'Downtime' doesn't make Messina 'Unbreakable' (Created February 27, 2013)
She grew up emulating stars like Reba McEntire, Wynonna Judd and Dolly Parton. But Jo Dee Messina has blazed her own path through the country music world over the last 17 years (and counting), thanks to hit songs like "I'm Alright" and "Stand Beside Me." The red-headed spitfire from New England not only proved she belonged in country circles, but briefly crossed into the pop scene while her songs burned up the charts.
Messina got the performing bug early in life, starring in musical plays at age eight and playing local clubs by the age of 16. Three years later, she moved to Nashville and made the rounds at local talent competitions, winning a slot on the radio show Live at Libby's. It wasn't long before Messina caught the attention of producer Byron Gallimore, befriended a hot country upstart by the name of Tim McGraw, and got her foot in the door at Curb Records. The rest, as they say, was history.
An eponymous debut album, released in 1996, put Messina on the map thanks to the Top Ten hits "Heads Carolina, Tails California" and "You're Not in Kansas Anymore." Her sophomore effort made her the first female country artist to have three multiple-week number one hits from the same album: "Bye Bye," "I'm Alright" and "Stand Beside Me." And with the wind at her back, she drifted into the pop realm with her third album, 2000's "Burn." Not only did it climb to the top of the charts, songs like the title track, "That's the Way," "Downtime" and "Bring on the Rain" solidified her as the reigning queen of country.
Though it took five years for an official follow-up to "Burn," Messina's next album also peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. It would, however, be her last trip to the top. A stint in rehab for alcoholism, a slew of failed singles and EPs that failed to gain traction put her career on the back burner while she focused on her family. But Messina recently kicked off 2013 in full writing mode, and in early February she produced a downloadable single and streaming music video for a song that has summed up her career – "Unbreakable."
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