Shania Twain talks touring, turning 50 and making new music

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By Melissa Ruggieri
July 30, 2015

In early June, Shania Twain stepped onto a stage in Seattle and launched her first tour in more than a decade.

Itís also, she insists, her final tour.

Well, who can blame her, then, for lightening her famous chestnut mane to engage in some blondes-have-more-fun revelry?

Twain is still the biggest-selling female in the history of country music with more than 85 million records sold. In 2012, she returned to performing live with a two-year residency in Las Vegas in a show jammed with hits (and some horses).

A few weeks before the kickoff of her five-month ďRock This CountryĒ outing, Twain chatted with reporters about her plans for the future ó expect to hear new, self-penned music ó as well as the production and set list for the show, which lands at Philips Arena on Saturday.

No, the horses arenít coming.

What fans can expect from her live production:

ďThe tour is called ĎRock This Countryí and itís a celebration tour for a lot of reasons. Iím reuniting with the fans in their hometowns. It is a goodbye to the stage, so the show is full of great technology. Itís a very dynamic show. Itís a whole new fresh production, entirely different from Vegas. Itís going to rock and it will be a lot of fun.Ē

How she chooses her set list:

ďThere wonít be any new music from the new album on the set list at this point, (but) maybe closer to the end of the tour, I might be able to pull some of that music in. I donít want to bore people with songs they donít know. When I go to a concert, I want to hear the songs that Iím familiar with. Ö This tour is really about the classics. The point is to say goodbye to the stage on a high with my friends, with my fans.Ē

What is it like during a typical day on tour?

ďItís pretty much strictly work. On one of my tours, I took my horse with me. That was very unique. It took a bit of planning, but it was my way of getting exercise and getting out and seeing the landscape and I love my horses. This tour will be a little more focused on making my new record. When Iím not onstage or traveling, I will be recording vocals or working on the songwriting, so Iím not going to be able to get out much on this tour.Ē

How she feels going back on the road:

ďIím going to have a lot of fun with this tour. Iím more relaxed in a lot of ways. Iím savoring it because it is my last tour. Iím in a farewell spirit, but Iím in a reunion spirit to get back together with the fans again and that will be emotional to me. Iím putting my best foot forward in every way, technologically, psychologically; itís a bit of a bittersweet experience.Ē

What she learned during her residency in Las Vegas:

ďItís certainly the reason I decided to go out on the tour. During the last part of the two-year period in Vegas, I realized that Iíd missed being out on the touring stage and missed going out to the public as opposed to them coming to me. I figured it would be fun for me to go and visit other towns and experience that excitement. Ö There were a lot of things to learn in Vegas, thatís for sure! The audiences there were very close to the stage. It was one of the luxuries I enjoyed. I like to see the people close up and touch the people.Ē

The sound of her new music:

ďStylistically, itís hard for me to explain; itís different from what Iíve done in the past. The songs and the spirit of the songs are still very relatable. I think itís going to be a lot of unexpected elements to the music. Iím writing it myself so there is no influence from outside, so it will naturally give a different spirit to the music. Iíve evolved and have different things to say and express that werenít true about me 10 or 15 years ago. Itís very personalized songwriting. Itís been a very therapeutic process for me. Iím pouring my heart out in the music, whether itís in the lyrics or the melodies and chord progressions. Itís been a really great experience. I could just do that, write music, and be very satisfied and Iím learning that about myself.Ē

How she got her voice back (prior to her Vegas stint, Twain had vocal problems and feared she would never sing again):

ďIt was a lot of work, a lot of physiotherapy and vocal therapy. Persistence, determination, because like any physiotherapy, itís hard, itís tedious, itís repetitive, itís boring, itís painful a lot of the time, very similar to how an athlete would have to go through it if they had an injury. I need an hour and a half of physical and vocal warmup now before shows.Ē

On turning 50 (she hits the milestone on Aug. 28):

ďI think anybody in the second half of their 40s is already considering what itís going to mean to be 50, and for me, I think itís an inspiration and a motivator to be my best. I sort of feel if I donít push myself and bring myself to be the best that I can be now, itís only going to get harder after that. Youíve got to be the fittest you can be, the most educated you can be, the happiest you can be and I feel it sets a positive, strong platform for myself to jump from, and it sets the tone for the rest of my life, is how I see it.Ē

So, is this the end?

ďItís certainly not my retirement from music. Iíll be doing that until the day I die. But the performance side of it I feel is a phase in my life. Iíve been on stage since I was 8 years old. I really put in my fair share of performances. I want to write more, I want to make a lot more records. I miss making records and I havenít made enough records in my life and in my career. I also want to write songs for other artists who are coming up and enjoy them having their moment on the stage.Ē



Shania Twain

With Gavin DeGraw. 7:30 p.m. Aug. 1. $46-$136. Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive, Atlanta. 1-800-745-3000,