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Shania Twain

Shania Twain
Origin Timmins, Ontario, Canada
Years active 1993 - present
Genre(s) Country, pop
Label(s) MCA Music, Inc.
Polydor (1992 - 1996)
Mercury (1997 -)

Shania Twain, OC (born August 28, 1965) is a Canadian singer and songwriter who has been very successful in the country and pop music genres, setting several sales records for female artists and for country artists. Her album Come On Over is the biggest-selling album by a female artist of all time and she is the only female artist to have three albums certified Diamond by the RIAA. She is also the recipient of five Grammy awards.

Early years

Born Eilleen Regina Edwards in Windsor, Ontario to Sharon and Clarence Edwards, she grew up as Eilleen Twain in Timmins, Ontario, after her parents separated when she was two, and her mother remarried to Jerry Twain, a full-blooded member of the Ojibwa First Nation.

At the age of 13, Eilleen Twain was invited to perform on CBC television's Tommy Hunter Show. During high school in Timmins, she was the vocalist for a local band "Longshot" which covered Top 40 music. When her mother and adoptive father died in a car crash on November 1, 1987, Eilleen took her two younger brothers, Mark and Darryl, and sister Carrie-Ann to Huntsville, Ontario, where she supported the family by performing at a local resort (Deerhurst resort). In 1991, after an entertainment lawyer (Dick Frank) from Nashville, Tennessee heard her act, she was invited to record a demo tape.

In 1991, when she signed her first recording contract with Richard Frank of Mercury Nashville Records, she changed her name to Shania (pronounced shu-NYE-uh) which is an Ojibwa word meaning "I'm on my way". Her stepfather was a full-blooded Ojibwa and remained an important influence in Shania's life. Twain's embrace of her adoptive Ojibwa heritage has at times been reported to be controversial among Canadian First Nations, with some disagreement about whether a non-Ojibwa adopted by an Ojibwa parent can be considered a true Ojibwa. Shania Twain responded to such criticism by saying, "I don't know how much Indian blood I actually have in me, but as the adopted daughter of my father Jerry, I became registered as a 50% North American Indian ... That is my heart and my soul, and I'm very proud of it."

The city of Timmins later renamed a street for her, gave her the key to the city, and built the Shania Twain Museum (Shania Twain Centre), which Twain visited in 2004, as shown on a CTV special.

Career success

Initially known as a country singer, Twain herself found her 1993 self-titled debut album unsatisfactory as she was forced by her record company to work with outside songwriters. Nor did it please the public, gaining little sales and no real chart action for its singles. Twain immediately felt alienated from the Nashville music scene.

Everything changed when rock producer Robert "Mutt" Lange heard Shania's original songs and singing and thought she held promise. He offered to produce her and to write songs with her. After many telephone conversations, they met in person at Nashville's Fan Fair in June 1993. Soon their professional relationship took a romantic turn, and they were married on December 28, 1993.

With Lange's influence, Shania's music then veered a bit more towards pop. Her vocal performances strengthened by virtue of singing only the material she and Lange had written, a practice she would continue from this point on, contrary to typical Nashville practice. Her second album, 1995's The Woman in Me, caught fire due to singles like "Any Man of Mine" and "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?". The album eventually topped the country charts for months and became a massive crossover to mainstream charts, peaking at No. 5 and topping out at 10 million sold. The Woman in Me went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Country Album as well as the Academy of Country Music award for Album of the Year; the latter group also awarded Twain as Best New Female Vocalist.

In 1997, Twain released her follow-up album, Come on Over. Selling 172,000 copies out of the gate, the album was seen by many at first as a disappointment, given the massive success of her last effort. But slowly, the album started racking up sales. It never hit the top spot, but with the multi-chart hit single "You're Still the One", sales skyrocketed. Songs like "Don't Be Stupid", "Honey, I'm Home", "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!", "That Don't Impress Me Much", and "From This Moment On" joined the 12 songs that eventually saw release as singles. Over the next two years, the album stayed on the charts, spinning off hit after hit. When the dust finally settled, Come on Over had sold 20 million copies in the United States and 39 million worldwide, making it the biggest-selling album of all time by a female artist, the biggest-selling country album of all time, and the No. 6 selling album of all time. Songs from the album won four Grammy Awards over the next two years, including Best Country Song for Twain and Lange for "You're Still the One" and "Come On Over" and Best Female Country Performance for "You're Still the One" and "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!". The album has sold 39 million copies worldwide, the largest ever by a female solo artist, but despite this it wasn't able to top the Billboard 200, reaching a peak of #2. It did however top the charts for 11 weeks in the UK. Additionally, the album set the record for the longest ever stay in the Top 20 of The Billboard 200, remaining in the Top 20 for 99 weeks (about 1 year and 10 months).

There were several keys to all this success. The songs on Come on Over were full of memorable phrases and catchy hooks, rendered well in Twain's singing. Lange's hard rock production techniques from his work with Def Leppard and others proved surprisingly effective in the country/pop context. And many newer fans were totally unaware of her country music roots, particularly as versions of singles released to non-country radio in North America and around the world featured remixed versions de-emphasizing country-style instrumentation.

Twain's mainstream pop acceptance was further helped by her appearance in the 1998 first edition of the VH1 Divas concert, where she sang alongside Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, and Aretha Franklin, and by VH1's 1999 heavily-aired Behind the Music treatment of her, which concentrated on the tragic aspects of her early life as well as her physical attractiveness and Nashville's early resistance to her bared- midriff music videos. In 1999 Twain also established a visible commercial relationship with Revlon cosmetics, based around "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!".

In 1998 Shania Twain launched her first major concert tour, aided by her manager Jon Landau, a veteran of many large-scale tours with Bruce Springsteen. The shows were enthusiastically received by audiences around the globe and answered critics who speculated that she could not perform live. Twain's peak of success was further emphasized when she was named the 1999 Entertainer of the Year by both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. (In the latter case, she is the first non-American, and one of only five solo women to win the award, the others being Reba McEntire, Barbara Mandrell, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn.)

Since several Shania Twain songs were played on radio stations with adult contemporary music, some people believe that Shania Twain's music is a crossover of that and country music.

Life as a successful singer

After taking time off and having a child in 2001, Shania Twain went back into the studio. Up! was released in November 2002, making it five years since the world had new material from her, and she toured again to promote it. A double album, it featured 19 songs in pop mixes and the same 19 songs in country mixes. Internationally the country mixes were replaced by world music mixes, the instrumentation of which featured non-classical Indian music styles. The International remixes were recorded in Mumbai, India. Though it garnered some of the most tepid reviews of the year (it was even called the worst album of 2002 by Spin and Details magazines), Up! debuted at No. 1, selling 874,000 in the first week alone. It charted at the top for five weeks.

The first single from the album "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!", became a modest country hit that didn't do much on the pop charts, while the follow-up single "Up!" failed to hit the top ten country or the top 40 pop. However, the third single from the album would be the most successful. The romantic ballad "Forever And For Always" was released as a single in April 2003 and peaked at No. 4 on the country chart and No. 1 on the AC chart, spending 6 weeks there. "She's Not Just A Pretty Face" was a country top-ten hit but failed on other charts, while the last single, "It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing", debuted on her fifth TV special Up! Close and Personal, made the top 20 on both Country and AC. Internationally, Shania had great success with an exclusive release of "Ka-Ching!" and "When You Kiss Me", particularly in countries such as Germany and the UK. To date, Up! has sold 5.5 million physical copies in the U.S., over 10 million physical copies worldwide (Although by RIAA rules for double albums, U.S shipments are counted as 11 million units). These are impressive marks by normal standards - but considered a disappointment by some, relative to Come on Over.

In 2004, she released the Greatest Hits album, with four new tracks. To date, it has sold over three million copies in the U.S, and over 7 Million worldwide. The first single, the multi-format duet "Party For Two", made the country top ten with Billy Currington but the pop version with Sugar Ray lead singer Mark McGrath made the top 10 on the UK singles chart. Two further singles did not do much on any chart, although "Don't!" was featured in the film An Unfinished Life and "I Ain't No Quitter" represented a partial return to traditional country idioms.

Twain lives in La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland with Lange and their son Eja; she states that living so far away gives her the privacy she would otherwise lack. As an alternate retreat, she has also recently purchased Motutapu Station near Wanaka in New Zealand, a 170 km sheep station where she hopes to build a house.

On August 28, 2005, she celebrated her 40th birthday. In August 2005, she released the single "Shoes" from the Desperate Housewives soundtrack; it failed to make much of an impact, barely getting into the top 30 on the country charts and not charting elsewhere.

A television biopic of Twain, Shania: A Life in Eight Albums, aired on CBC Television on November 7, 2005, with Meredith Henderson starring as Twain.

In 2005 Twain would add a commercial relationship with COTY, for the creation of her fragrance Shania by Stetson. Around the same time, Twain appeared on an episode of the reality show The Apprentice, riding horses around Central Park and having dinner with two contestants who had successfully marketed her fragrance on the show.

On November 18, 2005, Twain was invested as an Officer in the Order of Canada.

What's To Come...

Since Shania's "Greatest Hits" album was released in November 2004, it was suspected that she would return with a new album late 2006 and it looks as though that is what is going to happen. Shania has been writing new songs for some time, and as of this spring has started recording her next studio album, which is still on schedule for an expected album release by late 2006 (November). Several recent reports have mentioned or implied a lead single with video, presumably several months in advance of her album, though the label has not commented yet. Further confirmation is expected by July with Shania's new album listed on the label's fourth quarter schedule. Shania announced earlier she plans to tour again after her next album release, presumably starting several months after her initial promotion period ends (typically about 6-9 months after release, based on past history).



  • April 5, 1996: The Woman in Me
  • April 7, 1999: VH1 Behind the Music
  • July 21, 1999: Shania Twain Live
  • September 24, 1999: Complete Woman in Me
  • March 9, 2004: Platinum Collection
  • March 9, 2004: Up! Live in Chicago
  • March 9, 2004: Come on Over Video
  • December 9, 2004: Up Close and Personal

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It uses material from the Wikipedia article - Shania Twain