‘Man, I feel like a sailor’: Shania Twain pays visit to HMCS Ottawa at CFB Esquimalt

Times Colonist
By Richard Watts
April 19, 2018

Canadian country-music superstar Shania Twain emerged on the helicopter deck of HMCS Ottawa at CFB Esquimalt Thursday to thank members of the Canadian Armed Forces for their service and sacrifice.

The appearance before 150 men and women from the Canadian Forces and guests from New Zealand highlighted her song, Soldier, from her latest album, Now.

The song’s lyrics are the reassuring words of a soldier’s loved one. “You’re not alone when you dream, I’m with you. I hear your heart when it beats, I feel it too.”

“I shed a lot of tears during the writing of this song,” Twain told her audience. “It made me very emotional to think about those who are out there braving loneliness and feeling very far away.”

“I do hope you all take it literally,” she said, sounding a little overcome at times. “Not that it should make you sad but I hope it inspires you to know you are loved and appreciated.”

Now, her 2017 studio album, debuted at No. 1 on the sales charts in Canada, making hers the highest chart debut in Canada by any artist last year.

The album also topped the Billboard charts in the U.S., U.K., and Australia. Twain is the top-selling female country artist of all time, with a string of hits that includes Any Man of Mine, That Don’t Impress Me Much, You’re Still the One, and Man! I Feel Like A Woman!

Twain, who was raised in the northeastern Ontario town of Timmins, was clearly a hit with all the service people gathered on HMCS Ottawa’s flight deck.

“When I first joined the navy and I was in basic training that was the CD we always played, Shania Twain,” said Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Yannick Gagne, originally from Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean, in Quebec.

Royal Canadian Air Force Cpl. Amanda Viveash said her warrant officer asked her several days ago if she just happened to like Shania Twain.

“I said ‘Heck, yes,’ and he put my name down and two days later, here I am,” said Viveash. “She was the very first CD I ever got back when I was a pre-teen, The Woman in Me.”

“She’s Canadian, she’s got an awesome personality, she’s gorgeous and she makes great music,” she said.

Twain clearly also has fans around the world, proven by the reactions of about 12 sailors from the Royal New Zealand Navy.

The Kiwi sailors are part of a skeleton crew in Victoria tending to the New Zealand frigate HMNZS Te Kaha, which is entering Victoria Shipyards for a refit.

Petty Officer Candi Fox, from Auckland, New Zealand, said her mum listens to Shania Twain all the time and that meant she has grown up with Twain’s songs. “As a kid you listen to what [your parents] listen to,” said Fox. “As a kid, coming home in the car with her songs blasting away I would ask ‘Who is this?’ ”

Twain, a five-time Grammy Award winner, starts her upcoming tour in Tacoma, Washington on May 3, followed by a pair of dates at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on May 5 and 6.

The tour is Twain’s first extended string of dates since her 2015 performances, which included two concerts at Victoria’s Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre. Twain had said in 2015 that she was retiring from touring, but has since changed her mind.