Shania Twain and Harry Styles perform on stage at Coachella 2022.  (Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for ABA)

‘I was always fighting my feminine curves in order to be taken seriously’

“I’ve heard a lot of things, you know, like I said ‘Wasted Country’ or ‘The country will never be the same after Shania,'” recalls Shania Twain, when she was working on her new career-spanning documentary with Yahoo Entertainment. talks about, Shania Twain: not just a girl, It’s almost impossible to believe that the artist responsible for the greatest country album of all time—1997 come on overwhich sold 40 million copies worldwide – would ever be accused of ruin Anything, But in the ’90s, Twain was seen as a “disrupter” in Nashville, thanks to his unexpectedly flashy image and pop-crossover appeal.

“I wasn’t intentionally disruptive. … I wasn’t trying to bring everyone along, or change [country] style, or anything like that. I was just me,” the singer-songwriter says with a shrug. “The documentary sets some of the records straight like, ‘Oh yeah, you guys remember how sexist the industry was at the time I got into country music?’ it was less [sexist] In pop, in fact – that confused me a lot. I’m like, ‘Well, why is there such a difference here? Why is there such a hindrance?’ It probably made me a little more determined in moments. ,

Twain’s documentary, out this week on Netflix, dives deep into the “blood, sweat and tears” of her three-decade career, and she notes, “It was some courage to revisit myself. The day doesn’t sit around thinking about the past, otherwise I might get a little depressed! I’m someone who likes to look to the future. I like to move forward. I like to look up, not down, and back No. So, there were some emotional moments looking back at that stuff.” The film covers her personal struggles — the death of her parents in a car accident, a battle with Lyme disease that made her sing. Made incapacitated, her divorce from producer Robert John “Mutt” Lang – but through it all, makes a strong case for her artistry, which was once too often overlooked.

In fact, the Doctor’s glimpse into Twain’s pre-fame days, when she aspired to be a Pat Benatar-esque rock diva, reflects not only her cross-genre appeal (“The Way I Think There’s a lot of country biologically, but the punch and dynamics and limitless expressions, it’s all rock ‘n’ roll,” she tells Yahoo), but it also shows why she clicked artistically with Mat Lang. Lange was known for working with AC/DC and Def Leppard, before he worked with Twain’s . had built Me. woman in, come on overAnd UP! album, and many skeptics assumed she was Twain’s swagger—but that was far from the case.

“It was very natural,” Twain says of their professional partnership. “The documentary has been very important to me in that sense, being able to explain how most people think, ‘This is really like the mismatch of the century!’ But really, we were very, very lined up, and the documentary explains, I think, very well – how musically attached we were. It was a no-brainer for us. It just doesn’t seem like it to everyone. was. “

When the media was not paying attention to Lang’s contribution to Twain’s success, much of the press focused heavily on his (admittedly surprising) appearance. a particularly resonant segment of not just a girl There’s a montage of journalists in the late ’90s who balked at Twain’s beauty—while failing to fully discuss her music. It bothered Twain at the time, but those interviews were among several incidents when she felt she needed to “bite her lips” and just play nice.

“As a young child, I took myself very seriously as a songwriter, as a thinker, as someone who enjoyed a play on words, on chord progressions. At 8 years old, I wasn’t thinking about how beautiful I could be – I was thinking music, ” Twain insists. “So, when I look at those interviews … I see my facial language or expressions and my eyes, and I know what I was thinking in that moment. It takes me back immediately. I felt like my eyes rolled in the moment. Even at the moment I’m thinking, ‘Things’ passed To change. Is this really What am I doing here, and what do I have to deal with?’ But this was the reality of that time.

“For me, it’s always been about the visual arts as well,” Twain continues, citing such iconic music videos as Taste of the Leopard “That Don’t Impress Me Much” or “Addicted to Love”-inverting “Man! Me Woman”. Feels like it!” She explains: “It was a very complete picture from start to finish. I was always imagining how the songs would look. From the beginning of making songs, writing songs, I was already projecting myself and envisioning it. So, for the second part of the art to be closed or not taken seriously, yes, it was kind of weird and sad for me. … I mean, they eventually got it, but it’s all about having tough skin and letting things roll and just moving on, proving yourself. ,

Twain recalls with an incredulous laugh, a shocking instance when her record label really He didn’t “get” his intentions behind a scene. “In the video for ‘Any Man of Mine,’ I’m in the bathtub with bubbles, and a horse is peeking through the window and he hands me a towel. And I’m just thinking, ‘This is the best thing ever I love horses. It’s unique. Nobody else has it in their videos. I want unique. I want originals.’ I’m also cruel to a lot of that video. You know, just things like that, which I thought was just to be very independent and enjoy myself. So, I go back to the video department with the label, And they say, ‘I think people will think about animalism after watching this video.’ I’m like, ‘Are you’ Joke, Where is this thinking coming from? I mean, it’s a pet, It’s like saying, ‘Okay, when you shower, make sure your dog isn’t in the room.’ Come Feather Now he!

“So, I was disappointed in those moments,” Twain continues. “I was like, ‘If I have to do this much of everything, I’m never going to be creative. I’m going to be too suppressed.’ And those were the things that kept coming up over and over in those formative years. I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to go braless as long as I can, because I know someday I’ll be on my knees’ And I just want to enjoy this natural boom. It’s just me enjoying being a woman.’ You are either burdened with your breasts or you feel good about your breasts, so which one do you want to be? I don’t want to be a burden to my breasts! I want to enjoy them and wear such things who make me feel like I’m happy, I have this, instead of, ‘Oh, shit, I got this.’ There were moments where I refused to express my displeasure at just being a woman.”

The word “feminism” comes up a lot not just a girl, with a variety of famous fans, from queer country trailblazer Orville Peck to modern-day pop/country star and logical Twain heiress Kelsey Ballerini, heralds Twain as a feminist role model. Twain, who spent years fighting a misogynistic industry and made many hurtful assumptions about her image and talent, has her own views on the matter.

“I think it’s all in the assumption that whoever is drawing conclusions about me,” Twain said. “I don’t sound like a self-proclaimed feminist. I’m just myself. I’m just me. I’m making my own rules as I go. I myself feel like I have a lot to come out of my teens.” The big shell was there. I was stomping my breasts just to play football with the boys, because they were focusing on the wrong bounce! … I was always fighting my feminine curves to be taken seriously. And when I started getting creative freedom and these creative platforms as a recording artist, I was like, ‘Wow, I’m going to play with this now. It’s my playground. I’m breaking free of this crap’ That I am not a girl, that I am not a woman, or that I am trying to hide behind something that is being taken seriously.’ So, it’s probably feminism, in its own way. It’s a very personal rejection to me of these stigmas that we so often brand with women.”

Shania Twain and Harry Styles perform on stage at Coachella 2022.  (Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for ABA)

Shania Twain and Harry Styles perform on stage at Coachella 2022. (Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for ABA)

While Twain insisted that he did not Shania Twain: not just a girl To settle any scores or correct any perceived wrongs, she admits that her current renaissance is “too celebratory”. Looks like everyone finally “gets it” now. In recent years, at the age of 56, Twain has recorded a duet with Orville Peck, made a surprise appearance with Harry Styles at Coachella, and closed the American Music Awards while playing Post Malone. garnered fanboys in the audience and belted out with every word. “I am delighted by all these young artists wanting to hang out with me and make music with me,” she laughs. She’s particularly excited to release new music (her sixth studio album will be out next year), and she raves about the newly recorded title track of her documentary, which reflects her self-proclaimed “rebel” mentality. Tells 30 years in a unique career.

“‘Not Just a Girl,’ that song says it all… That’s why I chose that song for the documentary,” declares Twain. “Where am I and where am I going, and where I hope everyone is going. Not just a girl – it’s not just a four-letter word.”

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– Video Produced by Jen Cusack, Edited by Jason Fitzpatrick

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