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October 18, 1999 

In Her Own Words: Shania Twain (Part 1) 

Shania Twain's last sit-down interview before being named Entertainer of the 
Year by the CMA was held in Studio C, the original home of "Nashville Now," 
"Music City Tonight" and most recently, the now defunct "Prime Time 
Country." A half-dozen of Music Row's lucky hacks (including's Hazel Smith) were invited to the musty, dusty, 
postage-stamp-sized cubicle where country music stars shared their wares 
with fans via TNN. 

Seven hours later, a tearful Shania accepted her Entertainer of the Year 
trophy from Reba McEntire on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, and the 33rd 
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 have 
been many. I've read not one, but I've heard little bits and pieces. None of 
it's true at all. I'm not getting divorced. I'm very happily married. I'm 
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. What 
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 really 
gave it that much thought. I've been entertaining my whole life, yet I think 
I'd be surprised if I was to win. I've never won at CMA before, so it would 
be a first which would be surprising itself, no matter what the award was. 
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 success 
goes it's been as big as anyone can pretty much get for several years now. I 
don't know why, this particular year, people would be saying that. I guess 
what I'm saying is, I don't deserve all of a sudden being highlighted this 
particular year. But maybe this year I've put to rest a few questions and 
doubts in other people's minds. Maybe that's why the industry feels this is 
my year. 

Q: What does it mean to win the BMI Songwriter's Award? (Note: Shania won 
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 rights 
organization BMI.) 

Shania: That's a big honor for me. I've been writing songs since I was 10 
years old on a very serious level. I've been dissecting Dolly Parton, Elton 
John, Stevie Wonder and Beatles songs my entire life trying to learn how to 
become a songwriter. I spent more time on that than I did becoming a singer. 
As a singer, my style is what it is. But as a songwriter there's so much 
room to grow because of life's experiences. You become more mature, more 
experienced and you improve, hopefully. That's the part I take the most 
seriously. Your voice isn't always there throughout the rest of your life, 
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 TV 

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 what 
it's called (laughs). As far as I know I will not be having a guest. I'm 
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 lot of 
people there. I'm very, very exciting. It'll be directly after a game in 
Dallas. Actually, there's three specials in a row. Celine (Dion) the one 
night, my special will be the second night after the game, and then Ricky 
Martin will be the third night. So it's going to be an exciting week for 
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 albums 
coming out next year. It'll be Christmas 2000. We haven't decided yet, I 
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 the 
Christmas album gets released. It's hard to say. We're writing it all now. 
We're writing both. I've been writing the Christmas album for a little while 
now. So to put two albums together it'll take a lot of work. I'm going to be 
off the road for a while. I'll be on the road for three more weeks in 
November. The tour ended a couple months ago, but we added three more weeks 
in November in the United States. Then I won't tour again until the new 
album is released. Maybe the summer of 2001. 

Q: Will you include classic Christmas songs on your album or will they all 
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 I 
don't, I'm fine with putting standards on there. Everyone wants to hear 
standards. So I've not decided yet exactly how many. 

Q: Let's clear up a couple questions. First you mentioned you're not touring 
until 2001. Then I read somewhere about you touring with George Strait next 
year. Is that news to you? 

Shania: It's not news to me. I've been asked to do that. But I still haven't 
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 have 
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 talk 
about this George Strait thing just last week. He and I have to sit down and 
decide. Cause that would dig in. That's several weeks. I think it's seven or 
eight weekends. So I'm not sure yet. 

Q: And the other thing, any insight creatively where you are going on the 
next album? 

Shania: Well, I suppose like any songwriter, I'm always looking for a new 
angle people can relate to on an everyday basis. I like to stay close to 
home and tell it from my perspective, meaning it's always going to be fairly 
conversational and clear. I think that's just my style of writing and I'm 
not so sure I'll veer so far away from that. Musically, that's another thing 
all together. I don't know how it's going to come out musically yet. That is 
all a huge experiment. Until you get into the studio it' sorta's kinda like pottery. I mean, lyrics and the subject matter you 
write about is like deciding you're going to do pottery. Once you're doing 
it, it could take any shape, any form. In any second it can change so 
dramatically. That's the part that's harder to pre-determine. It's like we 
don't even know ourselves until we're closer to the end as far as the sound 

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, the 
associations do as well. It's fun to win. It's a novel thing. If I scratched 
and won a five-dollar ticket , I'd probably be jumping up and down, "All 
right, I won!" There's something novel about winning whatever it is. I'm as 
excited as anyone when I get up there and I win. And I'm moved a lot of 
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 you see 
they are happy for you. It definitely does that for you. But to be honest 
with you, I don't know even half the time what I'm nominated for. Like last 
night, I went to the BMI Awards. I didn't even know what was going on. I 
didn't know I was getting all those things. I wasn't aware. I never ask 
(laughs). I just go. The Canadian Country Music Awards happened recently, I 
didn't even know...I knew I wasn't going to be able to go. I remember saying 
sometime ago I wasn't going to be there. I knew on that date I was doing 
something else. My sister called me the next day and told me the whole scoop 
and what I'd won. I didn't even know what I was nominated for. I don't sit 
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 weight 
in all that. I don't want to be like that. I don't want to be bitter. I 
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. I'm not 
exactly sure where. 

Q: How much does your family depend on you and how much do you depend on 

Shania: I depend on my family a lot. I need to stay grounded in the sense I 
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 for the 
sound of a loon. I get lonely for snow-mobiling with my nephews. I get 
lonely for those sorts of things. And I don't get home often enough. So I 
bring my family to me on the road. They are experiencing new things because 
of it. It's kinda neat what's happening to us as a family. We depend a lot 
on each other. 

Q: Did you see Dick Frank last night at the BMI Awards? (The attorney who 
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 half. 
When you find time to relax, what do you think about it? About the tour? 

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, but 
the biggest audience, you know. It was exciting 'cause when we left the 
states we were playing 20 to 30 thousand a night. Then we went over to 
England we were playing 10 to 15 thousand, which I knew we were doing that 
in the states a year ago. But they totally shocked me, they sounded like 40 
thousand. It was so fun. I have great memories to take with me from that 
tour. Fabulous experience. I had so much freaking fun. I never wanted to 

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 regime 
and it was a real drag doing it. I took my horse on the road. I took my dog 
on the road. I danced every night I possibly could, in a moving bus, of 
course. I had a wonderful time. I look forward to my next big tour. I think 
I'm going to have a great time again. In those two months I've been home I 
have had a chance to sit back and say, "It's such a great experience. I'm 
not afraid to go and do this again." Not that I was afraid the first time, I 
mean, I'd done so much promotion. I'd been away from home so much time the 
first four years. I wasn't so sure I wanted to do this tour in the sense I'd 
be away from home again. But it was such a fun experience I'm okay with it 

Look for Part 2 of's interview with Shania Twain next week. 

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