Also Credited As:Eilleen Regina Edwards
|Eilleen Regina Edwards on August 28, 1965 in Windsor, Ontario, CA|
Eilleen Regina Edwards was born on Aug. 28, 1965 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The future star later changed her last name after her mother Sharon remarried Jerry Twain, a full-blooded Ojibwa native from Timmins, Ontario. In 1991, she chose the name Shania, which translated to "I'm on my way." Twain endured a hard childhood, being raised with four siblings and parents who earned very little. To help her family, the young Twain began singing in local bars and made roughly $20 a night. She wrote her first songs at the age of 10, titled "Is Love a Rose" and "Just Like the Storybooks." After graduating from Timmins High and Vocational School, Twain set out for a music career, first with a cover band called Flirt and then as a Nashville-based backup singer. She made her onstage debut in February 1987, performing at a fundraiser in Toronto, Canada alongside Broadway veteran Bernadette Peters and jazz musician Don Ross. Sadly, later that year, Twain's mother and adoptive father died in a car accident, which left the singer in charge of her siblings, effectively stalling her upward trajectory. The ever-responsible Twain worked through her grief by supporting her family by performing at a resort facility in Ontario.
Still trying to manage her newfound maternal role in the lives of her siblings, as well as continuing to chase the country-music dream, Twain recorded a demo of songs in the early 1990s that eventually made the rounds at various labels. She landed a contract with Mercury Nashville Records and released her self-titled debut in 1993. Her album Shania Twain was a moderate success on the U.S. charts, but it caught the attention of music critics and industry executives all over the world. Twain met music producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange around the same time her debut album was climbing the charts. The two formed a fast friendship and married in December 1993 before starting work on Twain's second album. The Woman in Me was released in 1995 and trumped her previous album's sales. The first single, "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" reached No. 11 on the Billboard Country chart, followed by Twain's first Top 10 and No. 1 single, "Any Man of Mine." Her sophomore effort was the breakthrough album the Canadian singer had long hoped and worked hard for. Twain's newfound success culminated with a Best Country Album win at the 1996 Grammy Awards and an Album of the Year trophy at the 1996 Academy of Country Music Awards.
Having conquered the country music genre, Twain ambitiously set out for crossover success with her 1997 release Come On Over. She co-wrote all the songs with Lange, including the ballad "You're Still the One." The single reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, bolstering her status as a country pop crossover. Come On Over yielded more hit singles - from the rock-tinged "That Don't Impress Me Much" to the uplifting "From This Moment On," and remained on the Billboard 200 chart for 54 weeks. The album held the record for the most weeks in the Top 10 until Taylor Swift's Fearless (2008) broke it in 2010. Twain's songs received major airplay on country, Top 40, and adult alternative radio stations, while the accompanying videos made heavy rotation on various music channels. Wearing midriff-baring tops and high fashion outfits in her videos and red carpet appearances, Twain exuded glamour and sex appeal, characteristics that were not often associated with country artists. Her album's success and mainstream appeal landed Twain a headlining appearance on "Divas Live: An Honors Concert for VH1 Save the Music," a televised special that also featured performances by Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Gloria Estefan. Twain returned to the Grammy Awards stage in 1999 after winning Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "You're Still the One," and in 2000 for Best Country Song ("Come On Over") and Best Female Country Vocal Performance ("Man! I Feel Like A Woman!").
Twain's next two albums Up! (2002) and Greatest Hits (2004) fared reasonably well on the charts, but neither could match the phenomenal success of Come On Over. She took extended time off to focus on her family - which included a son named Eja D'Angelo in 2001 - and write new material while enjoying the relative solitude of the Lange/Twain home in Switzerland. The singer's personal life made headlines in 2008 after announcing her separation with her longtime husband who had effectively made her a star. The separation followed reports that Lange had an affair with Marie-Anne Thiébaud, Twain's best friend and manager of the couple's chateau in Switzerland. In a dramatic twist of fate, Twain began dating businessman Frédéric Thiébaud, the ex-husband of the woman Lange had an affair with, following their separation. After a brief time away from the public eye, Twain reappeared in 2010 as a guest judge on the hit competition series "American Idol," where she mentored aspiring singers. She and Thiébaud married on New Year's Day 2011 in Puerto Rico, surrounded by 40 of their closest family and friends. That same year, Twain debuted her television show "Why Not? With Shania Twain" on the Oprah Winfrey Network. The reality series followed Twain as she talked about her difficult childhood, how she renewed her life after a very public divorce, and announced her career comeback.