CMT Insider Interview: Shania Twain

Superstar Talks About New Fragrance, Songwriting and a Campaign Song

Editor’s note: See the Shania Twain interview when the new episode of CMT Insider premieres Saturday (May 26) at 2 p.m. ET/PT.

By her own volition, Shania Twain has avoided the spotlight in recent years to concentrate on the family life with her husband and 5-year-old son. However, she re-emerged earlier this month for an appearance at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas and media interviews to promote Shania Starlight, the second fragrance she has created for Stetson.

Twain’s name also surfaced recently in the national media after “Rock This Country!” — her single released in 1999 — was listed on Hillary Clinton’s Web site as a potential campaign song in the upcoming presidential election. Twain is also working on a new album, although a specific release date has not been scheduled.

CMT Insider spoke to Twain last week at Arena, a New York City nightclub.

What did you learn from creating the first fragrance?

Twain: I learned a lot about scents … about zoning in on what I really love, what I like, because I haven’t really thought about it so deeply before. I never had to decide what my favorite scents were. I basically just went into the shops, sprayed things on … liked it or didn’t like it. So I did learn a lot from the first fragrance, and I would say I even learned more with the second one because I had to dig deeper.

I already had chosen so many of my favorite things that I wanted in a fragrance, I didn’t know what was left to choose for a second fragrance. So I had to think more about what I wanted to say with the second fragrance. And I think the first fragrance being so playful and fresh … it left some space for me to get a little bit sexier and do a nighttime fragrance. And I would say it’s more of a fragrance for any occasion really because I really think you can wear this any time of the day.

Glamour, I think, we find more at night. Things just shine better in the dark. (laughs) And the bottle reflects that. It’s bold, but it does reflect the light. It’s very sparkly. Not sparkly in the sense of sparkles, but it reflects the light.

How would you compare Starlight to your first fragrance, Shania by Stetson?

I just feel more experienced in life. Well, I am! (laughs) I’m more experienced now. And I’ve been digging deeper lately for my songwriting, and I feel that the sensuality of a woman is so important. We abandon that a lot for ourselves and for our men, too. We get caught up in our children. We get caught up in our careers. We get caught up in thinking too hard. We get caught up in our vanity even. And I think that’s not a sexy thing to be — distracted all the time. So I think that we can sort of get into ourselves and realize that, wow, we’re pretty sexy beings and it’s fun to be glamorous.

So I wanted to go into a direction of more glamour. And I think it’s very romantic to think of an occasion to be glamorous. I’m not someone who is glamorous all the time. I am a very playful, down-to-earth person, but I like to get glamorous. And I think Starlight expresses that side of me.

At the ACM Awards, you said you’re currently in the songwriting process for your new album and that you’ve been doing a lot of soul searching. Is the music coming from a more spiritual perspective this time around?

I’m always soul searching on a spiritual level. That’s a permanent occupation of mine, I think, for the rest of my life. … But I think I’m digging deeper and being more reflective … even more as a woman. … I almost got a little bit tired of talking about the woman’s perspective for a little while, myself. And I thought that the next record was going to be just deeper as a human being. But the more I dig deeper as a human being, the stronger I feel about a woman’s perspective. (laughs) That is really crazy! So I just go full circle and back to that.

I’m not a feminist. I can kind of just say that now. I was a bit confused about that for a while, but I think more than ever now … I love the role that men play in our lives. And it just makes me feel even that more important as a woman.

Hillary Clinton has asked her supporters to choose her campaign song, and “Rock This Country!” is one of the nine choices she’s posted on her official Web site. Are you comfortable with your songs being used in the political forum?

You know, I am, because I’m not the politician, and I just completely remove myself from that. I don’t have anything against or for any particular person or point of view on politics. I have my own opinions, but my songs don’t share them. So my songs are just my personality, and if somebody likes them enough to include them, I’m flattered by that. I don’t feel it’s any reflection on myself or my choices or anything like that at all. So I’m perfectly fine with it.

— Tim Hardiman is a producer for CMT Insider.