Article - 1999
Title: "Through the Past Darkly"
Author: Karen Bliss
Source: Sway Magazine-
A Site About Women in Music. 1999.
Shania Twain is anything but traditional. Admired as much for her beauty
as she is for sales of 12 million albums, and counting, the 32-year-old
country singer's life reads like a Cinderella story.
Born Eileen Regina Edwards, in Windsor, Ont., the brown-haired, green-eyed
Twain has always belonged to two worlds -- glamorous and rustic. Her parents
were huge country music fans, who encouraged their daughter, at the age
6, to sing at telethons, old-age homes and community centres.
By high school, Twain was singing up to four nights a week in bands.
In the summers, she worked on her parents reforestation plant, heading
up a 13-man crew. Deciding to pursue a music career full-time, she relocated
to Toronto, upon graduation, where she performed in various settings, from
nightclubs to opening for Bernadette Peters with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
When Twain was 21, both her parents were tragically killed in an automobile
accident, leaving her to care for five younger siblings. Her life turned
upside down, she quickly found a stable singing job at Deerhurst Inn in
Huntsville, Ont., headlining productions from musical comedy to Andrew
Lloyd Webber, often dolled up in sequined gowns.
In 1990, her brothers and sisters now old enough to take care of themselves,
Twain found strength to push herself even harder. She shed her birth name
and adopted Shania, Ojibway for "I'm on my way" and eventually she was
-- to Nashville, TN, where she landed a deal with Mercury Records.
As a newcomer to Music City, she wasn't encouraged to record her own
songs for her 1993 self-titled debut. It wasn't until Robert John "Mutt"
Lange (Bryan Adams, Def Leppard) approached her to collaborate on her own
material that she was able to inject her rock `n' roll attitude into her
sophomore album, The Woman In Me. Mutt then produced -- and married --
Ms. Twain and the album made Twain a superstar of supermodel proportions,
selling an incredible 12-million albums worldwide.
For her third release, Come On Over, Mutt again produced and co-wrote
the more pop-oriented album with Twain. The instant top-seller has yielded
two simultaneous singles, "Love Gets Me Every time" and "Don't Be Stupid
(You Know I Love You)", which are now topping the country charts. In just
a few months, the album has gone 6x platinum in Canada.
Twain, who shares a secluded estate with her husband, Mutt, five horses
and three dogs, in upstate New York, is currently preparing for the first
tour of her recording career.
What will your live show be like?
"Most of the excitement is going to come from the music and the performance,"
declares Twain. "It's not going to have video onstage. It's not going to
have choreographed dancers. It's not going to have hydraulics. It's not
going to be as slick as that. I mean, I want great lights, no doubt. I
want great sound. The live arrangements in and of themselves are going
to be exciting and more dramatic, and they'll be audience participation.
I'm very much into the audience and breaking down the barrier."
Is it true that you were going to take your horses on the road with
"I am going to take them, absolutely. Wherever there is an equestrian
facility, I will ride there. There's a lot of places where you can cross
country ride just outside of a lot of cities. And where there isn't one,
I could always join the Mounties and head into a park (laughs)."
There's a playful tongue in cheek attitude in your lyrics.
"I like to have fun with music and the purpose of music for me is to
entertain. I'm not our there to be Einstein. I'm making music for records,
not for text books. I'm looking to entertain and inspire people, make them
feel good or stir up emotions. I like to touch on subjects that would otherwise
be serious subjects and add some comic relief."
As an example, "If You Wanna Touch Her, Ask!"
"It's kind of a hands-off advice to men. I think all women have had
these experiences. I personally felt compelled to write it, mostly coming
from my teens. I developed very young, when I was 13, 14 years old, when
boys don't have boundaries set yet. You go from playing football with them
to all of a sudden being the one that's bouncing down the field (laughs)
so it's kind of a hard adjustment for teenagers. I withdrew very much because
of that whole period of my life, so I'm just finally, as an adult, in my
`30s, being comfortable with the fact that I'm female and if I bounce when
I walk, then that's just life. It doesn't mean you're showing off and it
doesn't mean it gives people the right to touch you because you do have
breasts, and so I wanted to write this song."
Did you date a lot growing up or were you pretty career-oriented?
"I was very career oriented but I always had boyfriends who were supportive
and understood that at any time, if the opportunity came up, I was gone
(laughs). I was always detached and that was accepted. I would never have
gone out with anyone who couldn't accept that detachment that I had. I
was really only seriously prepared for marriage when I met Mutt. When I
met him that was it. I knew I was going to be married."
Do you find, even after selling millions of albums, that people take
you less seriously because you're an attractive female?
"Yes, absolutely. It goes with the territory. There's a lot of people
out there who will always jump to that conclusion. So yeah, my actual talents,
I guess, get under appreciated or get overlooked. But it's my choice to
be entertaining visually. I know that it's going to be misunderstood at
times, but I don't care. If I wanted to downplay my looks I could. I could
shave my head and not wear makeup. I could not be feminine if I wanted
to. We could all be unattractive and we can all be attractive. I choose
to be as attractive as I can be, because that's the way I feel best, and
so I want to do that without feeling intimated by people who refuse to
accept my talent for what it is. I want to be appreciated for both. I don't
want to have to downplay the way I look just to be respected for my mind
because I think that's doing myself and women a a great disservice."
Do you cook?
"Yeah. I love to cook."
What type of cuisine?
"Lighter Mediterranean type cooking. I like to cook a lot of pasta,
quick fresh tomato sauces, good olive oils. On the other side, as far as
comfort foods, I love soups. I make a soup almost every day when I'm home.
Those are my two biggest things that I eat most often."
Have you had any movie or television offers?
"Yes, actually, during the Woman In Me, a lot of things came in. I
got to the point where I said, `Let's stop this. I not looking right now.
I was just curious.' But being curious you end up getting scripts and you
end up having to take the time to read them. There isn't time right now
but I think it's an interesting thing for me to experience at some time."
Has Mutt helped you get through your unusually fast rise? If you were
alone, being under that kind of microscope could give you a nervous breakdown.
"(laughs) The way we live has helped a lot because we both love being
in the wilderness. We love to canoe; we love to horseback ride; we love
to do all those things that don't encounter the public at all. And so if
I had somebody who was always interested in being out socially, it would
then drive me crazy because I'd have no escape. So to have somebody who
likes the seclusion, it helps me a great deal because I have that balance
now. And he understands totally because he works with so many celebrities,
so it's not new to him to be around people who have that problem. To be
honest with you, I've not encountered a big problem with it. If you do
go to the movies, people don't bug you in the theatre, then you go to your
car and you leave. Some people will notice you. But I think the more normal
you act the less attention you draw to yourself."
What's the best thing thing about married life?
"Just having someone who is a great companion because I think life
can be very lonely. I wouldn't want to be single. I'm very happy that I'm
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