shania twain

Emerging in the mid-'90s, Shania Twain (pronounced shu-NYE-uh) became the most popular country music artist since Garth Brooks. Skillfully fusing mainstream, AOR rock production with country-pop, Twain and her producer/husband Robert John "Mutt" Lange created a commercial juggernaut with her second album, The Woman In Me. The record became a multi-platinum phenomenon, peaking at number five on the pop charts and eventually selling over nine million copies in America alone. Twain might have sold a lot of records, but like other mega-selling acts before her, she earned few good reviews -- most critics accused her of diluting country with bland, anthemic hard rock techniques and with shamelessly selling her records with sexy videos. Fans ignored such complaints, mainly because her audience was comprised of many listeners that had grown accustomed to such marketing strategies by constant exposure to MTV. And Twain, in many ways, was the first country artist to fully exploit MTV's style. She created a sexy, video-oriented image -- she didn't even tour during the year when The Woman In Me was on the top of the country charts -- that appealed not only to the country audience, but also to pop fans. In turn, she became a country music phenomenon.

Shania Twain was born in Windsor, Ontario (August 28, 1965) and raised in the small, rural town of Timmins, Ontario. As a child, learned to play guitar at an early age and would spend much of her time singing, writing, and playing. Early on in her musical development, her parents pushed her on stage, making her perform frequently around their little town; often, she would be pulled out of bed around one in the morning to sing at local bars, since as a child, she could only appear in the clubs after they had stopped serving alcohol. In addition to bars, she sang on local radio and television stations and community events. When she was 21 years old, both of her parents died in an car crash, forcing her to take responsiblity for her four younger brothers. In order to pay the bills and keep food on the table, she took job singing at a resort in Deerhurst. With the money she earned at the resort, she bought a house and had the family settle down.

At the resort, she sang showtunes from George Gershwin to Andrew Lloyd Webber, as well as little country. Twain stayed there for three years, at the end of which all of her siblings had begun lives of their own. When she was finally independent again, she assembled a demo tape of her songs and her manager set up a showcase concert in Canada. Shania caught the attention of a few insiders with the concert and within a few months, Mercury Nashville had signed her to their roster. Her eponymous debut album was released in 1993 and although it wasn't a major hit, it performed respectably in the United States, launching two minor hit wingles, "What Made You Say That" and "Dance With the One That Brought You;" in Europe, the album was more successful and Country Music Television Europe named her Rising Video Star of the Year.

Shortly after the release of Shania Twain, the singer met and fell in love with Robert John "Mutt" Lange, a hard rock producer known for his work with AC/DC, Def Leppard, Foreigner and the Cars. Lange had been wanting to move into country music for a while and after hearing Twain's debut album, he decided to get in contact with her with the intention of working on an album. By the end of the year, the pair had married and begun working on her second record. The two either wrote or co-wrote the material that eventually formed The Woman In Me.

The Woman in Me was released in the spring of 1995. Its first single, "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" went to number 11 early in the year, quickly followed by "Any Man of Mine," which became her first number one single in the spring. The album's title track went to number 14 in the fall, while the fourth single,"(If You're Not In It for Love) I'm Outta Here!," rocketed to number one toward the end of the year; early in 1996",No One Needs to Know" became her third number one hit. By the beginning of 1996, The Woman In Me had sold over six million copies and broken the record for the most weeks spent at number one on the country charts. During the course of 1996, it would rack another three million in sales. Come on Over followed in 1997.



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