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Shania Twain: A Style All Her Own

Posted in MusicWorld on August 31, 1999 by

“Songwriting is my favorite part of what I do,” says Mercury Nashville recording artist Shania Twain. “I like to give every song its own personality and attitude and to sing each one in its own style.”

And the proof that she does just that was evident at the recent BMI Country Awards, where she was named Songwriter of the Year and her smash hit “You’re Still the One” from her 11-times platinum album, Come On Over, was named Song of the Year. The number one song also earned her the Songwriter of the Year crown and Song of the Year honors at this year’s Pop Awards, bringing her total of BMI Country and Pop Awards to 13.

The long list of industry awards she has received includes the prestigious Entertainer of the Year title from the recent Country Music Association Awards, three Grammys and various honors from the Academy of Country Music, the Canadian Country Music Awards, the American Music Awards, the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, Canada’s JUNO Awards, the World Music Awards and the Billboard Music Awards.

She has most recently signed with cosmetics giant Revlon as a spokesperson for their new line of lipstick, with TV ads featuring her latest single, “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!”

Born in Canada in 1965, Shania was raised in Timmins, Ontario with her four siblings. Although food on the table may have been scarce, there was always an abundance of music. “I grew up listening to Waylon, Willie, Dolly, Tammy, all of them,” she recalls, often locking herself in her bedroom to play guitar, sing and write. Her mother, recognizing her daughter’s talents at an early age, shuttled her to radio and TV studios, community centers and even local clubs, “everywhere they could get me booked.”

At age 21, Shania lost both parents in a car crash and was left to raise her three younger siblings. To pay the bills, she took a job singing at the Deerhurst Resort where she performed show tunes for three years, learning the ins and outs of theatrical performance. In 1990, she was finally on her own and moved to Nashville with demo tape in hand. In honor of her stepfather, who was an Ojibway Indian, she adopted the Ojibway name of Shania, which means “I’m on my way.”

After signing with Mercury Nashville, she released her self-titled debut in 1993, which featured only one original song. This led to a meeting with hard rock producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange (AC/DC, Def Leppard), who wanted to move into country music. By the end of the year, they were married and writing material for her next album, The Woman in Me, which was released in 1995. The result of that union was a sophomore album that also reached the 11 million sales mark, making Shania the first female artist to sell over 11 million copies of back-to-back releases. With such hits as “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?” and “(If You’re Not In It For Love) I’m Outta Here!”, she was quickly becoming a prominent force in the music industry.

Her ability to write poignant songs that effortlessly cross into the mainstream has made Shania Twain nothing short of a musical phenomenon.