Twain often grabbed a guitar and retreated to the solitude of her bedroom singing and writing until her fingers ached. ‘I grew up listening to Waylon, Willie, Dolly, Tammy, all of them,’ she recalls. ‘But we also listened to the Mamas and the Papas, The Carpenters, The Supremes and Stevie Wonder. An 8-year-old Twain was often pulled out of bed to sing with the house band at a local club but only after alcohol sales ended at midnight. Later, Twain spent summers working with her stepfather as the foreman of a dozen-man reforestation crew in the Canadian bush, in the winter season, she would sing in clubs and do television and radio performances as often as her schooling would allow.
Although Twain landed a record deal with Mercury Records on the basis of her original material, her self-titled 1993 debut album featured only one of her songs, the feisty ‘God Ain’t Gonna Getcha for That.’ Singles ‘What Made You Say That’ and ‘Dance With the One That Brought You’ each peaked at No. 55 on the Billboard country singles chart. It took a phone call from a distant admirer, rock producer Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange (AD/DC, Def Leppard, Foreigner, Bryan Adams and many more) for Twain to find a true believer, both in her voice and her original songs. Twain and Lange met face to face in Nashville at Fan Fair in 1993 and married six months later, by which time they’d written half an album’s worth of tunes together.
The first results of their labor, ‘Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under,’ entered the Billboard country singles chart in January 1995, peaking at No. 11. Twain’s second album, The Woman in Me, debuted on the country albums chart the following month. The collection has sold 18 million copies, making Twain the best-selling country female artist, of all time. The single ‘Any Man of Mine,’ hit the charts in May and became the first of four consecutive No. 1 hits for Twain, including ‘(If You’re Not in It for Love) I’m Outta Here!,’ ‘You Win My Love’ and ‘No One Needs to Know.’ The project won a Grammy for country album of the year and was named album of the year by the Academy of Country Music in 1995.
Twain’s third Mercury collection, Come on Over, was released in 1997, two years after her last album. The project continued Twain’s hot streak, producing No. 1 hits ‘Honey, I’m Home’ and ‘Love Gets Me Every Time.’ The sultry ballad ‘You’re Still the One’ went to No. 1 on the country singles chart and made it to No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 pop chart, solidifying Twain as a crossover artist,. The sassy ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman,’ a Top 5 country hit, helped secure the singer a contract with cosmetics company Revlon, which used the tune in TV ads featuring Twain. Come on Over has sold 11 million copies to date.
While The Woman in Me broke records and made Twain an international star, critics didn’t know what to make of her sexy image and independent approach to marketing her music. The singer finally mounted her first major tour in 1998 following the release of Come on Over. The highly anticipated outing helped earn Twain entertainer of the year trophies from the ACM and the Country Music Association in 1999. Twain has won Grammys for best country song (‘Come on Over’ and ‘You’re Still the One’) and for best country female vocal performance (‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman!’ and ‘You’re Still the One’). She also has taken home trophies from the Canadian Country Music Awards, Canada’s JUNO Awards and the American Music Awards. In 1999, Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) named Twain both country songwriter of the year and pop songwriter of the year. ‘You’re Still the One’ was named BMI’s country and pop song of the year.
Twain released a Greatest Hits album in 2004, which included a duet with Billy Currington, ‘Party For Two.’