October 18, 1999
In Her Own Words: Shania Twain (Part 1)
Shania Twain's last sit-down interview before being named Entertainer
Year by the CMA was held in Studio C, the original home of "Nashville
"Music City Tonight" and most recently, the now defunct "Prime Time
Country." A half-dozen of Music Row's lucky hacks (including
CountryCool.com's Hazel Smith) were invited to the musty, dusty,
postage-stamp-sized cubicle where country music stars shared their
with fans via TNN.
Seven hours later, a tearful Shania accepted her Entertainer of the
trophy from Reba McEntire on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, and the
Country Music Association Awards Show was history. Before it all started,
however, Shania fielded questions from Hazel and a few select journalists
about her tour, her upcoming albums and her appearance in tabloid headlines.
Hazel: Tell me about the screaming tabloid headlines.
Shania: (laughs wickedly) You want to ask that first? That's okay. Well,
it's pretty funny. I'd have to know which one you're referring to—there
been many. I've read not one, but I've heard little bits and pieces.
it's true at all. I'm not getting divorced. I'm very happily married.
not going back with my old boyfriend. He won't be driving my bus. (laughs)
What else is in there? I've never had an affair with a married man.
else in there was bad? (hesitates) I think those were the main things.
Q: Only [four] women have been nominated for Entertainer of the Year—Dolly,
Reba, Loretta and Barbara Mandrell. What did you learn from these women?
Shania: All amazing entertainers deserving of that [honor]. I never
gave it that much thought. I've been entertaining my whole life, yet
I'd be surprised if I was to win. I've never won at CMA before, so
be a first which would be surprising itself, no matter what the award
I'm not expecting it. I'm just not expecting it.
Q: They're saying it's your year.
Shania: It's been my year success-wise for the last five years, not
award-wise. I'm not saying I should be winning awards, but as far as
goes it's been as big as anyone can pretty much get for several years
don't know why, this particular year, people would be saying that.
what I'm saying is, I don't deserve all of a sudden being highlighted
particular year. But maybe this year I've put to rest a few questions
doubts in other people's minds. Maybe that's why the industry feels
Q: What does it mean to win the BMI Songwriter's Award? (Note: Shania
the Robert J. Burton Award for "You're Still The One," the most performed
song of the year, as well as Songwriter of the Year from performing
Shania: That's a big honor for me. I've been writing songs since I was
years old on a very serious level. I've been dissecting Dolly Parton,
John, Stevie Wonder and Beatles songs my entire life trying to learn
become a songwriter. I spent more time on that than I did becoming
As a singer, my style is what it is. But as a songwriter there's so
room to grow because of life's experiences. You become more mature,
experienced and you improve, hopefully. That's the part I take the
seriously. Your voice isn't always there throughout the rest of your
but your mind is—hopefully—and that can allow you to write.
Q: I heard you were doing a TV Special. Are you doing a Thanksgiving
Shania:Yes, I am doing a TV special, a CBS special. It's going to be
aired..I don't know when it's going to be aired (laughs). I don't know
it's called (laughs). As far as I know I will not be having a guest.
recording it in Dallas, at the stadium. And we just finished the promo's
with the football players, which was great fun. It's gonna be a unique
special, 'cause it's a stadium special. Obviously, there will be a
people there. I'm very, very exciting. It'll be directly after a game
Dallas. Actually, there's three specials in a row. Celine (Dion) the
night, my special will be the second night after the game, and then
Martin will be the third night. So it's going to be an exciting week
CBS. And to be in their company is awesome obviously.
Q: Will you talk about your Christmas album.
Shania: We're working on a Christmas album that won't make it for this
Christmas. It'll make it for next Christmas. So I'm gonna have two
coming out next year. It'll be Christmas 2000. We haven't decided yet,
think the [other] album will come out then in the next year, or the
beginning of the following. If we can manage it, we'll get it out before
Christmas album gets released. It's hard to say. We're writing it all
We're writing both. I've been writing the Christmas album for a little
now. So to put two albums together it'll take a lot of work. I'm going
off the road for a while. I'll be on the road for three more weeks
November. The tour ended a couple months ago, but we added three more
in November in the United States. Then I won't tour again until the
album is released. Maybe the summer of 2001.
Q: Will you include classic Christmas songs on your album or will they
be your songs?
Shania: There may be some original standards...I mean some classic standards
on there. Of course, there will be original music as well. I'm of the
feeling that if I can write them all, I will. If I have the time. If
don't, I'm fine with putting standards on there. Everyone wants to
standards. So I've not decided yet exactly how many.
Q: Let's clear up a couple questions. First you mentioned you're not
until 2001. Then I read somewhere about you touring with George Strait
year. Is that news to you?
Shania: It's not news to me. I've been asked to do that. But I still
completely decided. Touring with him next summer or in the spring really
puts pressure on me timing-wise to get my albums finished. So I really
to think about it very hard and I really haven't had time to talk to
[husband/producer] Mutt about it seriously. Cause we just started to
about this George Strait thing just last week. He and I have to sit
decide. Cause that would dig in. That's several weeks. I think it's
eight weekends. So I'm not sure yet.
Q: And the other thing, any insight creatively where you are going on
Shania: Well, I suppose like any songwriter, I'm always looking for
angle people can relate to on an everyday basis. I like to stay close
home and tell it from my perspective, meaning it's always going to
conversational and clear. I think that's just my style of writing and
not so sure I'll veer so far away from that. Musically, that's another
all together. I don't know how it's going to come out musically yet.
all a huge experiment. Until you get into the studio it's..it sorta
gets....it's kinda like pottery. I mean, lyrics and the subject matter
write about is like deciding you're going to do pottery. Once you're
it, it could take any shape, any form. In any second it can change
dramatically. That's the part that's harder to pre-determine. It's
don't even know ourselves until we're closer to the end as far as the
Q: How much stock do you put into winning awards?
Shania: Very little value. I don't mean to demean or insult anyone cause
some people take a great deal of pride in winning awards. Obviously,
associations do as well. It's fun to win. It's a novel thing. If I
and won a five-dollar ticket , I'd probably be jumping up and down,
right, I won!" There's something novel about winning whatever it is.
excited as anyone when I get up there and I win. And I'm moved a lot
times by the audience. There is a real audience up there in the balcony.
They are happy for you. There are people you see in the audience and
they are happy for you. It definitely does that for you. But to be
with you, I don't know even half the time what I'm nominated for. Like
night, I went to the BMI Awards. I didn't even know what was going
didn't know I was getting all those things. I wasn't aware. I never
(laughs). I just go. The Canadian Country Music Awards happened recently,
didn't even know...I knew I wasn't going to be able to go. I remember
sometime ago I wasn't going to be there. I knew on that date I was
something else. My sister called me the next day and told me the whole
and what I'd won. I didn't even know what I was nominated for. I don't
there waiting. I learned a long time ago you can end up being very
disappointed. I think it can make you very bitter if you put too much
in all that. I don't want to be like that. I don't want to be bitter.
don't want to compete on that level. I take it quite lightly, actually.
Q: I hear you are going to Asia?
Shania: Yes, January, February.
Q: Are you concentrating on Japan or will you go all over Asia?
Shania: All over Asia. Once we're over there we'll hit a few places.
exactly sure where.
Q: How much does your family depend on you and how much do you depend
Shania: I depend on my family a lot. I need to stay grounded in the
like to remember where I'm from. I get lonely. I mean, everybody gets
lonely. I get lonely for smelling firewood in the air. I get lonely
sound of a loon. I get lonely for snow-mobiling with my nephews. I
lonely for those sorts of things. And I don't get home often enough.
bring my family to me on the road. They are experiencing new things
of it. It's kinda neat what's happening to us as a family. We depend
on each other.
Q: Did you see Dick Frank last night at the BMI Awards? (The attorney
brought her to Nashville originally)
Shania: (animated) No! Was he there?
Q: Yes, he sat by me.
Shania: I saw Mary Del [Frank's daughter] but I missed Dick. Shoot.
Q: You had a massive tour, that just ended, for the last year and a
When you find time to relax, what do you think about it? About the
Shania: Yes. The tour finished two months ago and ended in Dublin. Biggest,
most successful, fun show of the whole tour. Not the biggest audience,
the biggest audience, you know. It was exciting 'cause when we left
states we were playing 20 to 30 thousand a night. Then we went over
England we were playing 10 to 15 thousand, which I knew we were doing
in the states a year ago. But they totally shocked me, they sounded
thousand. It was so fun. I have great memories to take with me from
tour. Fabulous experience. I had so much freaking fun. I never wanted
I don't drink. I don't do drugs. And I eat well. I like to stay fit.
I had a
lot of fun doing it. I didn't feel like I was on some heavy strict
and it was a real drag doing it. I took my horse on the road. I took
on the road. I danced every night I possibly could, in a moving bus,
course. I had a wonderful time. I look forward to my next big tour.
I'm going to have a great time again. In those two months I've been
have had a chance to sit back and say, "It's such a great experience.
not afraid to go and do this again." Not that I was afraid the first
mean, I'd done so much promotion. I'd been away from home so much time
first four years. I wasn't so sure I wanted to do this tour in the
be away from home again. But it was such a fun experience I'm okay
Look for Part 2 of CountryCool.com's interview with Shania Twain next
Interview from Countrycool.com (http://www.countrycool.com/news/10_99/18cover.html)