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Twain, Shania

Shania Twain

Singer

Early Passion for Music

Tragedy Led to Responsibility

A New Relationship

Sought Normalcy in Switzerland

Selected discography

Sources

Shania Twain burst onto the country charts with The Woman in Me is 1995, a spunky country star with an upbeat attitude and supermodel looks. Her follow-up album, Come On Over, surpassed the ten-times platinum sales of The Woman in Me, eventually selling over 34 million copies worldwide, firmly establishing Twain as a top force in contemporary music. Her rollicking brand of New Country helped signal a shift in Nashville towards promoting the musical voice of strong, self-reliant women. Far from the distant era that produced such classics as “Stand by Your Man,” the rowdy sing-along that often accompanies her sassy, rock-inspired tunes proves that, as both a singer and songwriter, Twain knows the pulse of female country music fans from Austin to Alberta.

Born Eilleen Regina Edwards on August 28, 1965, in Windsor, Ontario, and raised in the northern forests of Timmins, Ontario, Twain would eventually take the name “Shania,” an Ojibwa word meaning “I’m on my way,” in honor of her stepfather’s Indian heritage—Jerry Twain was an Ojibwa Indian, her mother, Sharon, of Irish descent. “We were really poor, although I never considered it that bad,” the singer recalled to Brian D. Johnson, describing her childhood in Maclean’s. “We would go for days with just bread and milk and sugar—heat it up in a pot. I’d judge other kids’ wealth by their lunches. If a kid had baked goods, that was like, oh, they must be rich.”

Early Passion for Music

The second of five children, Twain showed a talent and a passion for music from an early age. Knowing that it might provide a way out of poverty for their daughter, her parents encouraged her talent for singing and playing guitar, nudging the shy youngster into performing before an audience from the time she was eight. “I used to be dragged out of bed at 1:00 in the morning and [brought] to the local club to play with the band,” Twain admitted in a press release. “You see, [my parents] couldn’t allow me in a liquor premise before 1:00 a.m. when they stopped serving.” At first she would sing a few songs with the house band; by the time she reached her early teens, Twain was fronting rock and country bands professionally.

In addition to helping her father as part of a reforestation crew in the Canadian backcountry, the youngster also appeared on local radio and television stations, at community center gatherings, senior centers, talent contests, and fairs, all at the prompting of her parents. While missing her chance at a “normal” childhood, the singer looks back on that time with greater understanding and appreciation. “My mother was often depressed with five children and no food to feed them. She knew I was talented and she lived with the hope that my abilities were my chance to do something special.”

For the Record…

Born Eilleen Regina Edwards on August 28, 1965, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada; married Robert John “Mutt” Lange (a producer and songwriter), 1993; children: Eja D’Angelo (son).

Began singing in local clubs and community events, c. 1973; regular performer, Deerhurst Resort, Huntsville, Ontario, 1986-89; signed with Mercury Records, 1991; release debut album, Shania Twain, 1993; collaborated with producer/songwriter Lange on The Woman in Me, 1995; released Come On Over, 1997; released Up!, 2002.

Awards: American Music Award, Favorite New Country Artist, 1995; Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada (SCAMPC), Song of the Year for “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?,” 1995; RPM’s Big Country Award (Canada), Outstanding New Artist, 1995; Canadian Country Music Awards, Female Vocalist and Album of the Year, both for The Woman in Me, and Single of the Year and Video of the Year, both for “Any Man of Mine,” all 1995; Blockbuster Entertainment, Favorite New Country Artist, 1996; Grammy Award, Best Country Album and Juno Awards (Canada) for Country Female Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year, all for The Woman in Me, 1996; Grammy Awards, Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “You’re Still the One,” 1998; Country Music Association Award, Entertainer of the Year, 1999; American Music Awards, Favorite Female Country Artist and Favorite Female Pop/Rock Artist, 1999; Grammy Award, Best Country Song for “Come on Over” and Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!,” 1999; Juno Awards, Top Artist, Fan Voice Award, and Top Country Recording for Up!, 2003.

Addresses: Record company—Mercury Records, 66 Music Square West, Nashville, TN 37203. Website— Shania Twain Official Website: http://www.shaniatwain.com.

Tragedy Led to Responsibility

Tragically, both her parents were killed when Twain was 21, when their car collided with a fully loaded logging truck. Left with two teenage brothers and a younger sister to raise, she marketed her musical abilities into a steady job singing pop and show tunes at the Deerhurst Resort in nearby Huntsville, which enabled her to provide the family with a stable home. “I bought a house, a family truck and settled down—I thought, forever,” Twain remembered in her press release. But teenagers eventually grow up, and three years later her siblings were making it on their own. Twain also found herself on her own, with no responsibility to anyone but herself for the first time in her life. She knew she had talent, and she knew she had drive: She decided to put every ounce of it into a recording career.

Making a demo tape was the first step, followed by showcasing her talent for potential backers with the help of friend and manager Mary Bailey. That led to an introduction to the right people at Mercury Nashville, who quickly signed the talented Canadian. Twain’s self-titled debut album was released in 1993, gaining the singer audiences in the United States, Canada, and even Europe, through music videos that showcased Twain’s good looks and upbeat sound. While it would ultimately only reach number 67 on the Billboard country album charts, Twain’s first effort was reviewed well enough to keep her working. “On the first album there was more of a variety,” she would explain to Frances P. McAneney in Country Song Roundup. “I was still testing things out. On the second album … I want to be closer to the basics of country.” Twain would also find herself a lot closer to reaching her full potential as a musician.

A New Relationship

A great deal of the inspiration behind Twain’s second album came from a newfound friendship with Englishman Robert “Mutt” Lange. The producing talent behind such rock bands as Def Leppard, Michael Bolton, and the Cars, Lange had first phoned the singer after seeing her on a music video. Because she was in the dark about who Lange was professionally, Twain related to him as an ordinary, likeable fan and the two quickly became friends. Their long-distance phone bills mounted as they shared ideas for song lyrics and stories about life in general, and Lange’s continued enthusiasm gave Twain the confidence to write the material for her next release. When they finally met face-to-face at Nashville’s Fan Fair in 1993, the creative rapport Lange and Twain had established during all those trans-Atlantic phone calls blossomed into something more—the couple was married six months later. “We ended up writing half [my second] album … before we even became romantically involved,” Twain boasted in her press release. “Creatively, romantically, it’s a wonderful, wonderful marriage. My husband Mutt is the producer of my dreams and the love of my life. They are two separate entities, but at the same time what more could any girl ask for?”

Certainly, Twain couldn’t ask for more success than that heaped upon her second album, The Woman in Me. Released in 1995, it shot to the top of the charts on the strength of “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?” “Any Man of Mine,” which rocked the country charts as the anthem of the 1990s female country music fan, followed in the wake of that first single, plowing even more ground for the talented Canadian vocalist. The Woman in Me reached double-platinum status six months after its February release on the strength of the Twain/Lange collaboration. Especially personal to Twain is the album’s final cut, “God Bless the Child,” an a capella rendition of a song she wrote in memory of her late parents.

From a childhood where music was an escape from her bleak surroundings, Twain matured into a talent to be reckoned with, not only as a country vocalist, but as a talented songwriter with a good ear for a strong hook. “I don’t want to be seen as just a pretty face with a pretty voice, that type of thing,” she was quick to state in her press release. By all accounts, The Woman in Me went far in allaying any concerns of that sort. Talented, driven, and inspired, the Canadian-born Twain continued to win over even the most hard-core country fans. As legendary vocalist George Jones told People reporter Liza Schoenfein: “I love this girl’s singing. And I’d love to do an album with her. She caught my ear above all the rest of them.”

The astounding success of The Woman in Me—the album went platinum ten times over and spawned eight singles—was surpassed by Twain’s next release, 1997’s Come On Over. It was this album that successfully bridged the gap between country music fans and pop fans, both of whom took immediately to the hook-laden, upbeat songs on the album. Twain toured nonstop for two years in support of the album while single after single, including “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!,” “You’re Still the One,” and “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” hit the top of the pop and country charts. Come On Over sold over 34 million copies worldwide; 19 million of the sales occurred in the United States.

Twain became a star, known around the world by her first name alone. She turned down a stream of movie offers, became the face of Revlon cosmetics, and was named one of Peoples 50 Most Beautiful People. She also had to deal with people prying into her past, and hurtful allegations that she was embellishing the hardships she faced growing up, and lied about her native heritage. Twain, who never knew her biological father and was extremely close to Jerry Twain, was particularly hurt by the allegations that she wasn’t qualified to claim native heritage. Twain’s former lawyer Richard Frank spoke to People about her feelings. “It was very upsetting to her when it came out… She felt that it dishonored her father who raised her and sought to diminish his role as a father.” Rumors surfaced that constant touring put her marriage in jeopardy, which both she and Lange steadfastly denied. In fact, her biggest hit on Come On Over, “You’re Still the One,” was a rebuttal of sorts to those who thought their marriage wouldn’t work.

Sought Normalcy in Switzerland

It would be five years before Twain released the follow-up to Come On Over. Between releases, she and Lange moved to a large chateau in Switzerland, near Lake Geneva. Twain and her husband chose to move to Switzerland to maintain a relatively normal life. There, Twain has repeated in numerous interviews, she is free to go to the store, walk around town, and live her life without the hassles of press, photographers, and fans searching her out. “I don’t feel like a star [in Switzerland],” Twain revealed to People reporter Karen Schneider. “I needed to leave behind the whole ‘Shania’ thing and be myself.”

When Twain emerged from her Swiss seclusion, it was with a new record, Up!, and a new son, Eja (pronounced “Asia”) D’Angelo, born in August of 2001. Up! was released in a new and unusual way: each copy was packaged as a double CD, one containing versions of the 19 songs in a pop-rock vein, the other containing the exact same songs, but in a country style with slide guitars and mandolin built into the mix. In Europe, a third disc, featuring what Twain described to Time as “an Asian, Indian vibe” replaces the country CD. This unique genre-spanning approach is designed to increase Twain’s already near-universal appeal. “We’ve geared the music to please everybody,” Twain told Entertainment Weekly in 2002.

To Twain, creating music to please the masses is her job. She also creates music in private that is much more emotional and personal than the tunes heard on the radio. No one but her husband is privy to those tunes, however. “I am a commercial singer,” Twain stated to Time during a promotional interview for Up!. “When I write a song, I’m thinking about the people who are going to be listening to it. The whole process is done with that in mind…. If you’re making [music] just for yourself, why sell it?”

Selected discography

Shania Twain, Mercury, 1993.

The Woman in Me, Mercury, 1995.

Come On Over, Mercury, 1997.

Up!, Mercury, 2002.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, May 6, 1995.

Billboard Bulletin, April 8, 2003.

Coast to Coast, September 1991.

Cosmopolitan, February 1999.

Country Song Roundup, June 1994.

Entertainment Weekly, August 11, 1995.

Interview, March 1996.

Los Angeles Times Calendar, July 30, 1995.

Maclean’s, August 28, 1995; December 18, 1995; March 23, 1998; November 11, 2002.

Music & Media, December 7, 2002.

National Post, November 23, 2002.

Newsweek, February 26, 1996.

People, September 4, 1995; June 14, 1999; December 16, 2002.

Redbook, December 1999; December 2002. Time, December 9, 2002.

Online

“Shania Twain,” All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (April 22, 2003).

Shania Twain Official Website, http://www.shaniatwain.com (April 22, 2003).

Additional information was provided by Mercury Records publicity materials.

Pamela Shelton

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Twain, Shania

Shania Twain

With her stunning looks and gritty, upbeat lyrics that often touch on a woman's prerogative, Canadian singer-songwriter Shania Twain (born 1965) has secured a large fan base of both male and female country and pop fans. With more than 65 million albums sold, Twain is the best-selling country artist of all time. Her 1997 album, Come on Over, was the best-selling album of all time by a female artist in any genre. Promoter Harvey Goldsmith told Music Week's Ian Nicolson: "She's not country, she's not pop, she's just a huge talent."

Awed Parents with Vocal Abilities

Twain was born Eilleen Regina Edwards on August 28, 1965, in Windsor, Ontario, to Clarence and Sharon Edwards, who soon separated. Sharon Edwards then moved Twain and her two sisters to Timmins, Ontario, a mining and logging town on the northern stretches of Canada, where winter temperatures dip to forty degrees below Farenheit. In Timmins, Sharon Edwards met and married Jerry Twain, an Ojibwa Indian. Jerry Twain adopted the girls, making them official members of his native band, the Temagami Anishnawbe Bear Island First Nation. The new marriage produced two boys. Jerry Twain worked as a logger and mining prospector, but the family of seven struggled to make ends meet.

Early on, Twain's parents noticed her remarkable vocal talents. By age three, Twain could sing on key with a light vibrato, as well as harmonize. A self-taught guitarist, Jerry Twain decided to teach his daughter to play and the pint—sized singer quickly learned about frets, chords and tuning. Twain's arms barely fit around the guitar, which was longer than she was tall. By ten, Twain was writing her own songs.

Unleashed Talents on Local Community

Because they were perpetually poor, Twain's parents hoped Twain could parlay her abilities into a solid, money-making career. They pushed Twain early and often. As a youngster, Twain was shy and her dream was to become a backup singer for Stevie Wonder. Twain's parents, however, had bigger visions and her mother arranged gigs at community centers, nursing homes and hospital wards. As a preteen, Twain walked through nightclub doors after 1 a.m. when the bars stopped serving alcohol and allowed minors inside. Dressed in a denim skirt and a buckskin-fringed shirt, Twain belted out tunes to blue-collar crowds of loggers and miners.

Encouraged by their daughter's reception, the Twains invested in voice lessons, though the closest suitable teacher was in Toronto, which was a 20-hour roundtrip drive. At 16, Twain joined the Canadian rock band Longshot, which was popular in the Timmins area. As a member of Longshot, Twain sang hit songs from Pat Benatar, Journey and REO Speedwagon. She also supplemented the family income by working at McDonald's.

The family was so poor that Twain often relied on mustard sandwiches for lunch. "We would go for days with just bread and milk and sugar—heat it up in a pot," she recalled during an interview with Brian D. Johnson of Maclean's. "I'd judge other kids' wealth by their lunches. If a kid had baked goods, that was like, oh, they must be rich." Though Twain eventually escaped poverty, the memory of her childhood hunger pains never left her. She has continued to raise money for Second Harvest Food Bank and frequently plugs the charity at concerts and publicity events. As a child, Twain turned to music to escape her circum-stances. According to the Toronto Sun's Jane Stevenson, Twain prayed a lot as a child. "I just wanted to be swept away. I wanted music to take me away. I wanted music to adopt me and take me away from all that hell."

Endured Lossof Parents

After Twain graduated from Timmins High in the early 1980s, she moved to Toronto to pursue a singing career. There, she found plenty of rock and pop bands to sing with and was invited to record for the Toronto-based Opry North radio show. One of her first recordings included a duet with Tim Denis on his self-titled 1985 album. She also provided backup vocals for Kelita Haverland's 1986 album, Too Hot to Handle.

In 1987, Twain's parents were killed in an accident involving a logging truck. Twain, just 21, found herself responsible for her three siblings, who ranged in age from 13 to 18. The responsibility itself was overwhelming and Twain was further crushed to realize she had to give up her musical life on the road. Twain got a lucky break, however, and landed an entertainment job at the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario. The job provided a steady paycheck with no traveling. It also offered variety. Some nights Twain sang country or pop hits. Other nights she sang Broadway revues. Singing daily, Twain became more comfortable as a performer.

Landed Recording Deal

Twain's siblings grew up and moved out, allowing Twain to proceed with her career. Around 1991 she hooked back up with longtime mentor Mary Bailey, a 1980s Canadian country music star. Bailey had heard Twain sing as a child and was instantly enamored with her talent. Over the years, Bailey had periodically helped out Twain. Working behind the scenes, Bailey used her connections to circulate Twain's tape. Twain eventually landed a recording contract with Mercury Records. Its executives liked Twain's voice, but not her full name, Eilleen Twain. She adopted Shania, an Ojibwa name that means "I'm on my way."

Mercury Records assembled a marquee roster of musicians to work with Twain, including a drummer who had played with Elvis Presley and a guitarist who had played alongside Jimmy Buffett. Mercury also gathered songs from the most fashionable songwriters. Soon, Twain realized Mercury had no intention of letting her record the songs she had written. When she objected, studio executives insisted she only had one chance to make it, so they choose traditional country songs. In the end, Twain co-wrote one song, "God Ain't Gonna Getcha for That," for her self-titled 1993 debut album.

The album was a flop. None of the radio singles even made it into the Top 40. Twain's videos, for "What Made You Say That" and "Dance with the One that Brought You," generated a bit more attention, though mostly because Twain bared her belly button, something Nashville disdained.

Drew Attention of Veteran Producer

When music producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange caught a glimpse of a Twain video, the brunette singer's poise captivated him and he felt the urge to contact her. Lange had created several monster hits, including AC/DC's "Back in Black" and "Shook Me All Night Long" and Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me." Lange found a kindred spirit in Twain after just one phone call. At the time Lange lived in London and the two began calling each other regularly. Often, Twain would set down the phone and pick up the guitar, singing her songs for Lange, who found them quite refreshing. He was amazed Twain had not recorded any of them on her first album.

In June of 1993, Lange traveled to the United States to meet Twain in person. He also expressed an interest in producing Twain's next album, though he had never worked in country, and eventually hammered out a deal with Mercury. Next, Twain flew to London to work on the album. On December 28, 1993, they married.

Music insiders have said Twain and Lange are a peculiar mix. For starters, Lange is 16 years older than Twain, and whereas Twain spends time putting together her outfits and hair, Lange keeps his hair shaggy and prefers comfortable, slip-on shoes. Twain lives much of her life in the public eye, though Lange works hard to keep a low profile. Lange hates the public eye so much he has bought the rights to nearly every photo taken of him and has refused interviews for decades. The couple also adheres to an Eastern religion called Sant Mat, which includes spiritual practices such as daily meditation and abstinence from alcohol and drugs. They are also vegetarians.

Despite their disparate personalities, their talents meld perfectly. The husband-wife duo worked tirelessly on Twain's second album. Twain provided the spirited lyrics and Lange used his studio talents to add depth to the melodic lines. In some songs Lange interjected accordion flourishes; in others he piled instruments, such as the fiddle, so deep it sounds as though a full orchestra is backing Twain.

Produced Chart-Busting Albums

Released in 1995, The Woman in Me reached number one on the country chart, sold 12 million copies and earned a Grammy Award for best country album. There was some controversy, however, in Twain's decision not to tour. With only one decent album to fall back on for songs, Twain did not feel she could compete with such rivals as Reba Mc-Entire or Wynonna Judd. Critics began to question Twain's ability, suggesting Lange held all the talent and she was merely a studio puppet.

Nonetheless, Twain weathered the controversy and promoted herself through public appearances and videos. She followed with Come on Over in 1997, which sold 19 million copies and surpassed Garth Brooks's No Fences as the top-selling country album of all time. Come on Over was a true crossover album and included songs that became hits on different formats, from pop to country—songs such as "That Don't Impress Me Much" and "You're Still the One."

In May of 1998, Twain decided she was ready for a worldwide tour and entertained 2.5 million fans in 18 months, hitting the United States, Europe, Australia and the Far East. Following the tour, Twain and Lange retreated to Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland, to the couple's seventeenth-century chateau for a physical and mental break. "I needed to leave behind the whole 'Shania' thing and be myself," she told People. "I did a lot of hiking and cooking. I skied. I spent time with my horses. For the first time in my life, I was just resting."

Juggled Demands of Family, Career

Son Eja D'Angelo Lange was born in August of 2001, though that did not keep Twain from working on another album. The new parents spent their days playing with their son and worked on the album at night at their estate's recording studio. "I'd just put Eja to sleep in his stroller and wheel him over to the studio," Twain told People. "Mutt would be in the booth, I'd be in the singing room, and the baby would be in his own little spot with a monitor. And every few hours I'd stop and nurse him." In this manner, the husband-wife team produced the 19-song album Up!, released in 2002.

Twain's musical success brought other opportunities. She made a cameo appearance in the 2004 motion picture I Heart Huckabees. In 2005, she released a fragrance, called Shania by Stetson, and appeared on NBC's The Apprentice with Donald Trump in an episode where the contestants worked to develop a campaign strategy for the product. In addition, Twain also recorded a song for the 2005 ABC-TV Desperate Housewives soundtrack. Fans, however, need not worry that Twain is branching out and abandoning her musical career. She has said there will be more albums to come.

Books

Brown, Jim, Shania Twain: Up and Away, Fox Music Books, 2004.

McCall, Michael, Shania Twain: An Intimate Portrait of a Country Music Diva, St. Martin's Griffin, 1999.

Periodicals

Globe and Mail (Toronto), October 30, 2004.

Maclean's, December 18, 1995.

Music Week, January 31, 1998.

People Weekly, December 16, 2002.

Toronto Sun, November 18, 2005.

USA Today, November 9, 2004.

Online

"About: Award and Accolades," Shania: The Official Site, http://www.shaniatwain.com/about-awards.asp (January 16, 2006).

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Twain, Shania

Shania Twain

Singer, songwriter

Early Passion for Music

Tragedy Leads to Responsibility

The Woman in Me

Selected discography

Sources

Along with fellow Canadian artists Michelle Wright and k.d. lang, Shania Twain has a name that is recognized by country music fans far to the south of the U.S.-Canadian border. In addition to increasing the visibility of the crop of Canadian country talent among U.S. audiences, her rollicking brand of New Country has helped signal a shift in Nashville towards promoting the musical voiceof strong, self-reliant women. Far from the distant era that produced such classics as Stand by Your Man, the rowdy sing-along that often accompanies her sassy, rock-inspired rendition of Any Man of Mine proves that, as both a singer and songwriter, Shania Twain knows the pulse of female country music fans from Austin to Alberta.

Born Eileen Twain on August 28, 1965, in Windsor, Ontario, and raised in the northern forests of Timmins, Twain would eventually take the name Shania, an Ojibway word meaning Im on my way, in honor of her Indian heritageher father Gerald Twain was an Ojibway Indian, her mother, Sharon, of Irish descent. We were really poor, although I never considered it that bad, the singer recalled to Brian D. Johnson, describing her childhood in Macleans. We would go for days with just bread and milk and sugarheat it up in a pot. Id judge other kids wealth by their lunches. If a kid had baked goods, that was like, oh, they must be rich.

Early Passion for Music

The second of five children, Twain showed a talent and a passion for music from an early age. Knowing that it might provide a way out of poverty for their daughter, her parents encouraged her talent for singing and playing guitar, nudging the shy youngster into performing before an audience from the time she was eight. I used to be dragged out of bed at 1:00 in the morning and [brought] to the local club to play with the band, Twain admitted in a press release. You see, [my parents] couldnt allow me in a liquor premise before 1:00a.m. when they stopped serving. Atfirst she would sing a few songs with the house band; by the time she reached her early teens, Twain was fronting rock and country bands professionally Id walk home at 3 a.m. with a rock in my pocket, she told Johnson.

In addition to helping her father as part of a reforestation crew in the Canadian backcountry, the youngster also appeared on local radio and television stations, at community center gatherings, senior centers, talent contests, and fairs, all at the prompting of her parents. While missing her chance at a normal childhood, the singer looks back on that time with greater understanding and appreciation.My mother was often depressed with five children and no food to feed them. She knew I

For the Record

First name pronounced shuh-NYE-uh ; born Eileen Twain, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, August 28, 1965; married Robert John Mutt Lange (a producer and songwriter), December 28, 1993.

Began singing in local clubs and community events, c. 1973; regular performer, Deerhurst Resort, Huntsville, Ontario, 1986-89; signed with Mercury Records, 1991; release debut album, Shania Twain, 1993; collaborated with producer/songwriter Lange on The Woman in Me, 1995.

Awards: Rising Video Star of the Year award, 1993, and Number One Video of the Year award and Female Artist of the Year award, both 1996, all from Country Music Television/Europe; Favorite New Country Artist award, American Music Awards, 1995; Song of the Year award, Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada (SCAMPC), 1995, for Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under? ; named Outstanding New Artist, RPMs Big Country Awards (Canada), 1995; Canadian Country Music awards for female vocalist and album of the year, both for The Woman in Me, and single of the years and video of the year, both for Any Man of Mine, all 1995; Favorite New Country Artist award, Blockbuster Entertainment, 1996; Grammy Award for best country album and Juno Awards (Canada) for Country Female Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year, all 1996, all for The Woman in Me.

Addresses: Record company-Mercury Records, 66 Music Square West, Nashville, TN 37203.

was talented and she lived with the hope that my abilities were my chance to do something special.

Tragedy Leads to Responsibility

Tragically, both her parents were killed when Twain was 21, when their car collided with a fully loaded logging truck. Left with two teenage brothers and a younger sister to raise, she marketed her musical abilities into a steady job singing pop and show tunes at the Deerhurst Resort in nearby Huntsville, which enabled her to provide the family with a stable home. I bought a house, a family truck and settled downI thought, forever, Twain remembered in her press release. But teenagers eventually grow up, and three years later her siblings were making it on their own. Twain also found herself on her own, with no responsibility to anyone but herself for the first time in her life. She knew she had talent, and she knew she had drive: She decided to put every ounce of it into a recording career.

Making a demo tape was the first step, followed by showcasing her talent for potential backers with the help of friend and manager Mary Bailey. That led to an introduction to the right people at Mercury Nashville, who quickly signed the talented Canadian. Twains self-titled debut album was released in 1993, gaining the singer audiences in the United States, Canada, and even Europe, through music videos that showcased Twains good looks and upbeat sound. While it would ultimately only reach Number 67 on the Billboard country album charts, Twains first effort was reviewed well enough to keep her working. On the first album there was more of a variety, she would explain to Frances P. McAneney in Country Song Roundup. I was still testing things out. On the second album I want to be closer to the basics of country. Twain would also find herself a lot closer to reaching her full potential as a musician.

The Woman in Me

A great deal of the inspiration behind Twains second album came from a newfound friendship with Englishman Robert Mutt Lange. The producing talent behind such rock bands as Def Leppard, Michael Bolton, and the Cars, Lange had first phoned the singer after seeing her on a music video. Because she was in the dark about who Lange was professionally, Twain related to him as an ordinary, likeable fan and the two quickly becamefriends. Their long-distance phone bills mounted as they shared ideas for song lyrics and stories about life in general, and Langes continued enthusiasm gave Twain the confidence to write the material for her next release. When they finally met face-to-face at Nashvilles Fan Fair in 1993, the creative rapport Lange and Twain had established during all those trans-Atlantic phone calls blossomed into something morethe couple was married six months later. We ended up writing half [my second] album before we even became romantically involved, Twain boasted in her press release. Creatively, romantically, its a wonderful, wonderful marriage. My husband Mutt is the producer of my dreams and the love of my life. They are two separate entities, but at the same time what more could any girl ask for?

Certainly, Twain couldnt ask for more success than that heaped upon her second album, The Woman in Me. Released in 1995, it shot to the top of the charts on the strength of Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under? Any Man of Mine, which rocked the country charts as the anthem of the 90s female country music fan, followed in the wake of that first single, plowing even more ground for the talented Canadian vocalist. The Woman in Me reached double-platinum status six months after its February release on the strength of the Twain/Lange collaboration. Especially personal to Twain is the albums final cut, God Bless the Child, an a capella rendition of a song she wrote in memory of her late parents.

From a childhood where music was an escape from her bleak surroundings, Twain has matured into a talent to be reckoned with, not only as a country vocalist, but as a talented songwriter with a good ear for a strong hook. I dont want to be seen as just a pretty face with a pretty voice, that type of thing, she was quick to state in her press release. By all accounts, The Woman in Me has gone far in allaying any concerns of that sort. Talented, driven, and inspired, the Canadian-born Twain continues to win over even the most hard-core country fans. As legendary vocalist George Jones told People reporter Liza Schoenfein: I love this girls singing. And Id love to do an album with her. She caught my ear above all the rest of them.

Selected discography

Shania Twain, Mercury, 1993.

The Woman in Me, Mercury, 1995.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, May 6, 1995, pp. 1, 82.

Coast to Coast, September 1991.

Country Song Roundup, June 1994, pp. 26-28.

Entertainment Weekly, August 11, 1995, pp. 32-34.

Los Angeles Times Calendar, July 30, 1995.

Macleans, August 28, 1995, pp. 54-55; December 18, 1995, p. 50.

Newsweek, February 26, 1996, p. 70.

People, September 4, 1995, pp. 61-62.

Additional information for this profile was provided by Mercury Records publicity materials.

Pamela Shelton

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Twain, Shania

SHANIA TWAIN

Born: Eileen Regina Edwards; Windsor, Ontario, 28 August 1965

Genre: Country

Best-selling album since 1990: Come on Over (1997)

Hit songs since 1990: "You're Still the One," "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!," "That Don't Impress Me Much"


Born in Windsor, Ontario, Shania Twain grew up in rural Timmons, roughly 500 miles north of Toronto. She lived with her mother Sharon and stepfather, an Ojibway Indian named Jerry Twain, as well as with her three younger siblings. The petite Twain aided her parents in providing for the family, spending summers working with her stepfather on a reforestation crew in the Canadian bush.


Early Attraction to Music

Twain was drawn to music at an early age, learning to play guitar and writing songs before she was a teenager. Twain's parents recognized and encouraged the youngster's talents, shuttling her to community events, senior citizens' homes, and local television studioswherever her parents could book her a gig.

Twain's parents died in a tragic car crash when she was twenty-one, and Twain was forced to support herself and her younger siblings. She made ends meet by performing at the Deerhurst Resort in Ontario, where, in addition to singing, Twain also had the opportunity to learn theatrical performance. Once her younger siblings were old enough to support themselves, Twain set off on her own, even shedding her birth name in favor of "Shania," an Ojibway word meaning "I'm on my way." Twain recorded a demo tape of original music and attracted the attention of various record labels. Mercury Nashville signed her to a recording contract and, in 1993, released Twain's self-titled debut album. Though Twain had been signed on the basis of her original material, Shania Twain features only one composition by the artist herself; the album was a minor hit.

Though Mercury Nashville was apparently skeptical of Twain's compositional ability, she found an ardent supporter in noted producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange. Lange had an impressive pedigree in the rock world, having worked with artists such as AC/DC, Def Leppard, Foreigner, and Bryan Adams. The pair began collaborating and fell in love in the process, marrying six months after meeting.


Crossover Success

The Woman in Me, Twain's second album, appeared in 1995 and became a major smash. Though many country purists found fault with Lange's bombastic rock-styled production, the lead single, "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?," reached number eleven on the country singles charts. Conservative Nashville elements also found fault with the song's promotional video, in which Twain prances around in sexy, revealing apparel, singing the rousing chorus: "Whose bed have your boots been under? / And whose heart did you steal I wonder? / This time did it feel like thunder, baby? / Whose bed have your boots been under?"

The follow-up single "Any Man of Mine" was an even bigger hit for Twain. Again fusing country themes and instruments with rock drums and heavy, layered chorus vocals, "Any Man of Mine" topped the country charts and further established Twain as a leading artist. On the strength of its two smash singles, The Woman in Me sold 9 million copies.

Twain's next album, Come on Over, was even more successful than its predecessor. The lead single, "You're Still the One," climbed all the way to number two on the pop charts and was followed by four more Top 40 hits. The song "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" typifies the Twain-Lange formula for crossover success. With piping synthesized horns and crunching guitars, "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" bursts with rock attitude, while Twain's spunky lyrics and ever-so-slight vocal twang belie her country roots. The song, which cosmetics company Revlon adopted as its anthem, also fires back at critics who spent more time analyzing Twain's midriff-baring clothes than they did her music: "Oh, oh, oh, go totally crazyforget I'm a lady / Men's shirts, short skirts / Oh, oh, oh, really go wildyeah, doin' it in style."

At the height of the album's success, Twain released Come on Over: The International Version (1999), which features several pop radio remixes of her hit songs. In addition to selling more copies than any previous country album, Come on Over became the best-selling female solo album in history and the fifth-best selling album of all time.

After Come on Over ran its course, Twain retreated with Lange to Switzerland, where the pair raised their newborn son outside the media spotlight. Twain returned to the music world in 2002 with the album Up! She acknowledged her massive crossover appeal by releasing three versions of the album: one disc of country mixes; a second disc of the same songs mixed in a pop/rock style; and a third international disc with a Latin-Asian production. Up! reached the top of Billboard 's country and pop charts and features the hit single "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!"

Twain's crossover success engendered a radio revolution in the late 1990s; as a result of her phenomenal success, pop audiences came to embrace an array of country artists and increased the genre's popularity.

Spot Light: Come on Over


Shania Twain was one of the pivotal figures in the country crossover phenomenon of the 1990s. Well before Twain reached her commercial pinnacle, Garth Brooks had parlayed his rock influences to reach mainstream audiences in a manner that no country artist had previously achieved. His 1990 album No Fences sold a record-shattering 13 million copies, while Ropin' the Wind (1991) became the first country album to debut at the top of the pop charts. While Brooks made country's presence known on the pop album charts, mainstream radio continued to avoid country-flavored tunes. Twain shattered that boundary in 1997 with a barrage of singles from her album Come on Over. Though Twain's singles were perhaps more pop than country, they all bore the unmistakable stamp of the Nashville sound, be it through fiddles, steel guitars, or the occasional vocal twang. Top 40 radio stations seized upon Twain's cosmopolitan brand of country and placed "You've Got a Way," "That Don't Impress Me Much," "You're Still the One," "From This Moment On," and "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" in heavy rotation alongside more traditional pop fare from acts such as Madonna, Enrique Iglesias, and Hanson. Twain's chart success opened pop radio to other country artists, including Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes, and the Dixie Chicks.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Shania Twain (Mercury, 1993); The Woman in Me (Mercury, 1995); Come on Over (Mercury, 1997); Up! (Mercury, 2002).

scott tribble

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"Twain, Shania." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved July 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/twain-shania