Video: Hot performances

By MSNBC-TV Entertainment
updated 6/30/2005 5:12:53 PM ET 2005-06-30T21:12:53

Country singer-songwriter Jo Dee Messina is an award-winning, multi-platinum recording artist.

With nine No. 1 singles under her belt, she has also been honored by the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music and Grammy Awards.

Messina is also the first female country artist ever to score three multiple-week No. 1 songs from the same album.

Watch MSNBC Entertainment Hotlist this Sunday (July 3) at noon and 5 p.m. Eastern for an up-close-and-personal interview with Jo Dee, as well as a live performance of her latest hit, the title track off her new CD, "Delicious Surprise."

To read excerpts from the interview, continue to the text below. To watch Jo Dee's live performance on video, click on the 'launch' button to the right.

Hotlist: After five years in the making, let's talk about the new album - what was your inspiration?

Messina: I think I did a lot of living in the process of making this record. I went through a breakup, struggled with my career, my personal life, grew distant from my family just because I was running crazy so much and I got my feet knocked out from under me. You live my life when you listen to that record.

Hotlist: Do you have a favorite song on the record?

Messina: You know to ask if I have a favorite song on the record really would depend on the day.  You know the tough days, it gets better - as a great lift-me-up kind of a song, you know you're kind of irritated, or you feel like you've been left high and dry, "Where were you?" is a great song.  You know, you just want to celebrate life: "Delicious surprise" or "Life is good."  It all kind of depends on the day. I can't say I have one favorite song - they're like my children, I love them all!

Hotlist: Do you find it more difficult to sing songs written by other songwriters rather than the ones you write yourself?

Messina: It doesn't matter to me really whether I write the songs or someone else writes them.  If I relate to them or I'm passionate about the message, I mean that's what makes me gravitate towards a song.  If the material's there and I didn't write it, it's not like, "I can't sing that!" Oh yeah, I'm going to grab it!

Hotlist:  Is songwriting for you a form of therapy?

Messina:  Writing for me is just really a way to get out whatever it is I'm feeling.  If I'm ecstatic, you know, I'm going to like write down some really happy, wonderful words. If I'm struggling with something, writing helps me get through it. So it is kind of therapeutic for me.

Hotlist: Your songs seem to be therapeutic for your fans as well.

Messina: I pretty much feel it's because I'm not writing about anything that not everyone has been through.  Everyone has had their heart broken, everyone struggles, everyone feels like giving up every now and again, everyone feels like you know 'Ugh, how am I going to live to see tomorrow?"  That's what's so wonderful about music, and makes it so universal - there are no boundaries.  You're talking about emotions, and we all got them.

Hotlist: Let's talk about your new song and title-track of the CD, "Delicious Surprise."  Where did that come from?

Messina: "Delicious Surprise" -- the ultimate dreamer's song.  Believe that anything's possible and when you do reach your dream, when you do get there, add your own little bit of quirkiness to it.  If you win the lottery, dance naked in the street with a top hat full of money.  Or if you're the president, paint the Whitehouse pink. 

Hotlist: Who are your biggest musical influences?

Messina: Different people impress me over the years but the first people that had an impact on me musically were Dolly Parton, she was one of the first female singer-songwriters that I was aware of and I was greatly impressed by that. Tammy Wynette, same thing, Loretta Lynn, same thing. I really have the utmost respect for those ladies because at their time there were hardly female singers, never mind writers and singers. 

Hotlist: How was it working with Tim McGraw on this album?

Messina: He's had a part in all my albums up to Delicious Surprise; he was producing on the front-end of that record. With him, it's always big - you know, the room is always big.  He's always got a lot of ideas, and he's always got excitement and enthusiasm for what he's doing.

Hotlist: You've got quite a list of achievements. Time to rest on your laurels?

Messina: You know, I love to do what I do.  You read all the stuff that we've accomplished and I don't know that I recognize that some of those things you know when people read all the things that I've done in my career, I'm like "Oh I did that?"  think the most important thing right now is that I'm enjoying myself - enjoying the ride - we have this new record out that I'm stoked about it - it finally is out!  And the fans have been really receptive so that's where I'm at, just at a grateful place right now.

Watch MSNBC Entertainment Hot List each Sunday from 12-1 p.m., repeating at 5-6 p.m. (ET).

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