Those words ring loud and true, as James has just released her second album, “Somebody’s Gonna Pay”, and celebrated with a concert at the World Chicken Festival in London, Kentucky this past weekend.
Having recently left TNA and now back on the independent wrestling scene, James will be a featured guest of Hammer Town Comic Con in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on October 5. She will also be appearing at Fan Fests in Bristol, Connecticut and Albuquerque, New Mexico in the coming weeks.
WrestleNewz.com caught up with Mickie James — the only wrestler in history to hold the WWE Women’s Championship, WWE Divas Championship, and TNA Knockout Championship — to shed some light on her career in wrestling and music. Read part 1 here.
WNZ: Your voice really soars on your new album, Somebody’s Gonna Pay. When you first stepped into a recording studio, were you confident with how your voice sounded?
MJ: It’s a bit weird at first to listen to yourself back as you go, wow, is that really me? (laughs) The engineering and producing part of things was incredible though, as that’s where they get the absolute best out of your voice and out of you as a person. You can really feel your soul coming through when you work with fantastic engineers and producers.
WNZ: When did you first start singing?
MJ: Like most girls, I guess, I would sing around the house as a kid and I played violin for five years as well through middle school and high school, so I was always musical. I loved to sing around my home all the time and eventually I just started writing songs. In time I thought, this is the one thing I always wanted to do ever since I was a little girl. I had pretty much went after everything else I ever wanted to do in life so I figured, let’s at least give this a shot and record some of the songs that I wrote and see what happens. And out of those first recordings this amazing journey began. And things just kind of unfolded and I met some incredible songwriters and producers along the way. It’s just been awesome.
WNZ: Did you grow up listening to country music?
MJ: Yeah, I grew up with my parents music and my step-dad’s really into old country, outlaw style artists like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Then my real dad is into r&b and soul like James Brown. But my mom’s music is what I mostly remember because we would sing in the car. She was more of a pop fan and was into Cher and Madonna. So it was very diverse growing up, and I think that’s why I really love and have respect for all genres of music.
WNZ: How fun was it to make the video for the title track, Somebody’s Gonna Pay?
MJ: Oh my god, it was amazing and so much fun. It was really cool because Trish (Stratus) came down and guest starred in the video, along with Nick Aldis (Magnus). So I tons of my friends there along with songwriters from Nashville all come out and we just hung out all today. It was a long day obviously, because you’re shooting the scenes over and over again, trying to get all the right angles and stuff, but we just had a really good time.
WNZ: Your TNA theme song Hardcore Country is also on the new album as a bonus track.
MJ: Yeah, the whole song is like an anthem and you just can’t help but get it stuck in your head. It’s really fun to play live and it always get a good reaction. On TV, you really only get to hear the first 40 seconds, but it makes for a great theme song as the intro is really the hardest hittin’ stuff.
WNZ: Hardcore Country also has a real southern rock feel to it.
MJ: Some of my favorite music is some of that southern rock style like The Eagles and older bands from the ’70s. But I also love Journey and AC/DC, so I try to pull from all those influences and I think that’s why you can hear all that country-southern rock-soul in my music.
WNZ: When you perform your music live, do you see a lot of your wrestling fans at the shows?
MJ: I do have wrestling fans who come out to the concerts and support me, and that’s awesome. Other times there are people who have heard some of my songs and come out to hear me perform live, but aren’t all that familiar with my career in wrestling. So you get both, I find, and I’m just grateful for the support. As the word gets out though, and I continue to build my career, I hope to gain a larger and larger fanbase of music fans.
I got to open for Steppenwolf recently with John Kay, along with the band Mothers Finest, they’re out of Georgia and are freakin’ amazing! Mostly, the fans in that case are there to see the headliner, but I find at most of the shows about 70 per cent of the people know who I am through the wrestling world. And there were about 1,500 people who were there to see the whole event, and I think that was really the first time most of them saw me perform live.
WNZ: Chris Jericho has carved out a similar career for himself with his band Fozzy.
MJ: Yeah, and you can really tell that he loves it and he’s serious about it. I mean, look at the success he has now touring Australia, England, and selling out shows pretty much everywhere he goes. I think it’s awesome to be able to do something that you love equally as much as you love wrestling, because it’s a whole different side of your emotions and passions.
WNZ: Having recently left TNA, what were some of your favorite matches and storylines?
MJ: I really loved the angle where I came in with Madison (Rayne) and Tara, obviously, and to be able to have that steel cage match in the main event of the show was incredible. I also enjoyed the Falls Count Anywhere matches I had and really enjoyed working with OBD, and then Gail (Kim) recently.
But as far as matches go, that steel cage match was my first cage match ever and something I’ll never forget.
WNZ: How did it feel doing a Thesz Press off the top of the cage onto Tara?
MJ: Frightening and liberating all at the same time (laughs). Because you don’t realise how high up it really is until you look down into the inner part of the ring. But at that point you’re already committed so it’s go or blow it. And of course it’s always great to work with Tara who’s a good friend of mine.
WNZ: Who else in the wrestling business do you consider friends?
MJ: Oh, I’ve had so many incredible friends, like my friend Bobbi who traveled the roads with me when we were first coming up together. She watched me grow but since then she’s gone on to have kids and a family. Then I’ve had amazing friends like Trish and Amy (Lita), and like I said, Lisa (Tara). You catch up with each other with texts now and then most of the time, but we’ll also see each other in passing. Lisa has her restaurant now so she’s doing that, and Trish is in Toronto doing her yoga and having a baby, and all that good stuff. So with the passage of time, everybody’s lives are all on different paths that sometimes cross at wrestling events and appearances. And it’s always great to catch up with them.
WNZ: Going over to the Middle East for WWE’s Tribute to the Troops must also be a bonding experience.
MJ: It really is, connecting not only with other wrestlers but with the men and women over there sacrificing their lives. I went two years in a row and it was amazing. You got to go out and get hands-on experience and see it from the real perspective of it all. You can sit here in the U.S. and have this perception of being at war, watching the news on television and think you know what’s going on over there. But you have no idea of the living conditions or what these guys and girls are really doing on a daily basis. And they’re over there for months at a time, away from their families and friends.
So it just gave me this whole new respect for what they’re doing in the Middle East. I mean, there were some stations on the Syrian border that didn’t even have running water, so they had to Black Hawk it in. Seeing how they lived day to day was a really eye-opening experience. It’s a tough thing. And to be able to see first-hand how the military men and women lover over there and the sacrifices they make for us, then be able to perform and give back to them was a real gift. And we always did those shows around Christmas time, which I think made it even more emotional for me, as these soldiers were away from their families for the holidays.
WNZ: Do you watch wrestling on television these days?
MJ: I try to DVR the shows and catch up when I can, but no I really don’t have the time with my music and everything else. With TNA, I would watch the show that I’m on, obviously, and if I’m at an independent event I’ll try to sit back and watch most of the show. But I really don’t see much of the WWE programs on television, so I’m not all that aware of what’s going on. I probably should be watching.
WNZ: Daniel Bryan is especially hot in WWE right now.
MJ: Yes! Yes! Yes! (laughs) I did know that, and I think he’s amazing. It’s so great to see someone like him come from that whole background, through the indies and Japan and all that. And then make his way all the way up to being the world champion, that’s pretty freakin’ awesome. I think that says a lot about him and it will continue to inspire people in our business, who really, really want it and have the drive.
WNZ: What are your hopes for your future in music and wrestling?
MJ: I would love to travel the world with my music, playing in different venues and festivals and continuing to make new music. And with wrestling, I would love to go to Japan as I’ve never wrestled in a Japanese ring or wrestled in that style. I just love being a performer.
Making people feel something, whether it’s what I’m doing in the ring or on the stage, that’s what you’re looking for at the end of the day. I’ve been very blessed to have done a lot of things, and to learn a lot from a bunch of amazing people along the way. And it’s opened my eyes to how big this world really is, and how nothing is unattainable if you set your sights on it. If you truly want something, then go after it.