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Interview:
Shania Twain's on final tour. No, really...
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

Shania Twain is saying goodbye to the road.

And she swears she's not kidding.

The country and pop hitmaker -- who's sold more than 85 million records, scored 16 Top 10 country singles and won five Grammy Awards -- says her current Rock This Country Tour, which kicked off June 5 in Seattle, will be her last major road trip. But she's quick to explain it has nothing to do with age, infirmity or fatigue.

It's actually because Twain wants to make more music.

"This is certainly not my retirement from music," Twain, 49 -- born Eilleen Regina Edwards in Windsor, Ont. -- says by phone while vacationing in the Bahamas. "I will be doing music for sure until the day I die. But I've done a lot more live performing than I have recording, so I want to do a lot more (recording)." Twain has, in fact, released just four albums during her 22-year career, though they made her the first female artist in history to release three consecutive Diamond-certified albums for sales of more than 10 million copies each.

"As much as I'm overdue for the touring, I'm overdue for new music," continues Twain, whose last album, "Up!," came out in 2002. "I want to write more. I want to make lots more records. I miss making records, and I haven't made enough records in my life or my career.

"I've got a bunch of albums I want to make that have been backed up in my own mind. I've got to get them out of my system and that could take awhile. I'm 50 this year (on Aug. 28). I've been on stage since i was eight years old, and I've really put in my fair share of performance. So I see this as an evolution in my career really."

Twain's resolve is also part of a comeback that began in 2012, when she opened a Las Vegas show called Still The One at Caesar's Palace, ending a "short sabbatical" to raise her now 12-year-old son, Eja, that turned into an eight-year hiatus. It was a dramatic period for Twain, too. She divorced from husband Robert "Mutt" Lange -- who also produced her albums and co-wrote her songs -- in 2010 after a reported affair with the singer's best friend.

Twain also battled vocal issues that surfaced during that time which she says genuinely threatened her potential for making music.

"It was very, very scary. I wasn't sure I was ever going to sing again," recalls Twain, who remarried, to Nestle executive Frederic Thiebaud -- ironically the ex-husband of that former best friend -- in 2011. "It went way beyond not being able to perform or concerns for my career. It was part of me that I was losing, like losing a hand or something. I was going through a grieving process and was having a terrible time coming to terms with it. It was incredibly depressing."

Through "a lot of work" she describes as "boring, tiring and painful"-- including voice therapy, physiotherapy and exercise -- Twain regained her pipes. "It's very similar to what an athlete would go through if they had an injury," Twain explains. "You start from scratch and build back to where it could be, the best it could be to do its job.

"For me there was the process of learning to live with a voice that was slightly different, 'cause you never the same again. So I had to go through that very long process. A lot of therapies. And warming up for the show now takes an hour and a half of vocal warm-up and physical warm-up."

The return in Vegas was triumphant, and Twain wants the Rock This Country Tour to take one last swing through the provinces. "It's jsut a celebration tour," says Twain, who will be on the road until early October and may take a sing through Europe. "I'm reuniting with the fans out there in their home towns, which I have not done in a decade.

"I'm in a good spirit for it. For the last two years in Las Vegas the fans have been coming to me, so I jsut feel real pumped to get out there and go to their towns and bring them this whole new show and I guess, this big sign-off, this big farewell."

She hopes those fans won't have to wait long for new music, however. Twain is at work on her fifth album, which she initially hoped to have out before the tour -- and, with "a very little portable set-up" for recording on the road with her, she's not ruling out a new song or two before she's finished.

"The biggest difference is going to be stylistically," Twain says of the album. "I think my voice will be very recognizable; I'm assuming that, anyway. But I'm leaning toward wanting the music to sound more organic than my previous stuff, less slick, maybe. I just want to direct it that way, that it's all my favorite instruments in there and a really live feel to things and with a contemporary edge to everything. It will just sound different."

Lyrically, Twain adds, "I'm still doing the self-reflection and writing in that vein. I'm just different now and I've lived a lot of different things since ('Up!'), so the stories and the themes will be obviously different and will reflect how I've evolved."

And that evolution may even lead Twain away from her own career, she says.

"I want to write songs for other artists that are coming up," Twain notes. "I want to sit back and enjoy them having their moment on the stage and being proud that I'm part of their success and watching my music as the observer from the audience. I could be the creator of things and other people could be the performers of my creations and I would be fulfilled. I don't need to be the one performing what i create.

"So that's a whole other exciting phase for me that I look forward to."

Shania Twain and Gavin DeGraw

7:30 pm. Saturday, July 25.

The Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills.

Tickets are $46-$136.

Call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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