No one wins the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year trophy by staying at home watching the clothes drier spin, especially when the competition is Garth Brooks, the Dixie Chicks and other overachievers.
Shania Twain nabbed the CMA’s top honor in September by selling 14 million copies of her third album, Come On Over, and touring the world practically non-stop since May of the previous year.
However, the more complicated her life becomes the more simple she wants to keep it.
“The more famous I get, the more I want to do my own laundry,” says Twain, who fielded questions from a handful of reporters next door to country.com’s offices just a few hours before she was named Entertainer of the Year. “I just want to do something simple for a day.”
Twain will get her wish when she celebrates this holiday season in her new home in Switzerland.
“Part of the reason I’m moving my Japan [tour], all of my Far East trip [to early next year], is so I can have more time at home at Christmas time,” the Canadian-born superstar explains. “These are the things I’m starting to do a little bit more of now. I don’t have to have everything all at once all the time. It can wait. If it means I miss something, I’m going to do that, because I don’t want to miss my Christmas.
“I want to prepare my house, because my family is coming. I can’t get my house ready in a week. I gotta bake. I gotta do stuff. I gotta shop. I want my home to be nice for them. I haven’t had them at my house in many years at Christmas time. My sister’s got a new baby, and I want everything to be just right for them. I want them to come a week early so we can all bake together. I don’t want it to be rushed. We’ll have a family Christmas if all goes well.”
The last leg of Twain’s North American tour is officially slated to conclude with a December 5 show in West Palm Beach, Fla, though there is a rumor of one final January 16 concert in Miami.
Her amended mini-tour kicked off November 14 at Texas Stadium two hours after the Dallas Cowboys beat the Green Bay Packers there. The concert was taped for the CBS prime time special Shania Twain: Come On Over, which airs at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Thanksgiving, November 25. The special is part of a three-night blowout on CBS; Twain’s show will be sandwiched between performances by Celine Dion and Ricky Martin.
After Twain wraps up this tour, the singer has no plans to tour the U.S. again until the summer of 2001 to coincide with the release of her next full-fledged studio album.
However, record stores will carry plenty of new Shania Twain product between now and then.
An alternative version of Twain’s 1997 album was released this week. Come On Over: The International Version features remixes of 15 of the album’s 16 songs — four pop remixes previously released in the U.K. (“From This Moment On,” “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” “You’re Still the One” and “You’ve Got a Way”) and new mixes of 11 other songs.
Also, the controversial Beginnings album is due in stores on November 30. The CD is being released by the small, independent Jomato Records, rather than Twain’s current label Mercury. Beginnings features demos recorded in 1989 and ’90, before Twain secured a major record deal in Nashville and became famous. Twain was never consulted in regard to the album, and she is in no way associated with its release. Recorded in Canada, the dozen songs feature Twain experimenting with arena rock, pop music, mainstream dance and upbeat country rhythms.
Something else to hold over Twain fans — the singer plans to have a Christmas album out by this time next year.
“I’ve been writing the Christmas album for a little while now,” she says. “I’m of the feeling that if I [have the time to] write them all, I will. If I don’t, I’m fine with putting standards on there. Everyone wants to hear standards.”
Twain is also in the process of coming up with songwriting material for the (non-Christmas) follow up to Come On Over.
“Like any songwriter, I suppose, I’m looking for a new angle on subjects that people can relate to on an everyday basis,” she says. “I like to stay close to home on that sort of thing. I like to give it from my perspective, which often means that it’s going to be fairly conversational and clear. I think that is just my style of writing. I’m not so sure I’ll veer too far away from that.”
Often criticized for being too pop by country music purists, Twain’s music is co-written and produced by her husband “Mutt” Lange, the guy behind hard-rock classics by Def Leppard and AC/DC. While she can predict her songwriting style, Twain says she doesn’t know what sonic direction her next studio release will take.
“I don’t know how it’s going to come out musically yet,” she maintains. “That is all a huge experiment. It’s kind of like pottery — I mean, lyrics and the subject matter that you’re gonna write about is like deciding that you’re gonna do pottery. OK, well fine, you’re gonna do pottery. But then once you’re doing it, it could take any shape, any form, within seconds. Things can just change so dramatically. That’s the part that’s harder to predetermine. It’s like we don’t even know ourselves until we’re closer to the end, as far as the sound goes.”
It will be at least another year before we see if Twain can turn pottery clay into multi-platinum sales again.
Meanwhile, let’s wish Shania Twain happy holidays with her family and the best with her much deserved break … and let’s wish her the best with those dirty socks, too.