Interview with Canadian country star Shania Twain.
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When Shania Twain's parents were both killed in a car accident when she was 21, chaos took full effect in her life. Left to raise her five brothers and sisters, her music career got somewhat put on hold. But her life has turned into a fairy tale, and is now far from any sad country song found on an old juke box in a bar in the middle of nowhere.
Today, Shania Twain is causing ears to perk up. Her catchy new single, "Who's Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" is all over country radio and is currently is in the Top Ten. But it's been a bit of a mountain climb for this singer/songwriter. Her trek begins in a small town in Ontario.
Twain moved her siblings to Huntsville, Ontario, where she would spend years performing at a local resort to support her family. As a child, her parents were obsessed with having her sing country music publicly; it was a task she hated as a young girl, but one she would be grateful for as an adult.
While she was working at the resort, she began to hone her act and develop the songwriting skills she had cultivated starting at age 10. By the time her brothers and sister were old enough to be on their own, Twain was ready to go full speed ahead with a career in country music.
"I'm an old fashioned person and I think country music helps me stay true to that," she admitted recently while stopping in Edmonton, Alberta on a cross-Canada promotional tour.
And so it all began. Shania Twain's first self-titled CD was released and turned out to be a commerial flop. She didn't mind though. It was a recording effort that merely showcased her voice and not her songs. It was also a project that brought her to the attention of people who would give her career and her personal life a major boost.
Actor/director Sean Penn, through mutual associates, was introduced to Twain and directed one of her videos. Actress Bo Derek and her husband John photographed Twain for the CD cover of her latest release, The Woman In Me. And amazingly enough producer Mutt Lange, most noted for his work with Def Leppard and for co-writing the top-selling single ever with Bryan Adams ("Everything I Do, I Do It For You") heard her debut effort and tracked her down. The two of them began co-writing songs together and he produced The Woman In Me. Twain and Lang are now married.
Most of the new CD was written while the two were travelling around the world on their honeymoon. Twain still marvels at how she - a die-hard country singer - and her pop/rock producer/husband worked so well together.
"We work well together because we come from opposite places," she said. "We compliment each other. He listens to country music for pleasure and I am the opposite. We love what each other does and we respect each other as well."
You got to admit, things have worked out well for Twain. Timing and experience seem to always be on her side.
"If I would have tried to pursue my career before the time was right, I don't think I would have been a fresh face with a fresh voice. I was held back long enough that when it was time for me to go for it, I was ready for them and they were ready for me."
(originally published in VUE Weekly, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
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