TORONTO — Shania Twain overcame a lot of physical and emotional trauma to make her new album.
On sale Friday, “Now” is her first record in 15 years and comes after upheaval in her personal life, including a 2008 divorce from producer Robert (Mutt) Lange and vocal issues caused by Lyme disease.
Twain says she channelled the strength she gained from her difficult upbringing in Timmins, Ont., where she not only faced poverty but also became the caregiver of her three younger siblings after her parents died in a car crash.
In fact, a lot of my experiences are coming out in this album, from my childhood,” the country music superstar, whose 2002 album “Up!” was certified 11 times platinum, said in a recent phone interview.
“It’s really all about survival. This album is about surviving a journey … and that’s why the album is called ‘Now,’ because I feel like I’ve just come to a point where I’m recognizing where I am right now and not where I even want to be or where I’m going.”
“Now” is infused with many genres, from country to reggae and rock, as it features a theme of what Twain calls “seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”
The breezy first single, “Life’s About to Get Good,” starts with the lyrics: “I wasn’t just broken, I was shattered.”
“They are all about going from dark to light and sad to happy,” said the five-time Grammy Award winner.
“It’s been a very intense growth over the last five years and my whole life has very been up and down and turbulent, a lot of highs, a lot of lows and I feel that that is all coming out in this album.”
“Poor Me” seems to be the most confessional track with the lyrics, “I wish he’d never met her, then everything would be the way it was … poor me this, poor me that … I still can’t believe that he’d leave me to love her.”
“That’s the farthest on the one side of not being able to see that there’s an end to the story and just that feeling of just allowing yourself to feel sorry for yourself,” said Twain, “and I think that’s necessary too, sometimes, to just say, ‘You know what? I’m just not in a good place,’ and you put your stamp on it.”
This is Twain’s first time writing an album completely on her own. She said she penned most of the tunes in Bahamas because she likes to be isolated while writing.
“I did procrastinate for a while in getting started because I wasn’t sure that I would have the confidence to see it through, and because I am so isolated when I write, I wasn’t very objective about the writing,” she said.
“I was taking a chance doing it on my own, but I just said ‘Well, good or bad I’m going to commit myself to this journey of independence’ and that was it.”
The album is one of many projects Twain has on the go. She’s also planning to tour next year and she’ll be a mentor on CTV’s upcoming music competition series “The Launch.”
Twain and Toronto rapper Drake have both gushed over each other in the past. So, would they ever collaborate?
“He’s a wonderful guy. I like what he does a lot — the world does, of course. But I really appreciate his personality,” said Twain.
“He’s a gentleman, he’s very sweet. He’s very communicative with the audience, which I admire a lot, at his age and stuff like that. I’d love to collaborate with him. I could totally see that. We have a mutual respect for each other and he’s just great.”