Jo Dee Messina’s ‘Delicious Surprise’ |

Jo Dee Messina’s ‘Delicious Surprise’

Laura A. Ball

BEAVER CREEK – Getting ready to tour on her fourth studio album, “Delicious Surprise,” country star Jo Dee Messina is at home in Nashville Wednesday morning, packing her things and kissing her dogs – Bella, Russell, Gizmo and Buddy – goodbye.VD: What is your first musical memory? I just remember sitting at the piano, the way it felt, how big it was, how my legs felt hanging from the bench and reaching for the keys and how big the keys felt. My mom actually has a picture of me when I’m 9-months old at the piano.VD: What’s a typical day in the life of Jo Dee Messina like?When I’m on the road, I get up in the morning, eat something and do my run, around six miles. I’m training for the Boston Marathon right now. When I’m up there is my final training run. Then I’ll grab a snack, maybe lunch, take a shower, do soundcheck, sign autographs, then hair and makeup, then meet and greet, then vocal warm-ups, then do the show, then go to bed. work on the show. When I’m at home I get up and do interviews, run, go to the gym, hopefully I’ll get to babysit my nephew, and I come home and write.VD: Your first public performance was at the age of 6, You were performing with a band at 13. At 19, you moved away from home to Nashville where you eventually recorded your self-titled debut. I think people have a false sense that stars are overnight successes. What were those years like in between?I was singing in clubs four nights a week in Boston. My first year in Nashville I didn’t do anything but survive. I got a job as a bartender, and I’d never had a drink in my life. I was a train wreck. That only lasted five weeks by the way. I started entering talent contests for survival, so I could win money to pay the rent. I won the chance to do a radio show. For 6 months I lived my life for Saturday when I would drive to Kentucky to do the radio show. That’s when my producer found me. There are a lot of fakes in the business but something made me call this Byron Gallimore guy back. He told me, “I’m working with this guy named Tim McGraw.” No one knew who Tim was. I got a deal with RCA records. McGraw came to my showcase. He said, ‘When you make it big time, you better not forget me.” A year later, “Indian Outlaw” came out, and I had lost my record deal. Tim told me he was my biggest fan and told the record company that I needed my own album and he would pay for it. He said, “If you like it, you can buy me out.” They did.VD: You’re touring on our fourth studio album, “Delicious Surprise,” how does this album compare with the others? This album is my favorite. It took me five years to make this record. If there are no jams in the system, it usually takes a year and a half. But there were a lot change in the industry the past few years. Usually when I finish an album, I’m ready to start a new project. I can’t move past this album yet. There’s too much life left. It’s strong from beginning to end.VD: What’s your favorite song to perform live? “It Gets Better” means so much to me, and “Life is Good” is so much fun. VD:In “It Gets Better,” you talk about coming face to face with the devil, can you elaborate? A lot of people think it’s my demons. They just assume. It’s actually a person, but I can’t tell you who.VD: Who are you musical heroes and why? It’s too hard to limit. Reba, she’ s very blue collar, and the Judds, because they’re very cutting edge. Bonnie Raitt, she’s timeless and she has this love it or leave it attitude. My iPod looks like someone ate a bunch of music and threw it up. My bass player and I were talking about that. There’s no rhyme or reason. You can’t format someone’s mind or taste. It’s so vast.VD: Madonna says she’s successful because she never listened to anyone when they criticized her, and she never gave up. What do you think made you a successful musician? First of all, I can see what she’s talking about, but I didn’t do that. I changed who I was to the point where I would look in the mirror and I would say, “Who is that?” I wasn’t thin enough for this person or girly enough for this person. If I could go back, I wouldn’t compromise who I am and I would never question my gut.VD: Do you ski or snowboard? I grew up in New England, so I do ski. I have a few snowboards and tried to learn a while ago. I had an instructor holding my hand as we went down the big jo mama hill. I’ll be looking for a snowboard instructor to reteach me when I come out there. I want a can of oxygen, too.Vail, Colorado

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