Shania Twain to perform at Bon Secours Arena in Greenville

Spartanburg Herald-Journal
By L. Kent Wolgamott
July 16, 2015

Shania Twain hadn't been on tour for more than a decade before she began her "Rock This Country" excursion this summer. And she doesn't plan to ever be back on the road again.

The '90s country star, who has sold more than 85 million albums, isn't quitting music altogether. But she says she's shutting down touring once her current "Rock This Country" trek wraps up in October.

"This is certainly not my retirement from music," Twain said in a telephone news conference. "I will be doing music, I'm sure, until the day I die. I love music too much. The performance side of it, I feel, is a phase in my life. I've been doing it for so long. I'm 50 this year. I've been on stage since I was 8 years old and I've really put in my fair share of performance. I'm feeling that the time is just right now to do other things musically.

"I want to write more. I want to make lots more records. I miss making records and I haven't made enough records in my life and my career," she said. "I also want to write songs for other artists that are coming up and I want to sit back and enjoy them having their moment on the stage and being proud that I'm being proud of their success. . That's a whole exciting phase for me that I look forward to. I just see it as an evolution in my career really."

In fact, Twain has begun recording a new album her first since 2002's "Up!" Generally artists wait until the record is completed before touring. But the timing didn't work for Twain, who is coming off a two-year residency at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.

She isn't doing any new material on the tour yet it's a possibility for later on the tour. She plans to sing new songs throughout the summer as she makes the new record while on the road utilizing a mobile recording setup.

"I'm going to try to squeeze in working on the album while I'm on the tour," Twain said. "There's going to be a little bit of tug-of-war for my time in getting this music finished. ... On my off days and time when I'm not on stage and traveling I'll be recording vocals or working on the songwriting and so on. I'm going to pretty much be working between the stage and the new album."

That means that Twain's show will be a retrospective affair, a last chance for fans to hear her sing songs including "Any Man of Mine," "You're Still the One" and "Man! I Feel Like a Woman."

"It's the classic stuff that everybody knows. That's what this tour is all about bringing the hits to everybody, bringing them to their hometowns," she said. "For me, this tour is about reuniting with the fans. I haven't done it in a long time. The reason for the tour is to say goodbye to the stage on a high, with my friends, with my fans."

Those hits, which started in 1995 with her "The Woman in Me" album, were on the country charts. But Twain's music blurred the then-sharper distinctions between country, rock, and pop foreshadowing the crossover that typifies the sound of country's current hitmakers.

Any kind of genre division has never been in Twain's mind.

"I never really felt it was necessary to box anything in," she said. "It was a lot more fun to watch things evolve and cross boundaries. That's what I ended up doing in my own career. I never saw myself as any one thing and I never labeled my own self specifically or wrote music for any one genre. It was a pleasant surprise when my music ended up a cross-genre thing."

Twain's string of hits ended just over a decade ago, about the same time she left the road. Initially, she took a hiatus from touring to concentrate on being a mom, raising her son who had just started school when her last tour ended.

That hiatus grew longer and in 2008 there was major upheaval when Twain discovered her then-husband, producer Robert "Mutt" Lange, was having an affair.

The couple divorced and, in a soap-opera-worthy turn, Twain began dating Frederic Thiebaud, whose former wife, Marie-Anne, was having the affair with Lange and had been Twain's best friend. Twain and Thiebaud married in 2011.

Then came another huge scare: Twain began to lose her voice, not just for singing, but even speaking.

"It was very, very scary. It went way beyond not being able to perform. It certainly went beyond concerns for my career and not having a career as a singer," Twain said. "It was a part of me that I was losing, like losing a hand or something. It was going through a grieving process. I really thought I lost my voice, the voice that I knew, the voice I once had. It was very scary and it was just something I was having a terrible time coming to terms with. Before I gave up on it completely, luckily, I found the courage to tackle it and take it on."

Lesions were found on Twain's vocal cords and she was diagnosed with dysphonia. Once treated, Twain was able to resume her singing career, opting first for the Vegas residency.

"During the last part of the two-year period in Vegas, I realized I've missed being out on the touring stage, missed going out to the public as opposed to them coming to me," Twain said, explaining why she's now on the road. "I enjoyed Vegas, but it was a motivation to one more time experience going out into the arena setting and being with people in their home towns."

Twain said she's taking one thing from her Vegas shows on the road. In the smaller, controlled room she was able to get up close and personal with the audience.

"I have to make sure I'm able to get out there in the audience and touch people and look people in the eye and be among them," she said. "There's a plan for that. It's something I'm going to take with me on the tour, even though it won't be as easy to do."

Twain promises the most dynamic show she's ever done with top-flight production as she wraps up her touring career with a bang.

"I think it will be memorable. It's going to rock," she said. "That's for sure. It's going to be a lot of fun. I'm in a good spirit for it. I really feel pumped to get out there and go to their towns and bring them this whole new show, this big sign-off, this big farewell."

But she admits there's a tinge of sadness as well.

"I'm savoring it because it is my last tour," Twain said. "I'm in a farewell spirit, I'm in a reunion spirit. It will be very emotional for me. ... It's a bit of a bittersweet experience."