Jo Dee Messina: As Humble As Humble Can Be
There are very few times in my life when I am completely lost for words just moments away from interviewing a celebrity but that is exactly what happened preceding my interview with Jo Dee Messina. In fact, Jo Dee actually reduced me to tears before I even heard one word uttered from her lips during the course of our interview. She did so through a combination of song and story that, I am quite certain, would make most mothers sob with understanding and joy.
It was the title track from her newest album, ME, combined with the first chapter of another of Jo Dee’s recent collaborations, a book called Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks to My Mom, which garnered me speechless. Individually, both bodies of work would have provoked my tears to begin to flow, but together, Jo Dee spoke to my heart in a way that reminds me of just how precious the gift of motherhood actually is. In the throes of chaos of which so many of us find ourselves each day, sometimes we fail to remember this truth. It is apparent that Jo Dee has not.
This isn’t to say that Jo Dee is anything but human. What I found absolutely charming about Jo Dee Messina is that she is extremely human as well as grounded, faith-filled, passionate, protective, confident, vulnerable, and ingratiatingly humble. In fact, Jo Dee is so humble that I had to keep reminding myself I was actually doing an interview as oppose to speaking to one of my longtime friends.
Home, caring for her six year old who fell ill that morning prior to school, this multi-platinum selling country superstar discussed the not-so-easy road she had traveled, which took her from being the latch-key kid of a single mother she adored (and still does today) to becoming the Academy of Country Music’s Top Female Artist of the Year (1999), the winner of the CMA’s prestigious Horizon Award, and the first female country artist to score three multiple-week #1 songs from the same album. It’s hard to believe that Jo Dee once considered becoming a prosecuting attorney before she packed her car up and headed south to Nashville.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Massachusetts’ loss was country music’s gain and countless fans’ who have bought over five million albums worldwide featuring the enormous vocal and written talent of Jo Dee Messina, including three #1 country albums, nine #1 country singles, and sixteen Top 40 country singles. With all of this success, you would think that Jo Dee Messina might be a tad bit self-involved. I assure you, Jo Dee is anything but.
Jo Dee’s innately giving nature is outmatched only by her deep faith in God. Her personal commitment to keeping God ‘first’ followed by her strong devotion to her family and her work constitutes the fabric of everything she does. From devoting her time and energy to the American Red Cross and numerous other cause-related organizations to helping her fans become more fit through her work as a Beach Body coach (#teamJDMFit) to caring for her, now, ailing mother, Jo Dee Messina is an inordinately super person beyond just being a superstar. It’s no wonder she has the unique ability to speak to the heart of the regular person. She has never stopped being one, herself.
In listening to her recent hit song ME, you will realize this just as I did. You will also realize from this woman - who wants only to be remembered for her service to God and others - that staying true to yourself is the most important decision you will ever make.
“Follow your heart. Follow God. And avoid the naysayers,” says Jo Dee. “This is the advice I would give to each of my fans when searching for their own happiness.”
There is no doubt there is merit to this woman’s madness as she continues to arrange her record-breaking tours around her children’s school schedules. I hasten to believe that Jo Dee Messina has, undoubtedly, discovered the ‘ME’ in her life...something to think about as each of us continues to do the same.
Along the way, you might just want to stop and listen to ME. It’s worth every tissue you will, inevitably, have to use to dry your eyes as you sit with your child struggling to break free from the bear-hug you have her locked in!
Thank you to Jo Dee Messina and Paul Freundlich Associates for making this interview possible.