Friday, July 10, 2009

Shania Twain

Shania Twain OC (pronounced /ʃəˈnaɪə ˈtweɪn/; born Eilleen Regina Edwards, August 28, 1965) is a Canadian country pop artist. Her third album Come on Over is the best-selling album of all time by a female musician and the best-selling album in the history of country music.She is the only female musician to have three albums certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America and is also the second best-selling artist in Canada, behind fellow Canadian Céline Dion, with three of her studio albums being certified double diamond by the Canadian Recording Industry Association. Twain has achieved both critical and financial success, having received five Grammy awards, 27 BMI Songwriter awards, and she has sold over 65 million albums worldwide to date including 48 million in the USA alone. She is ranked as the 10th best-selling artist of the Nielsen Soundscan era, with approximately 33,591,000 sales through April 5 2008, based on relatively few releasesTwain was born in Windsor, Ontario, daughter of Clarence Edwards and his wife Sharon (née Morrison). Her parents divorced when she was two, and her mother then moved with Eileen and her sister Jill to Timmins, Ontario, where she married Jerry Twain, an Ojibwa. He adopted the girls, legally changing their last name to Twain. Because of her connection to her stepfather, in the past, people had presumed Twain's ancestry was Ojibwa, but she stated in an interview that her biological father was part Cree.
One of five children, Eileen Twain had a hard childhood in Timmins. Her parents earned little, and there was often a shortage of food in the household. At one point, while Jerry was at work, her mother drove the rest of the family 425 miles (684 km) to a
Toronto homeless shelter for assistance. She did not confide her situation to school authorities, fearing they might break up the family. In the remote, rugged community, she learned to hunt and to chop wood. Aside from working at an Ontario McDonald's restaurant,Twain began to earn money by singing in local clubs and bars from a very young age to support her family. She was singing in bars at the age of just eight to try to make ends meet, often earning twenty dollars between midnight and one in the morning performing for remaining customers after the bar had finished serving. Although she has expressed a dislike for singing in such a smoky atmosphere at such a young age, Shania believes that this was her performing arts school on the road to becoming a successful singer.Shania has said of the ordeal, "My deepest passion was music and it helped. There were moments when I thought 'I hate this'. I hated going into bars and being with drunks. But I loved the music and so I survived".
Twain wrote her first songs at the age of ten, Is Love a Rose and Just Like the Storybooks which were fairy tales in rhyme. As a child, Twain has been described by a close childhood friend Kenny Derasp as "a very serious kid who spent a lot of time in her room. The art of creating, of actually writing songs, was very different from performing them and became progressively important".
In the early 1980s Shania spent some time working on her father's
reforestation business in northern Ontario, a business that the family were heavily involved in and employed some 75 Objibwe and Cree workers. Although the work was very demanding and the pay very low, Twain has spoken of her experience, "I loved the feeling of being stranded. I'm not afraid of being in my own environment, being physical, working hard. I was very strong, I walked miles and miles every day and carried heavy loads of trees. You can't shampoo, use soap or deodrant, or makeup, nothing with any scent; you have to bathe and rinse your clothes in the lake. It was a very rugged existence, but I was very creative and I would sit alone in the forest with my dog and a guitar and just write songsAt 13, Eilleen Twain, the future "Shania" Twain, was invited to perform on CBC television's Tommy Hunter Show. While attending Timmins High and Vocational School in Timmins, Ontario, she was the singer for a local band called "Longshot" which covered Top 40 music.[citation needed]
After graduating from Timmins High in July 1983, Twain was eager to expand her musical horizons. After the demise of her band Longshot, Twain was approached by a covers band led by Diane Chase called "Flirt" and toured all over Ontario. She began taking singing lessons from Toronto based coach Ian Garrett and often in not having the money to pay for her lessons would clean his house in payment. In the autumn of 1984 Twain's talents were noticed by a Toronto DJ Stan Campbell who wrote about her in a Country Music News article, "Eileen possesses a powerful voice with an impressive range. She has the necessary drive, ambition and positive attitude to achieve her goals". Campbell happened to be making an album by Canadian musician (and present-day
CKTB radio personality) Tim Denis at the time and Twain featured on the backing vocals on the song Heavy on the Sunshine. Campbell later took Twain to Nashville to record some demos, which Twain found particularly difficult to finance. Around this time Twain became acquainted with a regional country singer Mary Bailey who had had some country chart success in 1976. Bailey had seen her perform in Sudbury, Ontario, saying "I saw this little girl up on stage with a guitar and it absolutely blew me away. She performed Willie Nelson's Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain and Hank Williams's I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry. Her voice reminded me of Tanya Tucker, it had strength and character, a lot of feeling. She's a star, she deserves an opportunity". Bailey later said "She sang a few songs that she had written, and I thought to myself, this kid is like nineteen years old, where does she get this? This is from a person who's lived sixty years".
Lake Kenogami where Twain spent much time practicing in 1985.
Mary Bailey bought the contract from Stan Campbell and Twain moved into Bailey's home on
Lake Kenogami where she practiced her music every day for hours. In the fall of 1985, Bailey took Twain down to Nashville to stay with a friend, record producer Tony Migliore, who at the time was producing an album for fellow Canadian singer Kelita Haverland and Twain featured on the backing vocals to the song Too Hot to Handle. She also demoed songs with Cyril Rawson but without success, partly due to Twain's wish to become a rock singer, not a country artist, and after five months she returned to Canada and moved in with Bailey in a flat in downtown Kirkland Lake, Ontario. There she met a rock keyboardist Eric Lambier and drummer Randy, whom Twain was now dating and they formed a new band, moving three months later to Orono, Ontario near Toronto. In late summer 1986 Mary Bailey had arranged Twain to meet John Kim Bell, a half Mohawk, half American conductor who had close contacts with the directors of the Canadian Country Music Association. Bell recognised Twain's ability as well as looks and the two began secretly dating, despite their clash of backgrounds. In the fall of 1986 Twain continued to express her desire to be a pop or rock singer rather than country, which led to her falling out with Mary Bailey for two years and was not met with any success.

The Roy Thomson Hall where Twain performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on February 8, 1987
Her first break came on February 8, 1987 when Bell staged a fundraiser for the
National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation at the Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto where Twain performed with Broadway star Bernadette Peters, jazz guitarist Don Ross and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Her performance received little acclaim but it convinced Bell, who loathed pop music, that Twain should stay well away from it and concentrate on country music.
On 1 November 1987, Twain learned that her mother and adoptive father had died in a car accident. She took care of her family, moving with her half-brothers Mark and Darryl, and sister Carrie Ann to
Huntsville, Ontario, where she supported them by performing at the nearby Deerhurst Resort.

[edit] 1993-1994: Shania Twain
After Twain's siblings moved out on their own, she assembled a demo tape of her songs, and her manager set up a showcase for Twain to present her material to record executives. Twain caught the attention of a few labels, including
Mercury Nashville Records, who signed her within a few months. During this time, she changed her name to Shania [Sha-nye-uh] an Ojibwa word which means "On my way".
self-titled debut album was released in 1993 to the United States and Canada, gaining her audiences outside of her own country. The album only reached #67 on the US Country Albums Chart; however, it gained many positive reviews from critics. The album yielded two minor hit singles in the United States with "What Made You Say That" and "Dance with the One That Brought You". It was more successful in Europe, where Twain won Country Music Television Europe's "Rising Video Star of the Year" award.
The album failed to sell significant copies initially, although Twain's future success generated enough interest for the album to be certified platinum six years later by the RIAA, denoting sales of over a million.
That same year, Twain sang harmony vocals on
Sammy Kershaw's Haunted Heart album

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