Jo Dee Messina brought her unique talents and story to Rutherford County Chamber‘s (Murfreesboro, Tennessee) 13th Annual Conference for Women this week, serving as the keynote speaker for a room full of females wanting to “learn, grow, and connect”. Considering Jo Dee’s rise to fame under a major record label and career shift into an entrepreneurial independent artist, the event held outside of Nashville could not have asked for a more appropriate guest.
The Rutherford Chamber accurately portrayed Jo Dee on its website as a “platinum country music artist, author and mom,” who would “share her unique story of navigating the music industry while creating her own definition of success one fiercely independent choice at a time.” And what is perhaps the most exciting thing about Jo Dee’s story is that it is still being written.
Taking a quick detour, it is important to note that today marks two years since the first time Jo Dee and I ever spoke and I was able to hear her entire story (as it stood on October 23, 2013) straight from the superstar’s mouth. At that time, she was making her public return, shouting from the rooftops that she was back; she and her record label mutually decided to leave one another out on the curb; and she was going to use the time to express her true self, free of ties that bind. Using this trying, yet liberating, time to grow as an artist and a person, Jo Dee began to evolve from a powerful artist into an even more powerful woman.
Along with her fans, Jo Dee pounded the pavement like an aspiring artist would, reaching out to everybody she could rely on in the industry to give her new music a chance. With her head held high and her tail never between her legs, she would personally call radio stations, share her single, and thank them for their support.
This all was happening while her mother was hospitalized, she was raising two young children, and she was being pulled in every which direction, needing a little downtime to focus on the career she worked so hard to achieve. This part of the story has a happy ending, as her mom traveled the road to recovery, her children are more adorable than ever (follow Jo Dee Messina on Periscope for their hilarity), and Me was released on March 18, 2014, garnering three singles, “Peace Sign”, “He’s Messed Up”, and “A Woman’s Rant”.
Since the release of the album, Jo Dee has also co-authored a book, Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Thanks to My Mom, traveled the country on tour, and released an acoustic single, “Will You Love Me?” to bridge the gap between albums. What is quite remarkable is that all of this is being done without major label support and with only a select few people around her, working internally to continue to make magic in several different areas of entertainment.
With such a beautiful story of perseverance and resilience, filled with rises and falls, Jo Dee Messina is the epitome of the type of woman Rutherford Chamber should and did call on to serve as a keynote speaker to motivate and inspire conference attendees. With the motto of “learn, grow, connect” and women eagerly sitting in the seats, taking mental notes to incorporate those elements into their lives, this singer, songwriter, author, and now speaker, who has molded an ongoing successful career by learning, growing, and connecting, undoubtedly left a lasting impression behind.
What is certain is that the impression Jo Dee always leaves behind with me is one of sincere gratitude to her fans and the country music audience. At the end of my October 23, 2013 interview with her she humbly and graciously explained:
I’m able to make music. I’m able to go out and play shows. I know the fans are there and they’re supportive and I’m grateful … I’m in a very good spot and I’m very appreciative of everything that comes my way.
That sentiment has never stopped, as the Grammy nominated, platinum-selling, Number 1 country artist continues to express her thankfulness to those who support her, advocate on her behalf, and stand beside her — a lesson of which every successful business person, male or female, should take note. Despite the ups and downs of this road we call life, Jo Dee Messina has taken the ride admirably, embracing the career challenges and changes she has faced, realizing that behind every unopened door there is possibility — you just have to be willing to turn the knob.
“If you are not open to change, you are not open to success.” – Jo Dee Messina at Rutherford Chamber Conference for Women
Photograph courtesy of the Rutherford County Chamber’s Facebook page