SHANIA TWAIN is stalking the world stage again and ticket and album sales are proof that her fans are thrilled to see her reclaim her place as the world’s top-selling Country artiste.
She’s sold more than 75 million albums and her latest — Now — has soared to the top of the sales charts just like the others.
Her huge 2018 concert tour has already started to sell out some venues and more dates are being begged.
Shania hits the UK in September next year on the crest of a wave but, of course, it was not always like that for this girl from Ontario.
“Yes, I had a tough time as a kid, lots of people do, so I’m not crying about it,” said Shania, who’s 52.
“My mum and dad never had much money, so it was difficult for them and us as a family.
“They often fought, so there was a lot of stress in those early days.
“I was ’way beyond worrying if I was wearing the right, trendy jeans. I was hungry.
“The whole family was hungry and there was a danger that if the authorities found out, they might split us. We did not want that to happen.
“I did everything I could to hide our poverty. I sometimes took mustard sandwiches to school to make it look as if I had a real lunch.
“Anything to keep us together.”
By the time she was eight, Shania was already singing Country music in old people’s homes and all kinds of other venues to bring in a few dollars.
“I learned a lot quickly,” she said.
“It wasn’t just the singing. I was an outdoor girl and quickly picked up how to chop wood without losing a finger as well as how to hunt, and I also learned about logging.
“I liked being outdoors and in remote country. There was nothing better for me than to sit under a tree with my dog and write songs.
“Music became my life. It’s like a drug to me. I spent my teen years high on music and it still has a hold on me which is difficult to explain.
“In those early days, I’d sing just about anywhere for a few dollars, but when I started singing in clubs after midnight, I began to hate it.
“I was singing to drunks and it wasn’t the nicest audience. I sometimes took home $20, which was big money, so it was worth it.
“In a sense, it was quite an education, too, and at least I was singing and enjoying my music.”
Not long after she became a teenager, Shania had a break.
“There was a CBC show called the Tommy Hunter Show,” she recalled.
“I was still at school, of course, but had started singing with a band called Longshot.
“We used to do covers, which is always popular.
“Suddenly, I was in front of a much bigger audience and I loved it.
“I joined another covers band called Flirt and we travelled around Ontario.
“I started singing lessons and did some cleaning to pay for them.
“Then finally someone noticed me and I got a write up in Country Music News, thanks to a guy called Stan Campbell who was a DJ.
“Things started to happen after that.”
They certainly did. Shania became an international star with a massive fan following and it was a real shock when she announced her retirement in 2004.
“I was having trouble singing,” said Shania, who has a 16-year-old son, Eja, from her first marriage.
She is now married to Frederic.
“My voice was weakening and it was discovered that I had lesions on my vocal cords.
“They called it dysphonia, which was probably a result of Lyme disease.
“They said it could be treated, but they could not guarantee that my voice would be as it was.
“I wanted the treatment and to sing again, but there were no guarantees, so retirement seemed the only option.
“You have to learn with things in life. It was terrible when my first marriage fell apart, but I had my son to take care of.
“Fortunately, when you’re a mum, the responsibility of caring for your child can keep you going. I think Eja kept me going through a dark time.
“Later, I met Frederic and things just started to get better and better.
“I love being a mum and a wife. It gives a point to everything and I have had nothing but support from them.”
It took eight years, but then Shania’s voice strengthened again and hope turned into reality.
“It was so good to perform again when I did the season at Caesar’s Palace in 2012, and things just got better because two years later, I went on the road again,” she said.
“I could not describe just how wonderful that was.
“There’s the tour to come and also a movie — Trading Paint — which will be on screen during 2018.
“It was great to make, and to work with someone like John Travolta was a dream come true.
“We shot it in different parts of Alabama and every day was great.
“I went to bed each night looking forward to tomorrow.
“The live shows are what I do best, though, and the big, big tour next year will be all over the States, Canada and here in Britain. I cannot wait.
“There might be Asia, Australia and New Zealand to come, but then I think I would like to go back to Las Vegas for another long residency.
“I love it there. Everyone is so nice just as they are in Britain.
“I have to admit that coming to Britain for the Hyde Park gig was a bit daunting, I didn’t know how I would be received, it has been a while and people grow up so quickly.
“I need not have worried, the audience at Hyde Park was just fantastic, like meeting up with real friends.
“Some of them were asking for selfies while I was on stage — that was such a fun thing to be asked while you are performing at a gig.”
The album, Now, has also performed well.
“I am so glad people like it. I am still a Country singer at heart, but I like to go into other genres, too,” said Shania.
“In many ways, these last few years have been like starting out again as things move on, audiences change, popularity of music genres changes and, of course, technology changes.
“One thing never changes, though — if you have a good song and you perform it well, someone is going to like it and you just hope that enough people like it to make it a success.
“Success is not about money, it is about doing something that has given people pleasure whether you have given them a great night at the show or something to move them in their own homes.”
Shania wrote the songs for the album herself, and in some ways, it reflects her rollercoaster life both on and off the stage.
“I am looking forward to another album to follow this one, but I don’t know if I would write the whole thing myself again,” she admitted.
“It’s a very lonely project. At the time of preparing Now, I quite enjoyed the isolation, I think I needed it. I am used to writing songs on my own, I have done that since I was a little girl. It makes it all much more personal.”
Having stormed Las Vegas for a couple of years, and Hyde Park for one spectacular night, Shania Twain is set to conquer the world in 2018 — all over again!
That Don’t Impress Me Much was one of her biggest of many hits, but who could fail to be impressed by the girl who used to eat mustard sandwiches.