She's beautiful, she's talented, she's Canadian, she's Shania Twain
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the show biz fairy tale of the nineties starring Canada's own Shania Twain.
OK, so that wasn't exactly the way a Mercury/Polygram Records rep introduced the stunningly beautiful and triple platinum-selling Twain when she walked into a press conference in the Hamilton Sheraton earlier this week. A few hours later, she would be holding five CCMA awards, the first layer of icing on a cake that could be a triple decker by the time this year is out.
First impressions are lasting and Twain is the same forthright, down-home, charming and likeable individual she was when she came through Edmonton three years ago as an all but unknown from Nashville by way of Timmons, Ontario.
How many of us who witnessed her short, acoustic set in the old Media Club would have guessed she'd be owning the charts on either side of the border a few years later?
Born into a family 29 years ago that made much of their living from reforestation, Twain was being groomed for a life on the stage before she had reached her teens. Singing lessons found her being driven a couple of hours each way to and from the teacher's house. Before she had reached her teens, Twain was more than familiar with performing for late-night tavern crowds and not long afterward the budding bombshell was working the cabaret circuit in Ontario's cottage country during the summers.
Flash ahead a decade and today Twain is in her ninth week of holding down the top spot on the Billboard country album chart. The Woman in Me could conceivably produce eight more hits to follow Any Man of Mine and Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under. The hook quotient on the album is that strong.
"We're really just being pulled along by the success of the album,'' Twain said in an exclusive interview, shortly after the rest of the press had shuffled off to file their stories.
"I hate to use the word plan because we weren't sure how the album was going to be received. I do know that I will tour in '96, but it will probably be mid-year before we go on the road.
"Hopefully we'll accumulate a few more hits because you need more than two over the course of a show that's going to be at an hour long.''
Before the interview, Twain had just been informed that Timmons was honoring her by naming a street after her. Try saying Twain Trail five times in quick succession.
Video has been one of her biggest allies and it's no wonder. The brunette is as photogenic as they come.
"The music dictated a lot of things that would follow. The album isn't traditional country so we went for a different look. My manager phoned John and Bo Derek about doing a photo shoot and it mushroomed into two video shoots.''
As alluring and sexy as the videos are, Twain knows exactly what she will and won't do when it comes to getting in front of the camera.
"I just want to show that being feminine is sexy. I don't want any kissing in the videos,'' continued Canada's new female country vocalist. Yes, she has been approached by the movie industry.
"I'm not an actress, I can't act. Maybe the potential is there but it's not in the plans right now.''
Mentioning that her husband meets all the criteria of the song Any Man of Mine, Twain almost chirps and definitely add a few more watts to her smile when talking about John "Mutt'' Lange, who is also Bryan Adams' current producer.
"He really helped my confidence as a songwriter. He convinced me to be myself. I can be pretty black and white and frank and there's a lot of attitude in some of my songs. Mutt said it was cool and worked well.''
When Twain briefly mentions their domestic life on a big spread in a brand new mansion in upstate New York, it doesn't make one think she's going to be the next spokeswoman for the women's movement. But who cares?
"I'm usually in the kitchen cooking, working out songs in my head while Mutt is in the living room watching some sort of game. Although it's not unusual for us to not see each other for up to a month, because one of us is off working on a project or video.''
At this moment Twain's is the picture-perfect happy ending to a story that 10 years ago had a chapter in which her parents were killed in a car crash. She took on the role of provider for three younger siblings.
"I never felt that life was over during that time and the family is much closer because of it. Time is a great healer and you've got to stop wishing for what will never happen. Mom and dad will never be here to celebrate my success.''
If it's any consolation, just about everyone watching the Canadian Country Music Awards and in the industry as a whole seem to be celebrating the success of Shania Twain.
TheEdmonton Journal, Peter North, September 23, 1995
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