Shania Twain was born Eilleen Regina Edwards in Windsor, Ontario, Canada on August 28, 1965, the second oldest of five siblings. She was raised in Timmins, Ontario, about 500 miles due north of Toronto, where her adoptive father, an Ojibway Indian named Jerry Twain, and mother, Sharon, had both been raised. It was a proud but, at times, impoverished existence. They struggled to keep enough food in the cupboards, but there was always an abundance of music and love in the household.
“I grew up listening to Waylon, Willie, Dolly, Tammy, all of them… but we also listened to the Mamas and the Papas, The Carpenters, The Supremes and Stevie Wonder. The many different styles of music I was exposed to as a child not only influenced my vocal style, but even more so, my writing style.”
Twain often grabbed a guitar and retreated to the solitude of her bedroom singing and writing until her fingers ached. “I grew up listening to Waylon, Willie, Dolly, Tammy, all of them,” she recalls. “But we also listened to the Mamas and the Papas, The Carpenters, The Supremes and Stevie Wonder. The many different styles of music I was exposed to as a child not only influenced my vocal style, but even more so, my writing style.”
“No dream is a waste of time and energy, just like there’s no such thing as a dumb question.”
Her mom noticed Twain’s talents, and soon the youngster was being shuttled to radio and TV studios, community centers, senior citizens’ homes, “everywhere they could get me booked.” An 8-year-old Twain was often pulled out of bed to sing with the house band at a local club but only after alcohol sales ended at midnight. Later, Twain spent summers working with her stepfather as the foreman of a dozen-man reforestation crew in the Canadian bush, where she learned to wield an axe and handle a chain saw as well as any man. In the winter season, she would sing in clubs and do television and radio performances as often as her schooling would allow.
The first results of their labor, “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under,” entered the Billboard country singles chart in January 1995, peaking at No. 11. Twain’s second album, The Woman in Me, debuted on the country albums chart the following month. The collection has sold 18 million copies, making Twain the best-selling country female artist of all time. The single “Any Man of Mine,” hit the charts in May and became the first of four consecutive No. 1 hits for Twain, including “(If You’re Not in It for Love) I’m Outta Here!,” “You Win My Love” and “No One Needs to Know.” The project won a Grammy for country album of the year and was named album of the year by the Academy of Country Music in 1995.
“My personal feeling is that if you are able to survive the climb of life on whatever mountain it is you’ve set out to master, and if in the bit between the base and the peak you learn something from both the good and the bad alike, and if you live to tell about it with gratitude, you’ve succeeded.”
Twain’s third Mercury collection, Come on Over, was released in 1997, two years after her last album. The project continued Twain’s hot streak, producing No. 1 hits “Honey, I’m Home” and “Love Gets Me Every Time.” The sultry ballad “You’re Still the One” went to No. 1 on the country singles chart and made it to No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 pop chart, solidifying Twain as a crossover artist. The sassy “Man! I Feel Like a Woman,” a Top 5 country hit, helped secure the singer a contract with cosmetics company Revlon, which used the tune in TV ads featuring Twain. Come on Over has sold 11 million copies to date.
While The Woman in Me broke records and made Twain an international star, critics didn’t know what to make of her sexy image and independent approach to marketing her music. Instead of touring to promote the record, Twain made a series of sexy videos, one of which was shot on location in Egypt. The singer finally mounted her first major tour in 1998 following the release of Come on Over. The highly anticipated outing helped earn Twain entertainer of the year trophies from the ACM and the Country Music Association in 1999. Twain has won a total of five Grammys, including two for best country song (“Come on Over” and “You’re Still the One”) and two for best country female vocal performance (“Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” and “You’re Still the One”). She also has taken home trophies from the Canadian Country Music Awards, Canada’s JUNO Awards and the American Music Awards. In 1999, Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) named Twain both country songwriter of the year and pop songwriter of the year. Her ballad, “You’re Still the One,” was named BMI’s country and pop song of the year.
“Although not my thinking when I wrote the song, I believe like any song, it belongs to whomever claims it, and its purpose becomes whatever it means to that individual.”
At the top of her game, Twain retreated to her home in Switzerland with her husband at the end of 1999. She and Lange welcomed their first child, a son named Eja, together in the summer of 2001 while preparing her 2002 release Up!, featuring the hit single “I’m Gonna Getcha Good.”
In 2008, Twain and Lange divorced. In April 2010, Shania joined forces with Oprah Winfrey’s new television network, OWN, to star in a six-episode docu-series titled, Why Not? With Shania Twain. Why Not? is set to premiere in May 2011. Twain is also releasing her first memoir in the spring of 2011 with Atria Books, a division of Simon and Schuster. On January 1, 2011, it was announced that Twain and Swiss businessman, Frederic Thiébaud, were married in Puerto Rico. It is the second marriage for both.
Shania Twain has been nominated for a pair of CCMA Awards for Apple Music Fans’ Choice Award, as well as Female Artist of the Year. The 2018 CCMA Award Show, which will be hosted by Shania, will broadcast live from Hamilton, Ontario September 9th at 8pm ET on CBC and cbcmusic.ca/ccmas.
Shania is currently making her way across the U.S. with her NOW! Tour. This weekend, she’ll play shows in Brooklyn, New York (July 14th) and Washington, DC (July 15th).
Shania Twain is taking fans behind-the-curtain to her NOW World Tour to show them just how the whole stage show was arranged and choreographed. Check it out below.
The trek resumes Tuesday (July 3rd) in London, Canada and Friday (July 6th) in Toronto.
Kacey Musgraves will perform on NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers Wednesday (June 20th). Comedian/actor Mike Myers (Austin Powers, Saturday Night Live, Wayne’s World, Shrek) and Allison Brie (Mad Men, Lego Movie) will also appear on the show.
It’s a tribute to Shania Twain on the television show, Lip Sync Battle on Thursday (June 21st). The episode pits Derek Hough against Nicole Scherzinger. Catch all the action – and an appearance by Shania – this Thursday beginning at 10:30a ET on the Paramount Network.
Don’t forget Carrie Underwood will perform her anthemic “The Champion” with Ludacris at the Radio Disney Music Awards on Saturday (June 23rd).
Luke Bryan is set to appear on Live With Kelly & Ryan on June 27th.
Lauren Alaina will perform during this year’s A Capitol Fourth, which will be televised on PBS. Luke Combs, Jimmy Buffett, The Beach Boys, Pentatonix, CeCe Winans and The Temptations will also perform. The special will air July 4th at 8pm ET on PBS.