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Shania Twain: ‘Dolly Parton was always a fabulous storyteller’

Mr. Nimbus | 02/28/2023

Global superstar Shania Twain joins ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus in a brand new episode of ‘Björn from ABBA and Friends’ on Apple Music Hits. In the first of two new episodes from the series launching this week, Shania joins Björn to discuss the potential of a Shania Twain musical, her music influences including ABBA, Dolly Parton and Joni Mitchell, early days in the music business, her Las Vegas show, and more.

Shania Twain on ABBA’s Influence, A Potential Shania Twain Music, and Possible Collaboration with Björn…
Shania: Yes, there actually is an interest in doing a musical. I just want to take a second to just say how much ABBA music has inspired me in the sense of broadening my whole… I grew up listening to three chord songs, very simple, a lot of storytelling. But musically, when I heard ABBA, I’m like, “This is another planet of arrangements.” And the time signature changes just went to so many unexpected places. So of course my imagination went crazy, and so I can definitely see your music in a musical in that sense, for sure… there’s a lot of storytelling there. It’ll be interesting to see what a Shania Twain musical is.

Björn: It’s so well suited for that because Catherine Johnson, who wrote the script for Mamma Mia!, she said that the reason why, apart from the songs themselves, the reason why it works is that the songs are little stories within themselves, just like yours. You should try it.

Shania: Yes. Well, listen, I’ll probably need some help. You have all this experience now, I may have to call you back on that and-

Shania Twain on Being Influenced by Dolly Parton, Joni Mitchell, and Kris Kristofferson…
For me, Dolly Parton was always a fabulous storyteller, a fabulous songwriter, melodically always very, very, I thought, very unique. I mean, a song like Jolene is very not typically a country chord progressions. She also really put together a hybrid style of mountain music with banjo, more bluegrass style, and folk. Now that I’m older, I look back and think I’m proud of her as a woman that she was such a stylist at the time, as well as a songwriter and an artist, very much a stylist. And then Kris Kristofferson, one of the great songwriters, really more folk. And Joni Mitchell is not a country artist, but she was a big influence for me as well, because I always thought she was country when I was a kid. I always considered her country because she was always telling such deep stories and such literal stories about life and almost autobiographical storytelling.

…this is why I mentioned Dolly Parton because she got into movies and she had a couple of very big movie themes, well, music that was in some big films, and that really brought her into the mainstream radio as well. And I thought, “Wow, this is a mountain girl from the Blue Ridge Mountains and she is on the pop radio.” And this made me really think, “Wow, if she comes from this little place, this little shack, and ends up where she ends up, international artist on pop radio crossing over, I can do it too.” Or at least it gave me a hope that it was a possibility. For me…

Shania Twain on the early days of her career…
Well, when I first went to Nashville, I didn’t have a lot of luck in convincing the A&R department that my songs were very good. So I didn’t even imagine trying to get other artists to sing my music. So they were trying to match me with other writers, but I really didn’t like this writing… I couldn’t grasp the idea of sitting and writing with other people. It was just so… The intimacy was gone for me, because it had always been just me alone with my own songwriting. So that didn’t work. And I ended up just writing, recording other people’s music at the very, very beginning. So it was only until when Mutt (Lange) came along and he said, “Well, are you a songwriter?” And I said, “Oh, yeah, I’ve got lots of songs.” So I started playing them to him and he was very excited about my style of writing and my vocal style in my own writing.

…. Mutt was very, very… That’s a very big part of his talent, I think. As well, other than… He’s got other giant genius music talents. But I think spotting and respecting the voice that’s going to sing the songs, if they’re a writer and you’re a good producer, you want to tap into that and that’s what he did.

Shania Twain on her Las Vegas show…
I had to do a lot of training and it was a wish of mine. When I did that Las Vegas production, I was in the midst of really regaining my live voice again because I’d had medical complications. But I said the one way to write the storyline visually of the production was to include things that made me comfortable and that made me feel at home and relaxed and centered, so horses was one of those things. I needed to have horses in the show, so I wrote the horses into the show. I wanted black and white, and I had this whole thing about… I mean, know if you see the whole production, you’ll understand that horses are a running theme through the show, and for You’re Still The One it was very difficult to sing that song again, and the distraction of the horse, it was like a therapy. So I was focused more on managing the horse’s psychology, and it helped me out of my own whatever mental traps that would’ve maybe gotten in my way, so that was the reason of that number.

This post was originally published on this site

Written by Mr. Nimbus

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