
simple things. I rediscovered that person I had lost in a
family solace came just in time. She'd been anxiously waiting
for her new CD, Delicious Surprise, to be released.
"It was as if someone had put me in a straitjacket and
thrown me in the corner," she said of the album release
delays at Curb Records. "It was really hard. I had a lot of
material that we were chomping at the bit to share with the
public. But for whatever reason, the record wasn't ready. And to
finally have it come out, I was able to take a deep breath and
just say: 'It's out!'"
it came with a bang. Her fourth studio album spent two weeks at
No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, and
debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 - Messina's first
Top 10 entry on that chart. "I had no expectations,"
she declared. "I just knew that I loved music and wanted to
share it, and here was my opportunity.
that happened after the release of the single was just
gravy." The 13-track album features five songs written or
co-written by Messina, and she shares producer credits with
Byron Gallimore and Mark Bright.
had gotten past the worry point," Messina continued.
"In the last few months before the record was released it
was as if I had come to a peaceful spot of just enjoying what I
mood was considerably feistier when she discovered the kiss-off
chart-topper, "My Give a Damn's Busted," written by
Joe Diffie, Tony Martin and Tom Shapiro. "The day I went
out looking for that song, I was in such a sassy mood," she
recalled. "They played it and I grabbed it. We've all
reached that breaking point, whether it's work-related or with
personal relationships, love, life, family, whatever. You throw
up your hands and say, 'Ugh. My give a damn's busted!'"
was a fitting message from Messina, whose career is replete with
spunky, empowering tunes, from "Heads Carolina, Tails
California," and "Bye Bye," to "I'm
Alright" and "Bring on the Rain."
despite her public persona, Messina insists the real woman is
quite different. "The perception has more grit than the
real person," she admitted. "I think people think I'm
a bit more wild than I am. I'm a homebody. I'll hide in the
corner at the award shows because I don't want to get in
anyone's way. I get embarrassed when people see me without
makeup. I am shy in public situations where people don't know
who I am.
I've taken some really big steps in the last few months to reach
out ... if you catch me offstage, at the grocery store, you'll
see a person you don't know. Someone who's a bit more reserved
than most would think."
perhaps - save the photos accompanying her new CD, which shows
the singer in a midriff-baring cropped top, and inside she
appears au natural, except for a pair of boxer briefs and combat
boots. It's clear she's found peace with her newly-sleek body,
as well as her music.
worked at it," she stressed of her streamlined figure.
"It's a conscious effort every day. I'm not doing Atkins or
The Zone. It's not a specific diet. I'm doing what's right for
me - lots of vegetables, fruits, proteins, natural fats, oils
and nuts. Not a lot of processed stuff."
yet another phase of a new life that Messina describes as
"simple." "There's a lot of stuff going on in my
life," she explained, "but what I hold close are the
simple things: my family, my friends, my music. My happiness
comes from the simplest things - and that's where I'm at right
now in my life."
for her old life, there's only one thing she misses - and track
nine which she co-wrote with Mike Reid, "Love Is Not
Enough," on Delicious Surprise gives it away.
"I miss the love of my life," revealed Messina, of her
longtime relationship with former tour manager Don Musquiz that
ended last year. "It's funny, because of all the press
[regarding the alcohol rehabilitation] a lot of people think my
biggest struggle is to not pick up a drink."
my biggest struggle is just trying to get through one day
without thinking about him. It's been over a year, and I
sometimes still can't sing 'Love Is Not Enough'. It's either
vomit or cry. But it gets better every day - and I still
smile returns when the conversation shifts to the album's title
cut (co-written by Beth Hart and Glen Burtnik) and follow-up
single to "My Give a Damn's Busted." "The gist of
it is, 'You just gotta believe, anything is possible,'" she
explained. "If you stop believing, there's no hope. It also
paints a picture that sounds very much like me. If you do
finally reach your goal, you add a little bit of quirkiness to
make it your own.
example, some lines of the song are, 'If I won me the lottery,
I'd dance naked in the street with a top hat full of money . If
only I was President, You know I'd paint the White House pink
and never have to pay the rent. If only I was President .' You
pick those achievements and make them your own. That's what I
see in the song. It's the ultimate dreamer's message."
would this dreamer really dance naked in the streets?
I won the lottery, sure! Definitely now, since I've lost all the
weight. I just wouldn't show my backside to anybody," she
added with a giggle.
first song on Delicious Surprise, "Not Going
Down," (written by Shaunna Bolton and Kevin Savigar)
declares that no matter what happens, giving up is not an
option. It's a credo that Messina now lives by, and a message
she's proud to proclaim throughout the new CD.
not saying this album is great," Messina said. "I'm
saying I, Jo Dee Messina, love this record and I'm proud of it.
Whether anyone else in the world likes it I don't know. There's
nothing on there that's trying too hard, trying to fit or be
something. It's all just real."
On the Web: www.jodeemessina.com
2005 CMA Close Up News Service / Country Music Association, Inc.
purchase this CD, Click
you like this album? Did you hate it? Submit
a "Real People Review"