Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Country Sure Looks Good To Me: Shania Twain
So here I am on day 3 of my quest to validate my observation that country never looked better. And let me just state unequivocally that I will succeed my confidence is in no way shaken; not in the least. Hell no; I know what I'm talking about and I can back it up. Here goes. I give to you 'exhibit C' - Eilleen Regina Edwards. Huh? Who? I feel you; I do. Let's just work with her changed name; the name the world knows her by. Shania Twain (yes I know, much much much better - she changed it to Shania Twain [Shania means "on my way"] in 1993 at the official start of her music career) has made quite a name for herself in not only the country music industry but also in the pop industry. She's one of the few country based artists who have successfully crossed over into another music genre. Now if you think Carrie Underwood's dossier impressive, brace yourself for Shania's. The woman is a heavy-weight contender. She doesn't play around. She packs a serious punch! Try this on for size - Twain is the only female artist who has 3 albums that are certified Diamond by the RIAA. Three of her albums have been certified double Diamond by the Canadian Recording Industry Association. That's right! And that's not the half of it! Shania's background reads like that of a fairytale complete with the happy ending. You would not know it just by looking at her, or hearing her music or by what is general known about her. She has had a truly difficult childhood. One which caused her to sing in bars at the tender age of 8 and to hunt and chop wood to help to provide for her family because they very often had a shortage of food at home. By age 13, she was singing in a local band while attending school. By the time she was 22 her mom and adopted father died tragically in a vehicular accident and she put her budding singing career on hold in order to take care of the family (4 siblings). It was not an easy task but she did it. And now on to the happy ending although it's not 'the end' because there's no doubt that Twain has a lot more to offer. The only other Canadian singer who has sold more albums than her is the one and only Céline Dion. The awards that this woman has accumulated so far in her career are staggering. Picture 187 awards from 1993 to the present day; 39 BMI Songwriter Awards, 26 Canadian Country Music Awards, 12 Junos, 9 Billboard Awards, 5 Grammys, 5 American Music Awards, 4 ACMAs, and 2 CMAs. And we haven't talked about album sales as yet! Her first album The Woman In Me (1995) produced her first #1 single Any Man of Mine, sold over 12 million copies to date, earned her her first Grammy for Best Country Album and Country Music Award for Album of the Year. She also won the category of Best New Female Vocalist. Yes, that was the start of a great and successful career! She hasn't slowed down since. With her second album Come on Over, Shania crossed over into the pop music genre. This album skyrocketed her success. It's her best album to date and the first album of hers that I owned. This album ripped up the charts for 2 years! It's sold some 54 million copies worldwide (20 million in the US alone) making it the best-selling album of all time by a female musician, and the biggest-selling country album of all time! I need to take a breath (aah.. there). This album is the overall 8th biggest-selling album in the U.S. Come on Over won her 4 Grammy Awards over a two-year period, including 2 for Best Country Song for You're Still the One and Come on Over and 2 for Best Female Country Performance for You're Still the One and Man! I Feel Like a Woman! Twain took a two-year break and came back with her third studio album which was released in November of 2002. Up! (which is directly where she's been heading since childhood) debuted at #1 on Billboard and was given 4 out of 5 stars by Rolling Stones magazine. The album sold 874,000 copies in it's first week. The international success of this album was equally amazing as it's local and regional success. It was certified quadruple platinum in Germany and stayed in the top 100 for 1 and a half years!!! The excitement and amazement of this woman's career is causing me to stop and take deep slow breaths in order to be able to continue; for real! By January of this year, the sale of Up! in the U.S. alone had reached 5.5 million which made it 11 times Certified platinum by the RIAA. Most of my favorite Twain songs came off this album (Up!): I'm Gonna Getcha Good!, Forever and For Always and It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing and from Come on Over: You're Still the One, Honey, I'm Home, Man! I Feel Like a Woman!, That Don't Impress Me Much and From This Moment On. I'm being totally honest when I tell you that Shania Twain lured me into country music. She has since released two compilation albums Greatest Hits (2004) and Send it... With Love (2005) which is a compilation of her earlier work and demos. She is currently doing some soul-searching while working on what is to be her fourth studio album. No release date has been given as yet. One thing's for sure, I'm so looking forward to it! This has definitely been more than enough excitement for one day! I now need to recuperate. But before I go, let me throw this question out there. Isn't country looking real good to you as yet? It was looking real good to me before. But with each passing day..... It's looking damn better and better. I feel a little warm. Is it me or is it getting hot in here?