Shania: 'Enough songs for two albums'
By Brian Mansfield
June 4, 2015
Shania Twain planned to have a new album ready when she finished her Las Vegas residency in December.
But things didn't work out the way she planned.
"Vegas was a giant undertaking," says the singer. "That's slowed the album process down."
If Twain couldn't get it done during two years in Vegas, does she have a chance of finishing it during her three-and-a-half-month Rock This Country Tour, which kicks off Friday in Seattle?
"It won't be any easier," she says, "and it will be frustrating for me."
Fortunately, she says, the songs are written: "I've got enough songs for two albums at this point, because I've been at it for two years."
She also has a good start on the tracking. "We've already tackled, I'd say, half the album, as far as a first draft on production.
"It's like building a house. The planning stages take the longest. Once the hammers and nail start going, it rolls along a lot faster."
While Twain's producers, whose names she has yet to reveal, work on the music, the singer plans to record her vocals as she travels. "My voice will be in good shape, because I'll be singing every day," she says. "That will lend itself to this end of the record."
Twain hasn't released a studio album since 2002's Up!, which shipped 11 million copies, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. It was her third album to sell at least that many; Come On Over, released in 1997, has sold 20 million copies, making it the top-selling album ever by a female country singer.
Those albums, along with 1993's The Woman in Me, made Twain a superstar with a combination of big-beat country-rock songs and sweet ballads. Twain and Robert "Mutt" Lange, her husband and producer at the time, reshaped the sound of country music during that era, creating tightly structured tracks that piled on musical hook after hook and pulled in country and pop fans alike.
"Mutt was extremely talented at that because he was going from one genre to another well before I came into the picture, going from AC/DC to Billy Ocean," Twain says. "There were so many night-and-day things he did. Even within our stuff, he was able to make that departure. Now this new record will be a completely different departure again."
Twain's quick to emphasize that her fans shouldn't expect her new music to simply sound like an update of Any Man of Mine or Honey, I'm Home.
"It's so entirely different," she says. "It's better for me to say it right now. That songwriting is just so different."
Twain has written the entire album herself, where she and Lange collaborated on her previous hits.
"Co-writing is a whole other ballgame," she says. "I'm a tennis player, and the singles game is completely different from the doubles game. It's a different approach, a different strategy, different everything.
"Mutt was an amazing songwriting teacher. He never interfered with my writing style and the way I approached songs. I learned a lot from him, and I think I was a great student. I would bring in a whole bunch of stuff to him, then we would sit together and hash through stuff.
"That's the part I'm not doing now. I'm not bouncing anything off anybody else and waiting for direction or a reaction."
Twain doesn't believe her new music has taken such a dramatic turns that fans won't recognize it. "It will still be my voice," she says. "I think my writing style will still be very clear. A lot of time has passed. I guess a departure would even be expected, it has been so many years."
At one point, Twain indicated she would release the new album soon after she turned 50, which happens Aug. 28. She hedges on that deadline now, saying she doesn't want to rush the process of her producers.
"They've got me in their ear; I'm giving my direction already," she says. "But I want that direction to be creative, as opposed to my being the time master.
"There has to be a single release while I'm 50. So I've given them that extra space. The album will just follow as it follows."