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Equally at home in the wrestling ring and on country music stages around the United States, pro-wrestler-turned-singer and Virginia native Mickie James will headline the sixth annual Ladysmith Day, to be held Saturday, May 3, in the Ladysmith Village Green off Library Boulevard.
James has a long connection to Ladysmith and Caroline County: her father was from Ladysmith and her grandmother owned a horse farm near Doswell. Today, James still attends Ladysmith Baptist Church off Jefferson Davis Highway.
Although she first rose to fame in the pro-wrestling world, winning multiple World Wrestling Entertainment and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling championships, in 2009 James set out on a new career as a country music singer.
“Music was always something I was very passionate about,” she said. “It was the one thing I’ve always wanted to do since I was a little girl.”
Now, with two albums under her belt—“Strangers and Angels,” released in May 2010, and “Somebody’s Gonna Pay,” released last May—James has carved out a name in the country music world, opening for nationally known performers such as Gretchen Wilson and Montgomery Gentry.
She describes her style as “a bit country southern rock.” But as might be expected of a woman whose experiences have included more than a decade in the wrestling ring, she sees herself as a little different from the typical country singer.
“I do not have traditional stamped on my forehead anywhere. I’m not the traditional girl next door who went to Nashville with a guitar and a dream,” she says. “I’m a little rougher around the edges.”
After spending a few years juggling both her wrestling and singing careers, James is taking a break from wrestling to focus on her music and prepare for the birth of her first child. Currently living in King William County, she says she’s excited to perform at Ladysmith Day, where she will appear with the Richmond-based country band Jackson Ward. Both James and Jackson Ward will perform original songs, as well as duets.
“Originally it was just going to be an acoustic set,” said James. “But I would so much rather rock it out.”
In addition to musical performances, Ladysmith Day will also include food, more than 60 vendors, a petting zoo, a moon bounce, wine tastings and a car show organized by the Ladysmith Volunteer Fire Company. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free.