Mickie James not only lives up to her “Hardcore Country” moniker in TNA Impact Wrestling but in music as well.
The multi-time women’s champ is gearing up to release the follow-up to her 2010 debut album “Strangers & Angels” with “Somebody’s Gonna Pay” on Tuesday, May 7.
When her first CD came out, James was on her way out of WWE.
This time around the veteran wrestler is among the top knockouts in TNA, and the Virginian believes she has grown as an artist with her sophomore musical effort.
“So much has changed not only in my life, but in my career as well since the release of the first album,” James said. “I wanted the album itself to represent and relate to that…I was getting such great songs, so I wanted to make sure the songs that I did write for the album measured up to these songs. I learned a lot from that first album, and I’m still learning.”
James juggled her pro wrestling career with working on the project over the course of a year. During that period she says she took time to find the right producer, choose the right songs and bringing it all together in the studio. James put the same dedication into making an album she can be proud of as she does in putting on the best show in the ring. The hybrid grappler-country singer described the process as a “big learning experience.” The knockout feels she is showing a little more of herself this time around.
“I feel like this one is a little bit more rough around the edges,” James said. “The first album I had written some of the songs on there, but I didn’t know who I was as much as a performer off stage and stylistically who I was. So I went more for the traditional style of country and what was playing on the radio. This time, with the people who were beside me and the changes in my life, I’m a little more fearless as far as breaking down boundaries and walls and not caring about what everyone as a whole thinks.
“I do hope that they do love it, but it was more about putting out music that I love, that I want to hear and hopefully that my fans want to hear. I’m trying to be a little more true to myself because I am a little rough around the edges. My story is different than a lot of people, so for me to stay in some type of mold that a female country artist is supposed to be is ridiculous because that is not who I am. With the right people behind me and guiding me and telling me it’s OK to be who I am. That’s what makes it different and me unique.”
Her passion for music reverts to the five years she spent playing the violin in school.
“Obviously I know in the music industry that doesn’t really amount for a ton,” James said, “but I’ve always been creative in writing short stories and poetry. I started writing music in the car when we were on the road 200-and-something days of the year. Then often times we would have a 200-mile drive after the show, so it left me in the car doing a lot writing. Out of that, I started writing lyrics to songs that were already on the radio and were already hits, but switching it up and writing my own lyrics. That’s where I started writing music from my life.”
From there, an idea was born to take some of the songs she wrote to Music City USA, not knowing what to expect. James decided to give a new facet of entertainment a shot and test the waters.