Jo Dee Messina On Her Success: ‘I Owe So Much To Tim McGraw’

By her own admission, Jo Dee Messina owes a lot to Tim McGraw. The singer-songwriter says it was McGraw who not only helped launch her career, but trusted her instincts, even when no one else did.

“Tim stood up for certain songs that I hoped were going to be on that album when I was too frightened to say anything,” Messina told The Gazette. “I thought that I couldn’t disagree with anyone at the label, but he fought for the songs he thought would help me become successful, and he was right. I owe so much to Tim McGraw, who is one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet in this business.”

It was McGraw who co-produced Messina’s four studio albums on Curb, including her eponymous debut, which included the hit single, “Heads Carolina, Tails California.” He also joined her on No. 1 single, “Bring On The Rain,” from her third studio album, Burn.

Messina recently got to see McGraw, when they were performing at the same event. It was a reunion that meant a lot to Messina, who was able to finally reconnect with her old friend.

“We had so much fun doing this show, but what moved me was when we spoke,” Messina said. “Tim believed in me when no one knew who I was.”

The Michigan native just released her new single, “Just To Be Loved,” inspired by her two sons.

“I’m raising two boys, who are 11 and 14 and my boys don’t have cell phones,” Messina explains. “I saw a text from a girl on my phone to my son, who just went a little too far in an effort to be loved. That inspired the song. It’s frightening what’s happening with kids today.

“Kids are taking their own lives,” she continues. “Cell phones are like loaded guns. There’s bullying on social media and it’s sad. It’s important for them to realize who they are, and they’re wonderful. God made them with a purpose and they are perfect the way they are.”

Messina enjoyed an unexpected, but very welcome, return to the spotlight, when Cole Swindell had a No. 1 hit with “She Had Me At Heads Carolina,” a twist on Messina’s “Heads Carolina, Tails California,” for his latest Stereotype album. He also released a remix of the song, featuring Messina.

Messina’s Heads Carolina, Tails California: The Best of Jo Dee Messina, featuring 11 of Messina’s biggest hits, is out now. She also hints she might have more new music to share with the world in the near future.

“I’ve been writing a lot,” Messina reveals. “I’ve been so inspired. Melodies are pouring out of me. Prepare for lots of songs from me. I’m just so thankful, since looking back on my life, it wasn’t pretty. I’m grateful for every day. I grew up poor and I’ve been so blessed with my career and family — and then there are the fans who come out and who have been so supportive.”

Messina is currently on her headlining Heads Carolina, Tails California Tour. Find “Just To Be Loved” and all of Messina’s music and upcoming shows at