For many musical artists, the music business has turned into a DIY model. That's the reality these days for Jo Dee Messina. After a decade-and-a-half on the Curb Records roster, the CMA award winner is on her own label, Dreambound. She does have a promotion team working her music, but music directors shouldn't be surprised if they hear a familiar voice -- or laugh on the other end of the line. Messina has taken very much a hands-on role in promoting her new single,"A Woman's Rant."
"I'm not afraid to do some extra work," the singer tells The 615. "I've got my spread sheets out on my Google Docs," she said.
"A Woman's Rant" is the second single from Messina's new album, "Me." The fans have taken a huge role with the Kickstarter-funded disc, which Messina tells Billboard came about because of her needing fresh air from a creative and business sense.
"It's been a long road. It took me a while to get out of the situation I was in for years. My label hadn't released music on me for years. Everything was changing, so I said 'If you're not going to release music, can you release me?"
However, it wasn't as simple as leave one label and find another. "But, when I got out of that deal, it wasn't a possibility for me to go off and sign with another label due to the stipulations and overrides. I couldn't just go 'Hey! Let's get a new record deal.' So, I was stuck in a spot. I realized that the way I've done business for the last fifteen years, I can't do that. It's forbidden. So, I have to find another way through the maze. I took a minute, stepped back and took a breath, and got more active with social networking with fans. I decided to do something fun. I would put a song that I wrote online and say 'If I was to make a new record, would this be on the record – thumbs up or thumbs down? Then, I had a StageIt show, where people could log on and see me perform these songs in my living room."
Working through Kickstarter hadn't crossed her mind yet – but it would soon be brought to her attention through a family member who is in the news right now.
"That's when my 19-year-old cousin, Alex Preston - who is in the top eight on 'American Idol,' comes into the picture," she says. "He's here living with me, and I told him 'We've got the songs, but it's going to take a fortune to make a record.' He said 'Why don't you do Kickstarter? Everyone is doing it.' I researched it, asked Julian King – who co-produced with me, how much it would cost to make a record,. He drew up a budget, we set the goal, and crossed our fingers that people would show up. They did. I give them all the credit. They made the record possible."
Messina had a hand in writing or co-writing seven of the 12 cuts on "Me," including the new single – which she joked was a first-hand experience.
"That was inspired by the baby," she said, referring to son Jonah. "Literally, it was a journal entry. He didn't sleep through the night until he was a year old. He would wake up every two hours. I was just exhausted and run down and had the flu. 4:30 in the morning, I heard the baby crying. I started nudging my husband, punching him, kicking him. 'Can you hear that?' He made not a sound! So I got up, fed the baby. It took about an hour, and I was wide awake. I went downstairs, and started writing in my journal - 'Six A.M, I'm out of bed, I stumble through the haze. There is no coffee strong enough to get me through today.' I had one thing going after another, and no time to stop. I was sick. What I was writing sounded like a song, so it just grew out of that."