Watch a brand new, exclusive interview with one of music’s true superstars when Shania Twain: CMT Insider Special Edition debuts Friday (Nov. 5) at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
In 1995, a feisty Canadian singer named Shania Twain made a name for herself with the up-tempo anthem “Any Man of Mine,” and country music has never been the same. CMT Insider host Katie Cook recently traveled to Switzerland to interview Twain as she made plans to release her first Greatest Hits album that arrives in stores Tuesday (Nov. 9).
In the first excerpt from the interview, Twain talks about her work with husband and producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange and reveals why she needs to buy her own Greatest Hits CD. The second excerpt runs Friday (Nov. 5) at CMT.com.
CMT: I want to hit some of the big milestone hits from your new Greatest Hits. Was “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under” the first time you co-wrote with Mutt?
Twain: Ah, well, that whole CD The Woman in Me was… Wait. Now which one was that on now? You got me. “Boots” was on The Woman In Me. Yeah, the “Boots” was on The Woman in Me. That’s very funny. I need a lesson. I need to get my Greatest Hits album.
They’re hard to keep track of. That’s quite funny. … But, anyway, that album was the first time we had co-written together. We met and wrote that album basically right away. “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under” was a song that I had already started before I had met him. … My grandmother used to have this saying about cookie crumbs in bed or something like that. Some silly saying that goes back to who knows when. But somehow I made “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under” basically about cheating, and I thought it would make a cute little title. We ended up writing the song once we met. Mutt liked all those cheeky little song ideas, and so we kind of carried on from there. It ended up being one of the biggest songs I’ve ever had.
It’s one of the catchiest things you’ve ever written.
On stage, live, it’s a fun song for everybody. Even the younger kids, they could be 6 years old, and they know every word to “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under.” They weren’t even around when the song came out. I find that really cute. It just goes to show the staying power of a song.
I want to talk about “Any Man of Mine.” What was that feeling like, knowing that this was going to work? People were digging your music. There’s no going back now.
“Any Man of Mine” was a risky song to release. At the time, a lot of people were afraid of it. It was way too edgy for what was going on. Everybody was kind of leery about releasing it. And I remember when I went on the radio tour to introduce all this new music, it was so amazing getting a reaction to that song. Some people just loved it. They just fell in love with it right away. And other people it really did scare. I don’t know whether they just didn’t like it or whether they thought, “Whoa!”
You’re breaking the rules.
This is out there. This is way too far out there. Because [it] was so … so evident that Mutt Lange had produced that song. It really threw a lot of people off but … I call that my career song. That’s the song I think that really, really broke me in a big way, because it was so different. It really became signature of what Mutt and I have continued to do. It’s really a good example of what we are as a combination writing team.
And you do that little bit of rapping in there. Was that an afterthought in the studio, or did you write that into the song?
No, we wrote that into the song. I don’t remember if we actually wrote it in the studio, but the idea was to have it there. … I wanted to do something just kind of rhythmic and … we might have written it on the spot. I don’t know. We do that a lot.
“You’re Still the One” was a huge pop crossover, of course. I felt like you were speaking to us through that lyric. Like, “See, we made it.”
It was a very personal song. Coming after The Woman in Me, this was on the Come On Over album, and I was feeling at the time that we made it, and we meant to get through a very difficult time in anybody’s career — which is being new in the industry and actually sticking around without having a tour. That was a big controversy, too, because nobody could understand. “Why isn’t she promoting her music? Can she not go and do this live?” All of this stuff. So by the time we were in the studio and preparing for Come On Over, I really felt like I needed to say that. You know, we’re still here. … We’re not just like sort of a cake-mix couple. We’re the real thing.
I bet when you first went out on that tour and it did so well, that must have been such a great feeling.
It did feel good. It did feel really, really good. The main reason for not touring on The Woman in Me was because I had been touring and singing a lot my whole life, and I wanted a break. I’m like, “I’m actually making records now. I want to enjoy this part of it.” And the road, there was nothing novel about that to me. I had been doing it since I was a very young child, and I really wanted to indulge in being a recording artist for a while and not a road dog. I wanted to get away from that for a little bit.
I thought, “If this momentum continues without a tour, why tour? Why not let the album succeed on its own merit without the promotion of a tour?” And knowing that by the time I would tour, that I would have enough songs to get through a whole night without having to do cover material — which is another thing I wanted to get away from. For me, it was very, very important personally as an artist not to tour too early. By the time I was able to come out with the Come on Over tour, I was doing all my own material. That was my dream.
“Party for Two” is so fun, and you’ve done a couple of versions here, the pop one with Mark McGrath and then the country one with Billy Currington. How did you pick Billy?
Luke Lewis [the head of her label] is always letting us hear his new artists, and he said, “You’ve got to hear Billy Currington.” And he had such a beautiful rich voice, and we really wanted a voice that was … a very honest and traditional sounding voice for the record. He’s got the sort of Southern sexiness to the sound of his voice. It’s a relationship between two people flirting with each other. He just really suited it. He’s got a very sexy voice, very low and rich.
Oh yeah. There’s that line in there, something about gosh, looking good in your socks or something?
“You’ll be sexy in your socks.”
Are you implying he’s only wearing his socks?
Of course. Of course I am. That doesn’t happen in the video. Don’t worry.