Carolyn J. Messina
Carolyn Messina has been playing the piano since the age of 4.
She taught herself guitar at the age of 10, wrote poems at age 12, and started writing music at the age of 13. In high school, she accompanied the choir on piano and also played keyboard in the school’s award-winning jazz band. At the age of 15, she had surgery on both her wrists to repair tendon and tissue damage from “playing piano too much.” After a year of physical therapy on her hands and wrists, she was able to play piano again, but not with the same dexterity she would need to play professionally. At 17, she performed one of her original songs for the first time in public (at her high school talent show); but at the time, that was the extent of her pursuit of being a songwriter.
At age 18, a senior in high school, she was in a serious car accident and the head injuries she sustained left her with little or no memory of her life before the accident – names, faces, events were all a blur. Fortunately, she retained the ability to play music. And even though she could not remember the songs she had previously written, she had a box of cassette tapes and handwritten lyric sheets in her room – so her “original recordings” were preserved.
Carolyn graduated from William Paterson College in 1994 with a degree in Communications. She worked for various broadcast public relations firms, including DWJ Television in Ridgewood, New Jersey. While at DWJ, she had the opportunity to compose and record many instrumental works for public service announcements, corporate videos, educational films and documentaries. She received several industry awards for music created for a Habitat for Humanity “Women Raise the Roof” documentary (1998) about an all-women build in Paterson, New Jersey; as well as a special film for Christie’s Auction House (1996) on the Mauerbach Sale, a collection of items originally seized by the Nazis which were being sold for the benefit of the victims of the Holocaust.
For more than 20 years, Carolyn was actively involved in the music ministry at St. Thomas More Roman Catholic Church in Fairfield, New Jersey, singing in the choir, as well as playing piano, guitar and bass in their Contemporary Christian ensemble. She has also been Music Minister on several Cornerstone parish retreats and Archdiocesan Cursillo retreats. Carolyn’s involvement with the Archdiocese of Newark Youth and Young Adult Ministry began in January 2009 when she performed music at Essex County’s Theology on Tap. She conducted a workshop on Peer Ministry at Youthfest 2009, and performed at Youthfest 2010, opening for Stevc Angrisano and Tony Melendez. In January 2011, she completed a two-year program at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seton Hall University, earning a Certificate in Youth Ministry.
Carolyn continues to write songs and, at the age of 42, with the support and encouragement of her friends, family and fans, is pursuing her childhood dream. She performs regulary at restaurants, coffeehouses, clubs, house concerts and open mics, including The Bitter End, The Stone Pony, The Minstrel, Music at the Mission, and more. She also hosts a monthly open mic in Rockaway, NJ at Rest Stop Rejuvenate (www.RestStopRejuvenate.com)
In 2009, Carolyn recorded and produced her first CD of original music - Carolyn J. Messina - Singer/Songwriter - which is available at CDBaby.com iTunes and Amazon. The CD, which includes 12 original songs, can be ordered by visiting www.CDBaby.com/CJMessina. Individual tracks from her Singer/Songwriter CD, as well as songs from her CD "Second Chances" can be downloaded at Broadjam.com/CarolynMessina.