It’s been a huge year for Shania Twain. When Queen of Me was released back in February, the singer scored her third UK number one, showing that this country’s love-in with the Queen of Country Pop remains as strong as ever.
“UK crowds are quite similar to Canada in the sense they’re not afraid to be loud, let their hair down and, you know, just have the best night out,” she says.
There’s the small matter of a Las Vegas residency in 2024 too, which will provide a chance for the singer to reflect on the success of her 1997 record Come On Over, which remains the biggest-selling studio album of all time by a solo female artist.
“I never popped the champagne at the time and now I’m gonna celebrate when I get back to Vegas,” she says. “This is the time to celebrate this amazing album in my life and in my career.”
You can read our whole wide-ranging Q&A with Shania Twain below.
Hi Shania! You’re gearing up for the next leg of the Queen of Me tour…
Yes, I’m building the next thirty looks for the next 30 shows and it’s just so fun. It’s a very tactile experience for me, it’s fun and I’m obsessed with bringing my looks to life.
Those dates include a run of UK shows. What’s the difference between UK crowds and international ones? What are your lasting experiences of performing here?
Well I’ve always found the UK to be definitely more on the rowdy side, you know, more on the fun, party-starting side and I’d compare it a little more to Canada. Our national sport is hockey and it can get rowdy. The UK is quite similar in the sense they’re not afraid to be loud, let their hair down and, you know, just have the best night out.
Your latest album, Queen of Me, went in at number one on the UK album charts too.
Yes! And I’m going to be doing the fan favourites from that album while mixing them with classics. I’ve gotten a great idea of how it all flows together beautifully and it’s very seamless even though those songs are years apart.
You’re also heading back to Las Vegas too. How excited are you for that residency?
Yeah and that’s a special thing. It’s a real privilege to be invited to Vegas and headlining there because it’s the Mecca of top talent and top productions in the world. First of all, you have to deliver and then if you’re invited back it just feels so good. It’s rewarding to know I’m welcome there and I just love the city. I like that there’s different types of entertainment all around you too. You might have a headliner coming through on tour or there might be a residency with a theatrical production. I always feel inspired when I’m there, it’s a crazy city with the best productions you could find.
Was a Vegas residency ever on your list to things to achieve as an artist?
Well, when I was a kid I was of course planning on making my living with music, but I definitely didn’t think of Vegas and I never thought it was a job I’d be able to do. My perception at the time was that it was inappropriate for kids, you know, it was a whole different job.
But I have to say that when Celine Dion, my fellow Canadian, went to Vegas, it allowed me to wonder if it was a place where I could be. I still wasn’t planning on it, because I was just getting started with my own touring for [seminal album] ‘Come On Over’ at the time. But it’s been an evolution for me. Now I feel like it’s my live performance home.
I wanted to ask about Celine actually. We’ve recently seen her struggles with Stiff-Person Syndrome and I wondered if you’ve been able to reach out and support her.
I just feel for her, so so much. I can’t imagine what she’s going through. I don’t have direct contact with Celine, but if I did I would definitely give her a big hug and try to somehow make her feel better. She has a big family so I imagine she’s got a lot of support, or I’d hope that she does. But how difficult must it be? There’s no way to imagine what she’s experiencing and I know, just from talking to her in the past and talking to her several times, that her joy of being onstage and singing is enormous and that would be something that she would long for, I would imagine. I just hope she gets it and that is her healing somehow.
Next up is the 25th anniversary re-issue of Come On Over, which remains the biggest-selling studio album of all time by a solo female artist and launched your career into the stratosphere. How do you look back at that time?
Well, I was busy, busy, busy in every direction you can imagine. Twelve singles, all the videos and all the emotion that went around it. Then I was touring for the first time with my own hits and it was pretty overwhelming. I’m a very energetic person but I didn’t have a moment to sit and celebrate while all these great things happened. I never popped the champagne at the time and now I’m gonna celebrate when I get back to Vegas. It’s the perfect time and that’s why it’s called the Come On Over residency. This is the time to celebrate this amazing album in my life and in my career. It’s a time to celebrate.
I wanted to ask you about the debate that’s arisen in country music recently around Jason Aldean and his song ‘Try That In A Small Town’. It’s been accused of stoking racial and social division and Sheryl Crow even accused it of “promoting violence”. What’s your take on this?
I don’t know Jason personally and I can’t even imagine commenting on what his intentions were there. It wouldn’t make any sense for me to do that.
Going back to music, is there any new stars that are inspiring you at the moment?
I really love a singer called Breland. He’s country, but he brings a really soulful edge to that genre. He’s awesome and he’s a really lovely person and he’s a good songwriter. I know I’m gonna be following his career.
And then I love listening to, I always love listening to classics as well. I love listening to Abba just as much as I love listening to Glenn Campbell.I love Harry Styles too, as a person, and his music just makes me feel light and good.
There’s Coldplay too. They’ve always been one of my favourites and a group that has had all this longevity. I’ve been a fan since the beginning and, and they’re still putting out hit songs.
It’s interesting you mentioned ABBA. Have you had a chance to see Voyage, their show in London?
Yes, it is amazing. I’m such a fan. It’s my go to if I just wanna dance and it’s the music that I know every word to. Every note, every word, every chord change. So being able to see that was extraordinary, especially for them to have put it together.
Would you consider doing something like that in the future?
Oh, I don’t know if I would do that exact, that exact thing, but maybe similar. I definitely love the idea of my music going into other realms of performance that I would love to do. I’m actually in contact with Bjorn about his experience and yeah, so I’m looking really forward to being able to talk to him more about all of that.
He’s so brilliant.I think I’ll learn a lot from him and he’ll be an incredible mentor.
No doubt. Thank you, Shania.