Jo Dee Messina comes to Shooting Star Casino on Oct. 17

The title of Jo Dee Messina's latest album, "ME," is a statement in a couple of different ways: It's the first release from her own, newly-formed record label, Dreambound Records, and seven of its 12 tracks feature songs where she is listed as th...

County singer Jo Dee Messina will rock the stage at Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen Oct. 17. SUBMITTED PHOTO

The title of Jo Dee Messina’s latest album, “ME,” is a statement in a couple of different ways: It’s the first release from her own, newly-formed record label, Dreambound Records, and seven of its 12 tracks feature songs where she is listed as the songwriter or co-writer.

“I’m an independent artist now,” says Messina - which means she was able to exert far more artistic control over the songs that were chosen for her album, and which ones would be released as radio singles.

“Before, it was some guy sitting in a cubicle trying to guess what would be a hit song,” she added.

With “ME,” Messina decided to turn the choice of which songs would make the album over to the people who had one of the biggest stakes in that decision: Her fans.

“This album was pretty much put together by the fans,” she says - in fact, even the album title itself was fan-chosen.


She took to the crowd-funding website to create a new, full-length album for her fans, while allowing them to be involved in every step of the recording process.

“It started with me posting songs on my social (media sites),” she said.

From there, it was a process of “letting the public tell you what they want… giving the fans a voice.”

Having her own label has also allowed Messina the freedom to fully explore her own voice as well.

“I’m not trying to fit into a box that someone else sees me in,” Messina says. “My music doesn’t really have a genre or a set format. I’m not chasing what’s currently on the radio.”

Fortunately, she adds, “The fans love it.”

Messina’s decision to break with her former record label and go independent came after years of watching her music get shelved.

“My previous label was not releasing my material, so I asked to be released (from the contract),” she said. “It took a few years to negotiate that exit.”


But the outcome was worth the wait.

“It does give me creative freedom,” she said.

Messina will visit Mahnomen’s Shooting Star Casino on Friday, Oct. 17 for an 8 p.m. show.

The country music chart-topper says her concert will be “a mix of new material and the hits. I also share stories about the songs and what inspired them, why I chose them. We have a great time on stage. The audience picks up on that, and they have fun with it too, which gives that energy back to us.”

In fact, Messina said, even though they are “constantly on tour,” she and her band have a great time off stage as well - particularly since she is able to take her husband and two small children (aged 2 and 5) along on the road with her.

“We travel as a family,” she said.

In short, Messina has no regrets.

“This is pretty much the only thing I’ve ever done, or wanted to do,” she said of her music career. “I spent a lot of time by myself as a kid… music was my companion. It helps you work through stuff.”


Faced with the choice of college or continuing to pursue her music, Messina decided to drive to Nashville “and give this singing thing a shot.”

So far, so good. Since breaking onto the Nashville scene in 1996 with her first hit single, “Heads Carolina, Tails California,” Messina has had nine No. 1 country hits and a total of 16 top 40 singles, sold more than 5 million albums worldwide and won a display case full of awards.

Tickets for her Oct. 17 show in Mahnomen are available online at , by calling 1-800-313-SHOW (7469), or via the “Buy Tickets” tab on Shooting Star’s Facebook page: .

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes .

A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at
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