What's it like to open for Shania Twain?
By Mike Bell
October 15, 2015
Trinity Bradshaw stands on stage during a concert where she opened for country superstar Shania Twain.
“I’ve got to stop saying ‘incredible,’ ” Trinity Bradshaw says with a laugh.
It’s understandable, really. The Summerside, P.E.I.-born, Calgary-based country artist is being asked to describe the experience of opening for one of her heroes, Canadian superstar Shania Twain, last year in Bradshaw’s home province.
Twain was, she says, one of the acts she first gravitated to when she began performing as a child and entering singing competitions that would eventually lead her to become one of the ones to watch on the nation’s country music scene.
So when asked to explain what it was like to realize that dream, her one word is, predictably . . .
“Incredible,” Bradshaw says. “It was just insane, man. I can’t even put myself back in that time again because I kind of blacked it out. I had that much energy and excitement inside, and as soon as I got on that stage it exploded.”
Insane, incredible, exciting — all pretty fitting adjectives for the experience of performing during that Aug. 30 outdoor concert in front of more than 20,000 people during Founders Week in Charlottetown.
How it came about is something she still marvels at.
“Two months earlier, I heard she was coming to Canada . . . and I said (to my manager), ‘I will give you a kidney if you somehow get me to open up for Shania Twain.’ ”
That was, thankfully, an unnecessary offer.
The fast-rising, infinitely talented Bradshaw was already on the radar of the Montreal-based promoter putting on the concert.
So when she received an email from her manager that put her heart in her throat, and a call soon after to confirm it, her response was predictable.
“I called my mother immediately and I just started crying, like bawling. I couldn’t even speak,” she says.
“And my mom, she wasn’t even crying on the other end of the phone, she was like, ‘Why are you crying?’ . . . You know, kind of like, ‘Duh, you knew this was going to happen eventually.’
“It was an incredible feeling.”
It was also, not surprisingly, somewhat nerve-racking — the prospect of setting the table for one of music’s biggest stars.
“Holy s-–t, yeah,” Bradshaw says with a laugh, noting that an experience earlier in the summer helped calm things a little. She’d won a competition that gave her the opportunity to perform one song at the Boots and Hearts Festival in Ontario just before Hunter Hayes took the stage.
“It helped the nerves when I actually played the Shania show a month later, because I experienced kind of the excitement already,” she says. “But this was my hometown. I looked out into that crowd and my father was the first person I saw . . .”
As for the concert, Bradshaw admits it remains something of a blur.
And as to whether there was an audience with the contemporary country queen herself, here Bradshaw says the dream fell a little short.
“There wasn’t,” she says, noting that she was a little “disappointed.”
“Every single person that asks me about the show asks me if I met her, and I wish I could say yes, because she was a huge role model for me.”
Still, Bradshaw has the opening act thing ticked off her bucket list, and just as Twain provided her inspiration when she was first starting out, this “incredible” experience has fuelled a dream for the future.
“Now I’m addicted to big stages,” she says. “I want to play for thousands and thousands of people from now on.”