When Shania Twain reminisces about her iconic “Man I Feel Like a Woman” music video, she sees herself as an artist delivering a message of empowerment.
The treatment was based on Robert Palmer’s video for his 1986 No. 1 “Addicted to Love” and has Twain working her microphone in a black top hat, corset, men’s shirt and short skirt while being surrounded by a band of stoic and chiseled male models.
That exact costume she wore for the video is currently on display at her Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit, Shania Twain: Rock This Country, which runs through July 15, 2018.
“It was really fun to create a character that represented the song and my spirit,” Twain tells CMT’s Hot 20 Countdown. “It was a good mix of female empowerment, strength and beauty.”
Twain’s new album Now, her first album in 15 years, offers more of an inside look at that same independent spirit. Available Sept. 29, the album’s 11 songs including her latest hit “Life’s About to Get Good,” are Twain originals without any outside co-writers or contributors. She describes the music as her most soul-baring material to date.
“It’s the most honest album I’ve ever done,” she says. “If you’re collaborating with somebody they’re suggesting, ’Maybe we go this way, [or] maybe we go that way,’ and they are [contributing] their own feelings, their own thoughts. So, of course it won’t be pure to one person. And plus, I was just at a point in my life where everything had a lot of layers of experiences I had built up, and I was just ready to unload it all, and that’s what this is.”
“Poor Me” offers lyrics that address the downfall of her first marriage with her longtime producer, Robert Mutt Lange. In May 2008, she announced their separation, and a month later, she and Lange were on the cover of a People magazine that said his affair with an assistant destroyed their marriage.
She writes in “Poor Me,” “I wish he never met her and everything would be the way it was.” In her Hot 20 interview, she describes that time in her life as her “lowest low.”
“That’s me and my truth at that moment,” Twain reveals. “Anyone that’s been betrayed and their life is falling apart and … you thought it would last forever and all of a sudden it’s not, that’s how you think. That’s what you think in that moment, so I really did capture a lot of my in-the-moment experiences.”
She describes the opening track “Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed” as the story of her life.
“I was born fighting,” she says. “We all are. Our eyes are closed and our fists are in the air. We’re all born fighters and survivors. I’ve lived my whole life — a lot of it — with my fists forward. And I’m finally at a place where I feel liberation and free to say, ’I’m just not afraid anymore. I can do this. I got this. I can do this with my eyes closed.’ It’s sort of the new phase of the fighter me.”
She adds her family is always a perpetual source of inspiration for her music. Her son with Lange, Eja, turned 16 in August, and New Year’s Day 2018 marks seven years of marriage with her current husband Frédéric Thiébaud.
“I love my domestic life,” she says. “I love being a normal, everyday person, and I draw my inspiration for everything from there. And then I isolate myself to get creative, and it all comes together in those moments.”
Twain’s NOW Tour will make 32 stops in the U.S. and 14 stops in Canada starting May 3, 2018 in Tacoma, Washington.
She will appear on an all-new CMT Hot 20 Countdown airing Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at 9 a.m. ET.