Eilleen Regina Edwards was born on this day in Windsor, Ontario, Canada in 1965. She is 47 years old.
She is the eldest of five siblings and grew up about 500 miles north of Toronto with her mother Sharon and her adoptive father Jerry Twain.
According to the biography on her official web site she …
“grew up listening to Waylon, Willie, Dolly, Tammy, all of them…But we also listened to the Mamas and the Papas, The Carpenters, The Supremes and Stevie Wonder. The many different styles of music I was exposed to as a child not only influenced my vocal style, but even more so, my writing style.” [ShaniaTwain.com]
Impressed by the girl’s singing, guitar playing and song writing skills, her mother became her defacto agent and began to book the 8-year-old Twain at local venues and radio and TV spots. Twain says she would be awaken after midnight and taken to local clubs to sing with house bands — bar stopped selling alcohol at midnight.
The “b” side of Twain’s rural Canadian upbringing was summers spent on reforestation crews with her stepfather where she “learned to wield” a different kind of axe (and “handle a chain saw as well as any man.”)
An automobile accident took the lives of both Sharon and Jerry Twain, and 21-year-old Eilleen took over raising her little brothers. She got a job at the Deerhurst Resort in Ontario which not only allowed her to pay the bills but also introduced her to musical theatre.
At 24 Twain recorded a demo of original music and changed her first name to Shania (Ojibway Indian for “I’m on my way” in honor of Jerry Twain’s Ojibway’s ancestry.) She signed on with Mercury Records and put out Shania Twain in 1993. The CD included the hits “Dance With The One That Brought You” and “What Made You Say That.”
She joined forces with rock producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange (both professionally and personally — the two married in 1993.) Her single “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under“ came out in 1995 and went to #11 on the country charts. Woman In Me, her second album made “Twain the best-selling country female artist of all time. “ “Any Man of Mine,” “(If You’re Not In It for Love) I’m Outta Here!” “You Win My Love“ and “No One Needs to Know” all went to number 1, and the project won Country Album of the Year at the Grammies.
She released Come On Over in 1997 and listeners from pop and rock stations took her invitation seriously. She became a crossover artist with “You’re Still the One” (which was #1 in Country and #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 pop chart) and “Man! I Feel Like A Woman.” The album sold over 11 million copies.
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In 2002 she continued in a more pop vain with the release of UP. In the music video for the single “I’m Gonna Getcha Good“ she leaves behind her trademark bare midriff and jeans and opts for a futuristic Tron style leather get up as she takes a motorcycle ride through a dystopian landscape.
In 2011 she did a six part documentary on the OWN network and released her memoirs. To date she has sold over 75 million cds and has earned the moniker “The Queen of Country Pop.”