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Fireworks and more: Country singer Jo Dee Messina headlines ABQ’s Freedom Fourth

The music industry has changed drastically since Jo Dee Messina burst onto the country scene in the mid-1990s.

And she’s learned to navigate those changes pretty well.

The singer recently released the single “Bigger Than This.”

She wrote the song because it was something she needed to do.

“I didn’t write this song for radio or to have plans for releasing a new album,” she says. “It’s something that I wrote, and we released it in a format for people to get it. It’s more of a song for people and not really a single by industry standards.”

Messina jump-started her career in 1996 with the single “Heads Carolina, Tails California,” which made her a household name.

She followed up that success with the album “I’m Alright,” which spawned five Top 10 country hits. The album went on to be certified double platinum and is her top-selling album.

The singles “I’m Alright,” “Bye, Bye,” and “Stand Beside Me” reached No. 1 on the country charts. And the other two releases from the album – “Lesson in Leavin’ ” and “Because You Loved Me” reached the Top 10.

As Messina’s résumé grew, she proved to be a trendsetter and history-maker, becoming the first woman in country music history to celebrate three consecutive multiweek, chart-topping songs.

She later created Dreambound Records and released the album “Me” in 2014.

Her writing process hasn’t changed much, but she says she writes as a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend.

She is still fueled by faith and love and pours her heart and soul into every task she takes on.

She says “Bigger Than This” was written from an earth-shattering place, and things in her life were nothing like they appeared.

“All the stuff that was hidden (was) starting coming to light,” she says. “The only real thing I had was God, and it was a time of leaning on him for me. I realized that it isn’t always about us. When we get selfish and focus on ourselves, that’s when we lose sight of what we’re here for.”

Messina is no stranger to the Duke City; she is married to Albuquerquean Chris Deffenbaugh. She’s also performed in the city numerous times.

“I think the last time I was there, I played the State Fair,” she says with a laugh.

Messina also keeps on top of watching sermons by Pastor Todd from Sagebrush Church all the way from her Nashville, Tenn., home.

“I really admire him,” she says. “He’s approachable, and he doesn’t feel like he’s beating you. Todd is the real deal, and it’s apparent in his preaching where his heart is. That’s why I watch him every week.”

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