Country stars descend on UNF

Spinnaker

UNF welcomed several musical acts to its campus Oct. 10 and 11. Tracy Byrd brought his own style of country to the Robinson Theatre Oct. 10. Country superstars Billy Currington and Jo Dee Messina, accompanied by Alex Winston, rocked out the UNF Arena Oct. 11. The Spinnaker got the opportunity to sit down with Jo Dee Messina and Alex Winston and talk to them about their music careers and their experiences at UNF.

Jo Dee Messina

How does it feel to be on tour with Billy Currington?
“I’ve only done a few shows with him here and there, but I think we match up pretty well.”

What advice would you give to amateur musicians?
“Do what you love to do. There was a sign in my dressing room here at UNF that I really liked that said ‘If you think you are going to fail you will fail, but if you think you are going to succeed you will succeed.’ You have to believe in yourself.”

What do you love most about singing?
“I love the entertainment aspect of it. Being able to come out on stage and experiment with harmonies and other fun musical things is a blast. It is so much fun for me to come out and duplicate what I do in the studio for my audience.”

How was your experience at UNF?
“It has been awesome.  My dressing room was in great shape and the staff have been really nice to me. Plus I got to tour your beautiful campus and even go for a short jog.  It’s been a lot better than most big-time coliseums.”

What’s your favorite venue you’ve ever played at?
“UNF.”

What is the message you try to portray in your music?
“I try to put something in there that the whole family can love and enjoy.”

If you could be any animal what would you be?
“I would be my dog.  She’s so spoiled rotten. She gets to lay around the house all day and get whatever she wants.”

Alex Winston

How does it feel to be on tour with Billy Currington and Jo Dee Messina?
“Well I’m not really a country artist, but I love playing with them. I feel that country is where a lot of my music is rooted in, so I love to listen and learn from great artists like them.”

What advice would you give to amateur musicians?
“Keep doing what you love. I’ve been singing since I was 10 and I’ve ran into a lot of obstacles, but if it’s truly what you love to do, then you shouldn’t let anything get in the way.”

What do you love most about singing?
“I love singing because I feel that it’s the one thing I can do to show my inner voice. I feel like every time I sing I’m giving people a glimpse at who I am.”

How was your experience at UNF?
“I’ve been doing college shows for a while, and UNF has definitely been a really great place to play at. Everyone has been really nice to me here.”

What’s your favorite venue you’ve ever played at?
“My first show when I was 18. I was opening for Ted Nugent in front of 7,000 people. It scared me to death, but at that moment I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life. This show at UNF has probably been my second favorite.”

What is the message you try to portray in your music?
“Have fun.”

If you could be any animal what would you be?
“I would be an owl because I feel it fits my personality well. I stay up all night, and I have big beady eyes.”

Compiled by John Weidner.