Untitled Document


Biography and Facts


Shania Twain

Birth Name
Eilleen Regina Edwards
August 28th 1965
Jerry and Sharon Twain
Born in
Windsor, Ontario
Raised in
Timmins, Ontario
5'4" (1.62 m)
110lbs (50kg)
36-24-34 (90-60-85 cm)
Shoe size
6 1/2
Favourite food
Favourite dessert
All pastries, especially peach pie
Favourite colors
Red, green
Favourite recreations
Camping, horse riding, playing guitar
Favourite Flowers
White & peach roses
Favourite movie
Immortal Beloved
Favourite actors
Jim Carey and Sean Penn
Favourite actress
Jessica Lange
Best characteristic
Worst charasteristic
What Shania values most
Family and happiness


The next is an article from Priorities© Magazine December 1999, and covers all Shania's biography.

= Shania Twain: Entertainer of the Year—Success On Her Own Terms =

Rock-hard abs. Foxy smile. Devil-brown eyes. Chain saw tough. Soft and sultry as a Tennessee moon rising over Nashville.

Oh yeah, and did we mention that Shania Twain's record albums have sold more single copies than any female country singer in history—The Woman in Me busting through at more than 10 million and Come On Over sailing to well over 11 million. These monster back-to-back multi-platimum winners demolished the old record of six million by Patsy Cline that took over 40 years to reach!

Throw in chart-busting singles that send her songs soaring into the Top 10 week after week, the 1999 "Entertainer of the Year Award" from the Country Music Association, Grammys, Billboard Magazine Awards, Juno Awards and the cover of Cosmopolitan, People and Rolling Stone.

And Shania, is, well simply, boot-kicking en fuego.

Being modelesque and talented can sometimes be mutually exclusive. Shania's got both.

It's not that the new queen of Country doesn't notice how her high energy, swivel-hip moves on stage send fans bonkers or that royalty checks mean she and Lange can indeed, live like royalty in a 19th century manor in Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland.

Shania came from the poor side of town and so far, fame, with its soul-crunching downside, hasn't damaged this singer/songwriter of uncommon proportions who is upbeat, abstains from drugs, cigarettes and alcohol and is a strict vegetarian. She believes so deeply in these things she hand-picked the backup band that just finished a 120-city world concert tour with her this summer. "I like a clean band. I don't like drugs. I don't like alcohol. I like to have clean-living people about me."

Ask Shania what the fast rush of success means, and she will tell you, "I don't really take myself very seriously." Or, to steal a line from her current hit single, "That don't impress me much." Maybe not, but the little gal from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, who was harmonizing with tunes on the radio at three and sang in cabarets, lounges and festivals as early as eight, has more than come a long way, baby. She has redefined country stardom for women. Maybe forever.

She's country, but doesn't sing the traditional love-sick, heartbreak, hard-luck ballads that defined Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. Lange's rock and roll background (he has produced hits for Def Leppard, Bryan Adams, Michael Bolton and the Back Street Boys) infused a new punch and sizzle to Twain's tunes, so much so that her popularity crosses the lines between country, pop, rockabilly and classic rock. Two years ago, music listeners that wouldn't give a hoot for country have "come on over" because of Shania's fresh sound.

Her tunes talk of love and life, working women coming home tired, guys getting jealous when their steady girl talks to other guys, girls' night out with "men's shirts, short skirts," and her own personal love anthem to Mutt in "You're Still the One." She's tackled social issues such as unfaithfulness, domestic violence and hunger.

She gives more advice than Dr. Ruth, the sexologist, who also gets a mention in one of her singles. Want to know how to reach the woman of your dreams? Shania says: "First you gotta learn to listen/To understand her deepest thoughts/She needs to know you can be friends/Before she'll give you all she's got."

And while her music style, dress and demeanor have turned the Grand Ole Opry on its ear, her journey from rural northern Canada to become the undisputed number one hillbilly filly is the stuff of novels.

Shania Twain was born Eilleen Regina Edwards in August 1965 to Clarence and Sharon Edwards. Her parents divorced when she was two, and she moved about 500 miles north of Toronto to Timmins with her two sisters and mom. In 1971, Sharon married Jerry Twain, an Ojibwa Indian. Together they had two sons, and Jerry adopted Shania and her sisters, extending full fellowship into his First Nations tribe. Up until the time Jerry Twain got a steady job in the reforestation business for paper companies—during Shania's later years in high school—the family struggled financially while Jerry was in and out of work, even moving to nearby Sudbury, Ontario, for a time.

Of those early years, Shania recalls "mustard" sandwiches—"just to have something between the bread"—or sometimes days with very little except bread, milk and sugar heated in a pot. If someone took an extra potato, someone else "didn't get a potato at all." A full glass of milk was out of the question. When there wasn't anything for breakfast, Shania's mom "didn't get out of bed. She didn't want to face that morning. And there were a lot of mornings like that."

She tried to hide her poverty from classmates and friends but realized that others had more. "I'd judge other kids' wealth by their lunches. If a kid had baked goods, that was like, oh, they must be rich."

Shania learned to shoot rabbit and moose with her father to supplement family meals. During summers she handled a chain saw and directed crews of forest workers. Looking back she says that "no matter what we all went through, the bigger picture was always there: We were a family and we all cared about each other, and we needed to stick together."

Many times Shania would head outdoors and wander to a quiet solitary spot, sit down with her guitar and write songs. Her imagination led to dreams of a better life. She had three that she prayed for over and over again: live in a brick house and eat roast beef, be kidnapped by Frank Sinatra and be Stevie Wonder's backup singer.

At 10, Twain was deep into songwriting and performing her tunes with a local band on weekends, something she says was "very serious. I basically taught myself. I used to write out all of my chord charts to my original music."

In her early teens she even appeared on The Tommy Hunter Show—Canada's version of the Grand Ole Opry. Back in Timmins at high school, Shania, who maintained B grades, joined a band called The Longshot and sang with them five nights a week. After graduation, Shania quit The Longshot and worked as a secretary in Toronto while singing in nightclubs.

Then tragedy struck. Her parents' car was hit head-on by a logging truck and both were killed. Suddenly Shania, at the young age of 22, became an instant mom as she hurried home to raise her younger sister Carrie-Ann (her older sister, Jill, was married) and brothers, Mark and Darryl, who were in their teens.

Her early resolve and toughness as an adolescent grew even stronger in the face of another round of adversity. She sold her parents' home and moved to a rented house in Huntsville that lacked running water. She did everything from lug containers of fresh water home in her truck so the kids could take baths and do laundry to cooking, cleaning, paying the bills, buying clothes and holding down a cabaret job at a local resort near Muskoka singing six nights a week. Washing clothes out in the local river because she couldn't afford the laundromat kept Shania humble. "That's a part of me I want to try and keep. I think it keeps things in perspective. It keeps you from expecting too much and being let down." She dropped her birth name Eilleen and became Shania, Obijway for "I'm on my way."

Her indefatigable spirit told her that somehow she and her family would pull through the tough times. She recalls, "I always had a feeling things would work out. I still feel that way about life."

She created a demo tape of original music, got the movers and shakers in Nashville to see her lounge act and landed her first record contract in 1991. Her heady sense of direction even bowled over Luke Lewis, the president of Mercury Records in Nashville, when she declared that someday she wanted to be as big as Garth Brooks.

But Nashville failed to understand Shania's real talent, and her first CD—a collection of songs by other writers-sold only 100,000 copies. That's when Mutt Lange discovered Shania after seeing her music video from the album. At first there was some confusion about Lange's interest. Shania and her manager Mary Bailey sent him an autographed picture of her, unaware of his professional portfolio. Persistent, Lange, who was in London, eventually got through directly to Shania, and they talked up a transatlantic storm over the phone almost daily. In the beginning it was strictly business, with each tossing ideas about lyrics and arrangements back and forth. When they finally met face to face in Nashville three months later, it was clear that this twosome was going to be one. They tied the knot at the same Ontario Resort Shania played before her Nashville discovery. Lange and Twain collaborated on her next album "The Woman in Me" producing 10 of the 12 songs—eight of which became hit singles.

A star was born, and Twain and Lange hit a gold mine again with Shania's third album "Come on Over."

This modern-day Rogers and Hammerstein duo have an uncanny way of feeding off each other's energy and ideas. Shania says she worked on a lot of the song themes that she collaborated with Lange on before they hooked up. But "when you get together with the right person, all the right things seem to start happening. He comes from the rock world, so he's got so much spunk to his music. But obviously, we have a much closer relationship than your average co-writers."

Lange did not make the same mistake that Nashville did in the beginning with Twain. He took her seriously as a songwriter and gave her the room and environment to develop her natural abilities. Shania notes. "I just think Mutt's been able to bring out the best in me. He's made me a much better writer."

Lange not only had an eye for talent—given the mega stars he has arranged songs for—he also saw Shania's attractiveness. Shania's first CD included a midrift shot of her now famous navel in the video of her song "What Made You Say That?"

Greg Haraldson, a program director at a Calgary country music station, said, "Part of the success of country music today is sex appeal. And Shania's incredibly sexy."

Shania's own personal taste in clothes is very conservative. "I'm very old-fashioned," she says, preferring white shirts and jeans. But she's in the entertainment business and there is a certain glitzy element to the whole scene. When she's on stage or filming for a video, she gets to step outside herself and "be this person that's just free and getting into the music and having fun. This is the midriff year. Who knows what it will be next year? I hate my legs, so I'll never have a leg year."

Mercury's Lewis acknowledges that Shania knew how to change country's dress code—kicking it up a notch without going over the edge. "She decided she could be sexier; she could show her belly button. She was the first one to figure that out."

Lange wasn't the only one to notice her moves. Sean Penn and John and Bo Derek have shot music videos for Shania. The Dereks helped produce Shania's "Any Man of Mine" video from her second album.

Shania's attraction to country music came naturally. As a performer, she says it's what she's most comfortable with and likes the fact that country really grew from the hearts and experiences of common people doing common things. "It's just not an eccentric world," she said.

One curious journalist asked how she could write and sing about adult relationships when she was just a kid and Shania responded that she may not have related to the story well, "but I would get into the emotion of singing, so it was quite convincing."

With her champagne-popping success, fans clamored for her to go on the road. She resisted until she had enough of her own material from two big-time albums under her 10-gallon hat. From mid-1998 through August of 1999, she was belting out tunes at concert halls, hockey rinks and amphitheaters across the U.S., Canada, England, Ireland and Australia.

The stage is where Shania likes to dance, prance and sing the most, reminding those who were getting itchy for her to launch a concert tour that the stage "is where I started." She loves the rush of being in front of a big audience and draws energy from a crowd. She's less at home in a studio or in front of TV cameras. Of her stage life, Shania says, "I'd be more nervous having a dinner party than I am entertaining 15,000 people a night."

The suggestion that she is the creation of Lange or anyone else makes her bristle. She has stated unequivocally, "I don't want to be a product of anything—whether it's a photographer, a makeup artist, a record label or even a producer." Even Lewis at Mercury said Twain has put her own special style and stamp on her country career. He disagreed that Shania was a "marketing-driven artist. It's been her vision from the beginning—all the clothes, all the looks, all the concepts."

While new songs and catchy lyrics come spinning out of Shania's brain like cosmic waves, she is quick to acknowledge those who fired her imagination. Elton John is "the single most important influence" in her songwriting. She idolizes Dolly Parton and listened to Stevie Wonder, the Mamas and the Papas and the Carpenters growing up.

Still, she can never escape the reality of her early years as a poor girl from a rural Canadian town. And that's why she feels so passionate about charitable causes that help feed the hungry. She donates a portion of every concert to the less fortunate.

"My childhood was difficult, but it's driven me on."

There was a time in her life when the sadness of her parents' death and her loneliness drove her to write "God Bless the Child" and play it over and over again. It was an autobiographical tribute to her personal tragedies. Later she acknowledged that the song was her way of "crying out. I sang it until I met Mutt. Now, I don't feel lost anymore."

Sorrow could fill her lyrics, but she said she's personally too upbeat to drag her fans and listening audience into a downward spiral of setbacks and hard-luck challenges. Her therapy for tough times has been her music—her gift to others—and her marriage to Mutt—a gift they nurture and cultivate together.

Shania is riding high in the saddle but there's little time to pause and soak in the accolades. This fall, she was splashed across TV ads and the pages of magazines promoting Revlon's new ColorStay Liquid Lip.

At home with Mutt in their Swiss mansion after a year on the road, Shania is back to home cooking and just hanging out. If you hear chain saws echoing through the Swiss countryside, better watch out, it could be Shania. Before kicking off her world tour, the host of TNN's Prime Time Country baited Shania into a chain saw log-cutting contest. She mockingly looked at her saw and growled, "This is kind of dinky. It's what men would call a woman's chain saw." The contest commenced and Shania blew through the log in seconds, leaving the TV jockey breathless and badly beaten.

Nothing's going to stop this girl. Not now. She's "on her way."

Awards List

ABC Radio Networks Country Music Awards:
Female Video Artist of the Year, "The Woman In Me". (1995)

Academy of Country Music Awards:
Album of the Year, "The Woman In Me" (1996)
World Class Sales Award (1999)

American Music Awards:
Favourite New Country Artist (1995)
Favourite Female Country Artist (1996/97/98)

Big Country Music Awards:
Female Vocalist Of The Year (1999)
Best Canadian Country Artist (1999)

Billboard Music Awards:
Country Album of the Year, "TWIM" (1996)
Favourite Female Artist (1998)
Hot 100 Single, "You're Still The One" (1998)
Top Selling Female Country Artist (1998)

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards:
Favourite New Country Artist (1996)
Favourite Country Artist (1999)
Favourite Single, "You're Still The One" (1999)

BMI Pop Awards:
One of the Most Performed Songs of the Year, "Any Man Of Mine" (1995)
One of the Most Performed Songs of the Year, "I'm Outta Here" (1995)
Song of the Year, "You're Still The One" (1999)

Canadian Country Music Association Awards:
Female Vocalist of the Year (1995/96/98)
Album of the Year, "The Woman In Me" (1995)
Single of the Year, "Any Man of Mine" (1995)
Video of the Year, "Any Man of Mine" (1995)
SOCAN Song of the Year, "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" (1996)
Video of the Year, "I'm Outta Here" (1996)
NCN Fans' Choice Entertainer Of The Year (1996)
Top Selling Album, "The Woman In Me" (1997)
Special Achievement Award, "The Woman In Me" (1997)
Fans Choice Award (1998)
Single of the Year, "You're Still The One" (1998)
Album of the Year, "Come On Over" (1998)
Video of the Year, "Don't Be Stupid" (1998)
Top Selling Album, "Come On Over" (1998)
Female Vocalist of the Year (1999)
Vocal Collaboration of the Year, "From This Moment On" with Bryan White (1999)
CMT Maple Leaf Food's Fans Choice Award (1999)
Video of the Year, "That Don't Impress Me Much" (1999)

Country Music Association Awards:
Entertainer of the Year (1999)
International Achievement Award (1999)

Country Music Television:
CMT Europe - Rising Star (1993)
Video, "Any Man of Mine" (1996)
Female Artist (1996)
Female Video Artist (1998)
CMT Latin and Pacific - Female Video Artist (1999)
CMT Latin - Video of the Year, "You're Still The One" (1999)

Grammy (US):
Best Country Album, "The Woman In Me" (1996)
Best Country Song, "You're Still The One" (1999)
Best Female Country Vocal Performance "You're Still the One" (1999)
Best Female Country Vocal Performance "Man! I Feel like a woman" (2000)
Best Country Song "Come on Over" (2000)

Great British Country Music Awards:
International Rising Star (1996)

Jukebox Awards:
Country Single of the Year, "Any Man Of Mine" (1996)
Songwriter of the Year (1996)

Juno (Canada):
Country Female Vocalist (1996/97/98/99)
Entertainer of the Year (1996)
Juno International Achievement Award (1997)
Female Country Artist of the Year (1998)

Modern Screen Magazine:
Favourite Female Vocalist (1999)

Much More Music Awards:
Artist of the Year (1999)

Nashville Songwriters Association:
Songwriter/Artist of the Year (1999)

National Association of Record Merchandisers:
Best Selling Country Record of the Year (1999)

RIAA Diamond Awards (10m+ Sales):
The Woman In Me (1999)
Come On Over (1999)

RPM's Big Country Awards:
Outstanding New Artist (1995)

SOCAN Songwriter Awards:
You're Still The One (1999)
From This Moment On (1999)
Don't Be Stupid (1999)

VH1 Viewers Awards:
Sexiest Video - You're Still The One (1998)

Warner Brothers Radio Music Awards
Artist of the Year: Country/Young Country (1999)

World Music Awards:
Worlds Best Selling Female Country Artist

Yahoo Internet Life Online Music Awards:
Favourite Country Artist (1999)




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