Twain had humble beginnings in Timmins, Ontario, singing at bars at an early age and later appearing on local TV and radio shows. After losing both of her parents in a car accident, she began performing at a resort, eventually getting discovered by a representative of Mercury Records. Signed in 1993, she did not garner much attention for her self-titled debut album, which produced only a pair of singles that both peaked at #55.
Her fortunes would change when she married Lange, who steered her towards a production and songwriting style indebted to 1980s rock and pop, much like Lange had previously produced himself. The change in sound proved wildly successful, with eight big singles all being launched from her breakthrough album The Woman in Me. Driven both by the big singles and hit videos, The Woman in Me stayed at the top of the albums charts for a very long time and went on to sell over 12 million copies stateside. All but two of the singles also made at least a dent in the Hot 100 charts, and "God Bless the Child" topped the Canadian singles charts.
In 1997, she released Come On Over. It, too, was a blockbuster success, with more than 10 million albums sold and a whopping eleven singles released to country radio (plus a twelfth, "When," sent to pop only in Canada and the UK). Lead-off single "Love Gets Me Every Time" set a new record for the highest debut ever made on the country music charts by a female artist, and went on to become her longest lasting #1 at five weeks. Also like the last album, almost all of the singles crossed over to pop and AC in both countries. After this album, Twain and Lange went on sabbatical to raise their son, Eja.
It was not until 2002 that Twain returned to the music, releasing Up! late in the year. This album was not quite as successful, although it sent five singles up the country charts and three more ("Ka-Ching!", "Thank You Baby! (For Makin' Someday Come So Soon)" and "When You Kiss Me") to international formats. None of the singles went to #1 on country, but "Forever and For Always" was a major AC hit. Also in an unusual move, Up! was issued as a double disc, with a different mix on the second disc depending on the market. Promptly afterward, she released a Greatest Hits Album which included three new songs: "Party for Two," "Don't!" and "I Ain't No Quitter." None of these singles saw much success. Her last chart entry for many years was "Shoes" from the multi-artist Music from and Inspired by Desperate Housewives. She has remained in the business and long promised a fifth studio album. In 2008, she discovered that Mutt was cheating on her with her best friend, and both couples promptly divorced. In 2011, Twain married Frédéric Thiébaud, the ex-husband of her now-ex-best friend.
Twain re-entered the spotlight in 2011 with a reality show on Oprah Winfrey's OWN network. Also that year, she threw radio a bone with "Today Is Your Day", a teaser single produced by Nathan Chapman (Taylor Swift's producer). She also covered "Endless Love" on Lionel Richie's duets album Tuskeegee a year later. She finally released her fifth studio album, Now, in late 2017.
- Shania Twain (1993)
- The Woman in Me (1995)
- Come On Over (1997)
- Up! (2002)
- Greatest Hits (2004)
- Now (2017)
Shania Twain is the Trope Namer for:
- All Women Love Shoes: Invoked in "Shoes", which has the line "Men are like shoes."
- Auto-Tune: Very present on "Life's About to Get Good".
- Bare Your Midriff: One of her trademarks, especially during her initial rise to fame during the Woman in Me period.
- Call-and-Response Song: "Party for Two", a duet with Billy Currington, features a back-and-forth dialogue between the two.
- Darker and Edgier: Many of the songs off Now were influenced by both the martial and vocal issues Twain dealt with during her hiatus (especially "Poor Me").
- Distinct Double Album: As mentioned above, Up! was released with different mixes on its second disc. The first (red) disc was the same worldwide (pop mixes). The second disc was green (country mixes) in the USA and Canada, or blue (Indian mixes) elsewhere. For obvious reasons, the Indian one is very different to the other two.
- Dream Team: Got into singing again with "White Christmas" with Michael Bublé on his Christmas album.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Before her debut album, she sang backing vocals for then-labelmates: Jeff Chance's 1992 album Walk Softly on the Bridges and Sammy Kershaw's 1993 album Haunted Heart.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Her self-titled first album for Mercury is fairly standard early-90s mainstream country without much distinction, far removed from her signature sound. Since almost none of these songs fit her musical image, and none were significant hits, they have long since been ignored.
- Everything Is an Instrument: Session drummer Paul Leim was credited for "playing" the slamming door at the end of "(If You're Not in It for Love) I'm Outta Here!"
- Excited Show Title!: Several of her song titles have exclamation marks: "(If You're Not in It for Love) I'm Outta Here!", "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!", "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!", "Up!", "Ka-Ching!" (those latter three were released consecutively), "Thank You Baby! (For Makin' Someday Come So Soon)" and "Whatever You Do! Don't!"
- Fading into the Next Song: "Whatever You Do! Don't!" -> "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" on the international version of Come On Over.
- The songs going from "(Wanna Get to Know You) That Good!" to "Ka-Ching!" on Up! do this as well.
- Fanservice: Shania was one of the first country singers to really exploit her sex appeal, and she was fairly controversial within the country fandom because of this.
- But note that she also quoted as having said that she explicitly does not like stripping off, insisting that audiences focus "on the music" and not on anything else.
- Female Empowerment Song: "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!", natch.
- "She's Not Just a Pretty Face" combines this with List Song saying that a woman could aspire to be anything from a mother to a romance novelist to a geologist to a politician.
- Long Runner: Come On Over had possibly the longest period of success of any album. No less than 12 singles released from it (not counting reissues), from three different mixes of the album, over the course of three years. In an unusual case, it became most popular 2 years after it had been released in the US and Canada.
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" and "No One Needs to Know"
- Lyrics/Video Mismatch: "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!"
- Lyric Swap: The chorus for "Poor Me" ends with the line "Pour Me Another" due to the homophonic similarities.
- Meaningful Name: Shania is Ojibway for "I'm on my way." Twain caught some flak for this when she first broke through and people discovered her birth name, with some claiming that she was a Caucasian falsely insinuating Native American heritage (she claims partial Cree ancestry through her biological father, but his family denies this). Her stepfather Jerry was Ojibway, and when he adopted Eileen and her sisters Jill and Carrie, their last names legally became Twain.
- Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: The vast majority of her pre-Now work are in the 1 to 3 range, dealing mainly with love and successful relationships. Exceptions include "Ka-Ching" (5 due to its anti-commerical message), "It Only Hurts When Im Breathing" (6 due to a relationship breakup) and "Black Eyes, Blue Tears" (pushes 7-8, the protagonist in the song is explicitly escaping an abusive relationship). Her post-divorce album Now is also much gloomier averaging around 3-5.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Spans 1 ("You've Got a Way", "When You Kiss Me") to 4 ("Black Eyes, Blue Tears", "In My Car (I'll Be the Driver)"), her work with Lange (who produced for AC/DC and Def Leppard) allowed for harder rock influences in her work compared to other popular female artists at the time.
- One-Woman Song: "Juanita"
- Proscenium Reveal: The ending to the video for "You've Got a Way"
- Parody Assistance:
- After Cledus T. Judd parodied "Any Man of Mine" as "If Shania Was Mine", Twain appeared in a couple of his videos.
- In 1995, a Twin Cities (Minnesota) DJ named Gino Ruberto recorded a different parody of "Any Man of Mine" titled "Any Gal of Mine", which got some airplay on After Midnite with Blair Garner and actually made the country charts (credited to "Gino the New Guy") without the support of a label. The song opened with Twain herself giving a spoken-word warning to Gino.
- Rearrange the Song: Both the albums Come On Over and Up! were remixed for international markets, where country music was not as popular as the US. Many of the songs are similar but missing fiddles or country elements. However, in the case of "If You Wanna Touch Her, Ask!" they completely changed the mood of the song, from a guitar driven country rock song to an sparse electro ballad (with occasional guitar).
- Also, the "UK Dance Mix" of "That Don't Impress Me Much" has a different, more rhythmic guitar riff in it than the original does. This version became the hit version in the UK and elsewhere, and many fans had no idea it was a remix. The radio occasionally played the original by mistake, though the YouTube music video uses the original.
- The pop mix of "From This Moment On" was changed from a duet with Bryan White to a solo song, due to White not being as well-known outside the country music community. Similarly, Billy Currington was replaced with Mark McGrath for the pop mix of "Party for Two".
- Refrain from Assuming: "Love Gets Me Every Time" was originally titled "Gol Darn Gone and Done It," but changed because Twain thought that the original title would be too difficult for disc jockeys to say. The latter phrase is more prominent in the chorus, furthering the confusion.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In-universe example with "(If You're Not in It for Love) I'm Outta Here!", which ends with her sighing, stomping away, and slamming the door.
- Self-Backing Vocalist: She and Mutt were the only two backing vocalists on all of the albums. The only exception is on the 'international' mix of "From This Moment On", where though Shania now sings all the verses, Bryan White's backing vocals in the chorus were kept from the duet.
- Shout-Out: Her music video for "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" is practically a gender inverted version of Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" (while playing Male Band, Female Singer straight).
- Studio Chatter: At the end of "No One Needs to Know", one voice says "There's your record, hoss!" and another adds, "Yep, there you go, dude."
- Tempting Fate: The video for "(If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here!" has Twain going to sit down after singing "Mind if I sit down" only to have the chair pulled out from under her.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: "Come On Over" goes up a half-step for each verse (E to F to F-sharp).
- "It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing" does a full-step for its verses (D-flat to E-flat to F).
- "Rock This Country!" shifts from G to A-flat after the bridge.
- Uncommon Time: A downplayed example with "Thank You Baby! (For Makin' Someday Come So Soon)" set to 12/8.
- Vocal Evolution: She sounds noticeably strained on the new songs off her Greatest Hits Album. According to various sources, this was due to a combination of Lyme disease and personal stress which eventually led to dysphonia, a vocal cord disorder. She had to undergo therapy to relearn how to sing, and returned with a significantly deeper delivery on "Today Is Your Day" and later Now.
- Your Cheating Heart: "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" is pretty self explanatory.