Shania Twain’s life could make for one hell of a country song.
In fact, there’s so much material it could make for several great country music songs. She survived a difficult childhood, lost her parents in a car accident and, at the peak of her career, was diagnosed with Lyme disease – an illness that temporarily caused her to lose her voice. And then, in the middle of her recovery, her husband left her for another woman.
But Twain says those hardships got her to where she is today.
“Every time something gets me down or tries to get me down, it fuels more resolve. I feel stronger than ever now in my life. And, and it feels good,” Twain told CNN’s Chris Wallace in a conversation for his new show, “Who Talks to Chris Wallace?”
The program premieres Friday on HBOMax and also airs Sunday night on CNN.
Twain is currently working on his sixth full-length solo project, his first solo album since 2017. His lead single from the album, “Waking Up Dreaming,” also debuts Friday.
She calls her new music “just the start” of a “new chapter.”
“It’s far from country,” she admitted of the song. “It’s high-energy poppy boppy. In the video, I play the superstar a lot, I dress up. And have lots of fun with fashion and look like never before. It’s forgiving for me.
It’s far from the first time the Grammy-winning artist has taken risks with his songs and music videos.
The music video for “Any Man of Man” from his second album in which Twain wears his belly garnered a lot of attention from fans and critics alike. Although the album was the best-selling country album that year and won a Grammy, purists said his music wasn’t country enough.
“[They said] I’m a lap dancer. No, you can’t show your belly. You’re going to offend everyone, you’re going to offend women because you’re going to put them off and men because you have this attitude towards men,” she recalled. “But I just had to ignore that and follow my own vision. Have faith in that.
Her belief in her own vision earned her 18 Grammy nominations and earned her the title of one of the best-selling artists of all time.
“I had a really giant dream. Of a very small child. I don’t know if I would have ever been satisfied that I didn’t have that dream,” she told Wallace.
Twain’s ‘giant’ dream was nearly dashed in 2004 when she was diagnosed with Lyme disease, in which she developed dysphonia, a vocal cord disorder that makes speaking, let alone singing, difficult. .
“It was an unreasonable amount of work and pressure to endure any longer as a recording artist. So I could do a few things, but with so much work behind it, I thought, no, I couldn’t. never again be a real recording artist. And go out and sing it live,” she said.
Twain eventually underwent surgery. While the operation was a risk, the singer said it was something she had to try.
“I should have quit my singing career, so I’m like, ‘Oh sure, I’ll try that.’ And boy, can I scream now,” she said.
Amid her vocal issues, Twain discovered that her then-husband had been having an affair with her best friend.
“[There were] definitely times when I wanted to pick up and dive somewhere on another planet,” she told Wallace. “Music has always been my great escape, but since I couldn’t sing at that time, I had no escape.”
In a twist, she ended up marrying Frédéric Thiébaud, the ex-husband of the woman with whom her first husband had had an affair. Twain credits Thiébaud with the importance of his recovery.
“I get to the bottom of how to find my voice and I feel empowered. I am remarried. My husband is an amazing support,” Twain said. “I have an amazing son, so I’m starting to feel like my life is falling back into place in a very bright and sunny way.”
Will Rabbe contributed to this story.