Retiring from the road, Shania Twain says the music will keep coming

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
By Kelly B. Gormly
July 8, 2015

Your final chance to see pop-country star Shania Twain in concert comes this week. But fans needn't grieve they are losing the artist altogether.

Twain says she is retiring from touring after the 60-plus-stop Rock This Country Tour, which kicked off June 5 in Seattle and comes to Consol Energy Center on July 10. But the Canadian singer and songwriter, known mostly for her multiplatinum success in the '90s, isn't giving up music. No, that's not going to happen, fans. You will, before too long, get a new Twain album. She loves music too much to let that go, so Twain, as one of her biggest hits says, is keeping it “Forever and For Always.”

“I will be doing music, I'm sure, until the day I die,” says Twain, who will turn 50 in August.

“The performance side of it, I feel, is a phase in my life,” she says. “I've been doing it so long. ... I've really put in my fair share of performance. I want to write more. I want to make lots more records.”

This will be Twain's first North American tour in more than 11 years, and it started soon after she completed a two-year residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Twain, who has sold more than 75 million albums worldwide and has had 17 Top 10 singles, wants to shift her focus back to writing and recording.

“My frame of mind is, I want to move on to different things,” Twain says. Writing songs “takes a lot of emotional energy and it's time-consuming. ... I've got a lot more to say and more to sing. ... I'm also very overdue for new music, not just for one album. I've got a bunch of albums that I still want to make that have been backed up in my own mind.”

Twain — known for her successful crossover into pop from country — hopes to write songs for other artists, too.

“I want to sit back and enjoy them having their moment on the stage, and being proud that I am a part of their success,” Twain says. “That's a whole other exciting phase for me that I look forward to. I see it as an evolution in my career, really.”

But despite the upcoming change, Twain says she is relishing every moment on tour, especially knowing it will be the last time.

Fans will hear some newer songs in Twain's set list, but they can count on a good supply of her beloved hits. Twain's best-known hits include “Up,” “Come On Over,” “Man! I Feel Like a Woman,” “You're Still the One,” “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?” and “(If You're Not in It for Love) I'm Outta Here.”

“A tour is all about bringing hits to everybody,” Twain says. “For me, this tour is about reuniting with the fans. I haven't done it in a long time. ... This tour's really all about the classics.”

Twain has survived many struggles during the past several years, including a highly publicized and dramatic divorce from husband Robert John “Mutt” Lange, who was her producer and co-writer.

Meanwhile, Twain suffered from dysphonia, an ailment where muscles squeeze the voice box, and it caused her to lose some of her voice. But with good physical care and practice, Twain says, she regained her famous voice, and she is enjoying sharing it with fans from the stage.

While in Las Vegas, Twain enjoyed the experience and the intimacy with the audience but yearned to experience touring and performing on arena stages one more time. In a way, Twain says she will be reintroducing herself to her fans after her long touring hiatus.

“For the last two years in Las Vegas, the fans have been coming to me,” Twain says. “I just feel pumped to get out there and go to their towns.

“It's a very exciting time for me,” she says. “The most rewarding thing for me ... is seeing the fans and being with them and sharing the excitement with them.”

Shania Twain history

Aug. 28, 1965: Eilleen Regina Edwards is born to Clarence and Sharon Edwards. Her parents divorce when she is 2. Her mother marries Jerry Twain, an Ojibwa Indian, who adopts Eilleen and her two sisters. She becomes Eilleen Twain at age 4 and grows up in the rural Canadian mining town of Timmins, Ontario. By age 8, Shania Twain is performing in clubs late at night.

1987: Twain's parents are killed in a head-on collision. At 22, Twain cares for her three teenage siblings and earns her living by singing at the upscale Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario. When the kids are grown, Twain heads to Nashville in the early '90s to pursue her dreams.

1993: Twain signs a record deal with Mercury Nashville, changing her name to Shania, an Ojibwa name meaning “I'm on my way,” and releases her self-titled debut album. She begins writing songs over the phone with London-based producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange. In June of 1993, Twain and Lange meet in person, fall in love and marry by the end of the year.

1995: Twain becomes a household name with the album “The Woman in Me,” for which she co-wrote 10 of 12 songs. The record sells 12 million copies. Twain receives four Grammy nominations for it and wins for Best Country Album. The album includes the hits “The Woman in Me (Needs the Man in You),” “If You're Not in It for Love (I'm Outta Here!)” and “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?”

1997: Twain's third album — “Come On Over,” featuring hits including “From This Moment On” and “You're Still the One” — comes out and sells 34 million copies worldwide. Twain gets the cover of Rolling Stone.

2001: Twain gives birth to her son Eja (pronounced Asia) while she and her husband are living in Switzerland.

2002: Twain puts out the album “Up!,” a double CD that has several versions of its 19 tracks, both pop and country.

2008: Lange and Twain split in May in a scandal allegedly involving him and Twain's best friend. Six months later, Twain makes her first public appearance since the split at the Country Music Association Awards, where she presents Kenny Chesney with the Entertainer of the Year Award. She couples up with her current husband, Frederic Thiebaud.

2010: Twain announces her television show on the Oprah Winfrey Network called “Why Not? With Shania Twain.”

2012: After an eight-year hiatus from the stage, Twain kicks off a two-year residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas with her “Still the One” show.

2015: Twain kicks off her Rock This Country Tour, which she says is her final hurrah.