Shania Twain explains why the 'Rock This Country' tour will be her last

Entertainment Weekly
by Kyle Anderson
May 26, 2015

This summer, Shania Twain will do something she hasnít done in over a decade: Sheíll be going on tour. After spending the better part of two years performing as a resident at Caesarís Palace in Las Vegas, the 49-year-old Twain will be taking her show on the road. Not only will it be her first series of concerts in 11 years, but she also intends for it to be her last.

ďI felt like I was going to accomplish everything I needed to accomplish, and what else was there left to do after Las Vegas? It was such a pinnacle moment in my performing career,Ē Twain tells EW. ďIt was a huge mountain for me to climb because I hadnít been on stage in a long time, and I felt like I had arrived once I achieved that. I feel very satisfied after doing that. Iíve got so many things I want to do and not enough time to do them.Ē Those projects include a new album, which is currently in production and would be her first studio release since 2002ís diamond-selling Up!.

In a candid conversation for our Summer Must List issue (on stands now), Twain spoke with EW about her Vegas show, why she loves Bruce Springsteen, and the terrifying period when she thought she would never sing again.

Entertainment Weekly: What has pulled you back onto the road after the Las Vegas residency?
Shania Twain:
My stage concert career is coming to an end, and I didnít want to finish that in one room. I wanted go to the people instead of hosting and having everybody coming to me. I wanted to visit everybody else and go to their hometowns. It felt like the right spirit to be doing that in. Vegas surprised meóit was such a success. Of course I was hoping it would be a success, but you never really know. So there was a lot of relief there, and now that Iíve achieved that I want to enjoy it a little bit longer, and the next phase of that is to get out on the road and bring myself to the fans.

How is the planning going on this tour? How have you approached it?
I normally just start with a theme. What theme do I want? People want to hear the hits, so theyíre going to get that. I wanted it to be a rock show. There are so many guitars in all the songs. So when I say a rock show, the music is still what it is. Itís not like now Iím just making all the songs rock, they are what they are. But the theme is a more straightforward rocking spectacle. The contemporary side is more the technology and what we can bring to the stage as far as gadgets. I told the director the theme I want, and we went from there with all the latest and greatest technology.

Youíre in the middle of working on your first new album since 2002. Will there be new songs on this tour?
I think itís to be determined. Maybe the timing will work out so that we can do that. Itís hard to know how soon the new music will be ready. Iím working on it all the time, but the irony of all this is going out on the road is going to slow all of that down. Thatís my dilemma! When Iím out on the road and putting productions together, Iím not working on new music. I think when youíre a singer and a performer and youíre not a writer and youíre not involved with the production, youíre not really creating stuff, you can just tour and record all the time and never run out of steam or worry about that balance. I just feel like I need to grow another me if Iím going to be able to do it all. I need to get my petri dish out or something, and duplicate my creative self so I can write and record and produce and perform all at the same time. And Iím a parent of a teenage child and Iíve got a lovely marriage, and Iíd like to balance my personal life as well. That takes dedication. But Iíve got all kinds of albums I want to make that Iíve been putting offóIíd love to make a Christmas album at some point. I really want to give people new music.

Since you havenít recorded an album in so long, is there a backlog of hundreds of songs?
Oh yes. I want to do a lot more recording. I donít feel like Iíve made enough records in my life. A lot of artists make a new album every year, and I just have such a sparse amount of recordings, and Iíve got a lot more to say and to sing in that sense. Iíve been lucky, because the fans are so dedicated to the music I already have, and they love that music. Itís their classic Shaniaóthey own that. But that want new music, and so do I. Itís like anything. I grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac, and theyíre still out there and still touring. I love the new stuff, but Iíll always want to hear the old stuff.

Who do you consider your peers in the touring world?
I think some of the classic artists are really still some of the best shows. I would say Springsteen is somebody who is a touring mentor. It just never gets old and itís always exciting and the vibe is always amazing. He works so hard. It is work! It takes a commitment, and itís a big commitment. The more you put in, the more you get out of it.

Before your Vegas residency, you had vocal problems and couldnít sing for a long time. Did you ever think that it was over for you?
Yes, definitely. It was very depressing for me. I really believed that I would never sing again. I was convinced, because for a long time I just couldnít get it out. It wasnít my vocal cords, which was very frustratingóif it was a straight ahead problem I could just have an operation for, then I would have done it and dealt with it and got back to singing. But it was so much more mysterious than that. Itís been a giant, long-term issue. It was more like an athlete going into rehab for an injury. It was a slow, painful processóit was like having to learn to walk all over again after an accident. I had to learn how to use my voice again. It was all there, but I had to learn how to use the tools all over again from scratch, and it was very frustrating.

Do you think it has made you a different kind of singer?
There are parts of my voice that were never there or I never knew I had. I never discovered them because I was never forced to discover them. Just as an example: When I was on the road before, I never even warmed up. My voice was preserved really well and I was technically doing all the right things and never really struggled with my voice. Now I need an hour now of serious warming up. Itís very structured and disciplined. Iíve got to eat a very specific way on show days. I have to rest more. It just takes more work. That just could be age, too, thatís all part of it. Iíll have to do it forever. Itís a physical workout and a vocal workout. Itís very high maintenance. But I do think I sing better, and I think I can do more things with my voice now than I did before. When I say I sing better, I think Iíve got some better qualities that I never had before. Though there are some things I could sing when I was younger that I probably couldnít sing now unless I had a two hour warm-up routine, which Iím not really willing to do.