Originally published in the October 3, 1995 issue of Country Weekly magazine.
Shania Twain’s The Woman in Me is No. 1 on Billboard’s country album chart and for the moment, the platinum-selling Canadian is beating out Garth Brooks and John Michael Montgomery (*and* Reba McEntire and Alan Jackson). But her meteoric rise hasn’t upset Shania’s passion for hard work and fair play, values she acquired during her impoverished childhood in northern Ontario. Recently, Shania talked with Country Weekly about her music, her writing … and the merits of olive oil.
COUNTRY WEEKLY: How do you feel about beating Garth Brooks on the *Billboard* charts now?
SHANIA TWAIN: (Laughs) Wow! Well, I mean it’s wonderful company to be in, that’s for sure. It’s so exciting. It won’t be long before someone else is racing to the top, but for now I’m there and I’m loving it.
CW: Do you feel that your success with the new album is because you wrote the songs?
ST: That’s exactly how I feel. In my first album I was really interpreting somebody else’s thoughts. This time, they’re my own. It’s like getting someone to paint a portrait with someone else dictating what they’re supposed to paint. That artist would probably make a much more interesting, more beautiful and truer image if they produced their own thoughts.
CW: Lots of country music couples are in the business together — Kathy Mattea and Jon Vezner, Reba McEntire and Narvel Blackstock, Amy Grant and Gary Chapman. Does working together [with record producer/husband Mutt Lange] help your relationship, or is it hard to do everything together?
ST: It helps our relationship, most definitely. It’s really true. We work apart most of the time. I don’t know about others; maybe they work together all the time, and maybe that would be different. Mutt is off now recording with Bryan Adams…. We’ll spend weeks apart. Often the only time we get together is when we’re working, so it actually brings us together. We would see each other less if we didn’t work together.
CW: When you want to unwind, what do you do?
ST: I come home. I live in a very relaxing environment. We surround ourselves with animals. We have two dogs and we have a couple of horses coming next week. I go for long walks. I do a lot of outdoor recreation.
CW: If someone said you could endorse any product in the world, what would it be?
ST: Gosh, what a question! Let me think…. You can laugh, but I think it would be olive oil.
CW: Olive oil?
ST: Because olive oil is so multipurpose. I’m a practical person. First of all, I love to cook and I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have olive oil. I love Italian food and I cook everything in olive oil; it’s healthy. Other than that, you can warm it up and it’s great for your hair. I do that a lot. For dry hair, it’s the best conditioner. Just warm it up and put it in your hair and wrap a towel around it. Leave it overnight. It’s excellent, also, for a bath if your skin is dry.
CW: If I were to go to your house right now, what would be in your refrigerator?
ST: Soda water and cranberry juice. I like to mix soda water and cranberry juice with ice in a wine glass. What else? A lot of vegetables and zucchini, salad things. You’d definitely find Parmesan cheese for the Italian foods. A couple of varieties of cheese … I don’t cook with cheese a lot, but Muenster, different varieties of Muenster….
CW: You have often been described as a survivor who took care of her brothers and sister. What else would you like people to know about you?
ST: I’d like people to know I’m the kind of person who likes to get my hands dirty. I like to work hard. We just planted 5,000 trees on my property, and I’m the first one out there with a shovel. I love to work. I like to labor. I love chopping wood and planting trees. I’m not sure people know that about me. I mean, they see me as …
ST: Yeah, glamorous. That’s a good word. I try to be natural. “Any Man of Mine” is a natural — not a high-glam — video. I really am a northern girl, a woodsy type. I can ride a motorbike and four-wheel. I can drive a bus and I can drive a truck. I love being a woman … but I never want to be underestimated.
CW: Have you heard the parody “Any Gal of Mine”?
ST: I love it, actually. I think [when] people start hearing a song like “Any Man of Mine” so much, it’s nice to hear the other side …. It’s a chance for the guys to have fun with it and poke fun at us. I laughed when I heard it.”