I can’t believe that one of my most favorite country singers is turning 52 today! Awww~ it seems like our youth has gone by just like that. Happy Birthday! She was and is still an inspiration to me and I hope for a lot of other women out there. Here is one of her most striking statements:
“I want people to be getting to know me for what I am, and the best way to do that is through my songs. When they’re coming from your head and it’s your creativity, it’s as real as it gets and it’s as true to you as an artist as it gets.”
~Shania Twain, 1996
Let’s take a look back at her humble beginnings. Twain was born Eilleen Regina Edwards in Windsor, Ontario. Her parents divorced when she was two and her mother then moved to Timmins. They were raised from a poor family with her four brothers and sisters. She sang in local clubs at age 8 and she had to raise her siblings after her parents died from a car accident at 21 years old.
In 1993, Twain got a record deal with Mercury Nashville and released “Shania Twain” but it was not really noticed. However, when “The Woman in Me” followed up. It became a big-selling album. She collaborated with British pop-rock producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange who also became her husband.
“Any Man of Mine,” a Cajun-spiked romp album, spiked Twain, and her authority. It sold nearly 4 million copies, and she has four nominations in tonight’s Academy of Country Music Awards at the Universal Amphitheatre.
“Woman” took flak for her image and even if she wrote or co-wrote all the songs in it. People clamored that she was just a puppet for a powerful producer.
Here are a few excerpts from her interview in 1996.
Question: Why did you respond to country music as a child?
Answer: I related a lot to it. . . . I could relate to hardship, the tensions that can be in a household when there’s not enough money to go grocery shopping. . . . I would listen with a mature ear. You grow up fast in an environment that’s a little underprivileged.
Q: In what way?
A: Just little things, like if you don’t have a lunch for school, then you’ve got to make up excuses why. At that time if you were to tell the teacher that you don’t bring a lunch because we can’t afford it, maybe they would have had the children’s aid come to our house and we’re gonna get separated. . . . Things like that that don’t allow you to just be a kid all the time. You have to be responsible.
I often just escaped with my music. Instead of going out to play during recess I went to the music room and kind of vented my energy there and kept things positive. My music was a very positive escape for me.
Q: With you coming from Canada, and with Mutt from a pop-rock background, has it been hard to get acceptance in the Nashville community?
A: So many people that we know there come from somewhere else and they come from a different musical background. It just doesn’t seem to matter anymore. It’s like everybody’s there to make great music. . . . And I think it’s more demanding now–if it’s not great, then it’s not gonna have a chance. I think that’s good. I think that weeds out a lot of mediocrity. I think it’s starting to do that. If you didn’t have fresh blood and new ideas and people who are willing to go to the edge, I think that you do run the risk of having cookie-cutter music.
Well, we can all agree that came a long, long way from the time she started. She also had her fair share of challenges and blows in life. But at the end of the day, what matters is we do we what we love to do and we are happy.
Cheers to 52 Shania!