When Shania Twain first arrived in Nashville, she had one goal.
Her label boss remembers Twain telling him in the early ’90s, “I want to be bigger than Garth Brooks.”
In a new Billboard feature story, Twain recalls what drew her to country music back then, and how she approaches it now.
When she looks back on those early days, she says she was influenced by music — and artists — she thought of as daring. “Some of them were really rugged,” she said. “Some of them had criminal records!”
But if you fast forward to Twain’s late 40s, well into her Brooks-like career, she says that’s when she started to craft her own songs.
“I felt, ‘Oh, I really own where I am. I guess I earned this,’” she said.
Now she is at it again, putting pen to paper for her next round of music. After Twain received the Artist of a Lifetime award at the CMT Artists of the Year show, she promised she’d have new music coming soon.
“I’m very satisfied being a creative person,” she said. “I need that more than I need to be a performer. Songwriting, for me, is kind of like cooking; everyone has to cook sometimes. Why not write songs?”
The new album will include songs she wrote in the bathroom, the basement, the beach and even one she wrote in a hotel closet.
“It’s a strange thing, but I do need that isolation,” she revealed. “I need to feel alone and intimate with my thoughts.
“I talk a lot more about pain, but I didn’t feel the need to be that literal about anger or hate,” she said. “It’s very triumphant in the end. I felt like, ‘Whew! I made it through the album! I made it through writing all the songs!’ It was an emotional roller coaster, and the lyrics reflect that.”
Twain also admits in the Billboard story that she is not comfortable feeling famous or important.
“It just doesn’t sit right with me at all,” she said. “If I could be successful and not famous, that would suit me better.”