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Even with success, Messina still faces obstacles

November 01, 2007|By JULIE E. GREENE

Jo Dee Messina said her life is like a marathon - "Nothing happens overnight."

"I've never been a huge overnight success. I gradually built my career, my family. Everything in my life is gradual. It's a good pace now that I'm at a good spot," she said.

And just like when she set out to run an actual marathon, it has paid off in her career to ignore the naysayers, said Messina, 38, who lives in Nashville.

Even now, after selling five million albums and having nine No. 1 singles on Billboard charts, the country singer still faces obstacles in her career - even as basic as releasing a new album.

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Messina's latest album, "Unmistakable," has been sitting on the shelves at her record label, Curb Records, waiting for a business deal to be ironed out, she said in a phone interview in mid-October.

But that won't keep Messina from sharing some of the tunes from "Unmistakable" with the audience at her concert at The Maryland Theatre on Saturday night. Opening for Messina will be The Freddie Long Band, a regional band that plays a blend of pop, rock and soul.

Messina expects to perform new music as well as popular hits such as "Bye Bye," "I'm Alright," "Bring on the Rain," and "My Give A Damn's Busted."

Messina said she ran into the same delays with her previous album, "Delicious Surprise." "It sat there for five years on the shelf," said Messina, who hopes the turnaround on "Unmistakable" isn't as long.

Messina said the holdup has nothing to do with her, it's just part of the music industry these days.

Something else artists and the industry are dealing with these days, something she's more in favor of, is the ability of music fans to download individual songs from sites such as iTunes, where Messina's "Biker Chick" single is available.

"I think that's great and I think it puts pressure on artists and labels not to put out crap," Messina said. If an artist puts out an album with two songs that are expected to do well and the rest of the songs are filler to create a full album, people can go online and buy what they like. "It keeps everybody on their toes," she said.

Speaking of toes, Messina was still pretty sore when she spoke to The Herald-Mail. She had recently completed the 26.2-mile Chicago Marathon, even though organizers were telling runners to stop due to unseasonably high heat and a shortage of water for runners. She was about halfway through when the announcement came, and she decided to keep going.

"I was so proud of myself for finishing," she said. Messina said she started running to get in shape, but ended up running the Boston Marathon last year after she mouthed off during an interview about wanting to run it one day. Organizers called her on it.

Messina said some people asked her why she would run a marathon.

"'You're crazy. It's so hard, so difficult,'" Messina said, quoting doubters. "I think if you let all the negative stuff in, of course you focus on it and nothing happens."

She had the same attitude, she said, when she set out for Nashville at age 19 to build a music career. She pushed aside the comments about how difficult it would be.

This fall, Messina said she's focused on home, touring and getting married. And, despite her latest album being in limbo, Messina said life is good.




If you go ...



WHAT: Jo Dee Messina

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3

WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown

COST: Tickets cost $35 to $70

MORE: For tickets, call the box office at 301-790-2000 or stop by the box office from

8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, or go to www.mdtheatre.org.

A regional rock 'n' roll band, The Freddie Long Band, will open for Messina.

To learn more about Jo Dee Messina, go to www.jodeemessina.com.

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