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The Skinny On Shania

Shania Twain, the fast-rising, sultry queen of country music, is definitely digging the smell of success. No wigged-out superstar here. "It's great, I've never has so much attention in my life," Twain, 30, said yesterday (February 5, 1996) during a harried, one-day stopover in Toronto It was exactly a year ago today that Twain unleashed her sophomore album, The Woman In Me, cowritten and produced by her husband of two years, Robert John "Mutt" Lange (Bryan Adams, AC/DC). The album has sold more than four million (now, in August, 8 million) copies in the US and 800,000 copies in Canada and shows no sign of letting up. It just resurfaced again as No.1 on Billboard's country album chart, while the fourth single, (If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here sits at the top of the country singles charts. "I think now I'm just starting to get comfortable with the pressure. You have to get used to that. I don't feel like I can take any time off. You can't just say, 'Oh, let's close the store for a couple of weeks.' It doesn't work like that. People are just going to think you're out of business," she said with a giggle. "I also realize I'm only going to be new once. And so I want to enjoy being new first of all, and I want to get the most out of it." One of the things that Twain got out of her meteor-like rise through country music's ranks is a 12,000-square-foot home she shares with Lange on a 3,000-acre spread in the rural community of Saranac Lake in upstate New York. Previously based in London, England, he came calling after he saw Twain in a video. Her numerous videos and music awards show appearances in tight-fitting, midriff-bearing outfits have not gone unnoticed by other males either. Esquire magazine has her on its march cover (and not only Esquire, but many others, too). "The funny thing is I don't realize it stands out as much as it does. I really don't," said Twain, who claims no to work out to keep her eye-popping figure. "So I'm glad. If it does stand out, then I guess it's a compliment, but I just wear whatever feels comfortable." Well, at least that explains the painted-on black vinyl pants she wore on the American Music Awards. "The only reason you do visual is solely for the visual," Twain said. "That's the only reason. It doesn't sell your music for you." But in Twain's case, it doesn't seem to hurt either. So far she has picked up five Canadian Country Music Awards, and is a major contender at the upcoming Grammy and Juno Awards, where she's been nominated four and seven times, respectively. Twain has clearly come a long way from an impoverished childhood growing up in Northern Ontario, where she and her four siblings brought mustard sandwiches to school. When Twain was 21, both her parents were killed in a car accident, and she took over raising her two younger siblings.They were so destitute they had to wash their clothes in a nearby river. "That all seems like another lifetime ago, so far away, but it's never that far removed that I couldn't do it again," Twain said. "And there's a comfort there. I think that if you are ever in a desperate situation and you can get through it, you have a confidence in life that you would otherwise not have. "I realize that no mater what I ever lose, I'll be able to manage."
The Toronto Sun, February 6, 1996, Jane Stevenson


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