The song “Heads Carolina, Tails California” helped put country singer Jo Dee Messina on the map, and soon the compass will point the singer toward North Texas.
Messina will perform new music and some of her most iconic hits at Tannahill’s Tavern and Music Hall on April 14.
Best known for hits like “Bye, Bye,” “Lesson in Leavin’,” and “Heads Carolina, Tails California,” Messina made a name for herself in the 1990s a bevy of hits on Billboard’s “Hot Country Songs” and “Hot 100” charts.
If you go
What: Jo Dee Messina Concert
Time: 8 p.m.
Date: April 14
Location: Tannahill’s Tavern and Music Hall
Tickets: Starting at $47
The singer pulled back on touring, writing and performing for several years to focus on her family and, later, her health. Now that her kids are starting to get older, Messina has been writing more frequently.
“I started having a passion for creating again and for writing, and then people out of the blue started calling me, asking me to write,” she said over the phone. “It’s never happened before.”
Recently, she’s been able to collaborate with pop, country and Christian writers, and refuses to let anyone put her into a box at this point in her career.
While sitting in the writing room, Messina and her colleagues were talking about the things that they’ve seen coming across their kids’ cell phones and the pressures of social media.
“And it really broke my heart, people selling out and changing who they are,” she said.
Out of that session, came one of the first songs off of her new album “Just To Be Loved.”
“The gist of the song is, don’t change who you are just to be loved because God made you perfect. He made you priceless,” she said.
Even though the technology is different, the pressure is something that Messina experienced early on in her career.
She remembers looking at images from a photo shoot and not recognizing herself.
“It’s got to be real. It’s got to be honest. I went head to head with people and they would say she’s difficult,” she said. “And if being true to yourself means being labeled difficult, then I carry that, I guess because… again, I keep saying God makes us all so unique so we can have something else to add to the puzzle.”
Messina is comfortable in her own skin and said she doesn’t take the opportunity to perform for granted.
“This is not anything that I’ve conjured up. This is a gift,” she said. “And so when I go out there, I do share the gospel because I’m like, OK, ‘Lord, you’ve given me this opportunity.’ It’s not about me. It’s about Him.”
Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.