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shania twain

Shania Twain (Eileen Regina Edwards) was born the 28th of August, 1965, in Windsor, Ontario, to parents Sharon and stepfather Jerry Twain, a forester by trade. The second oldest of five siblings, Shania and her family lived in a rather unstable financial home. Despite the family's financial troubles, the Twain home was always full of music.

Shania indulged in writing and singing songs, and found inspiration in popular contemporary tunes. Tammy Wynette and Willie Nelson were among her favorite country musicians, while she also loved such artists as Stevie Wonder, The Mamas and the Papas, and The Carpenters.

Shania's parents encouraged her to take her writing and singing talents to the public, by waking her up in the middle of the night and taking her to afterhour clubs to perform. By the time she was 8, the Twains had taken their young ingénue to every public venue; everywhere from church and community events to performing with local bands at bars.

With the encouragement of her mother, Shania always made performing a part of her life. While Shania spent her summer vacations from high school helping her parents financially by taking on part-time jobs, she still continued to be the lead singer of a cover band.

After graduating from high school, Shania went to Toronto to attempt to further pursue her life-long dream of becoming a professional singer/songwriter.

Tragedy struck the Twain family when Shania's parents were killed in a car crash, in 1987. She returned home from Toronto and became the surrogate mother to her younger brothers and sisters. In order to support her siblings, Shania worked at a resort, singing and dancing.

While singing show tunes at the resort for three years, Shania continued to work on her career by releasing a demo tape that a representative at Mercury Records in Nashville heard. When she finally became a Mercury Records artist, Shania, who was still known as Eileen Twain at the time, was urged to change her family name for a name that would go better with Eileen. Loyal to her family's origin, she chose the Ojibway name Shania instead.

"Shania", which means "I'm on my way" in the Native American language, was indeed well on her way. While her first album, Shania Twain was not successful, her second album, The Woman In Me -- released in 1995 -- went on to sell 18 million copies, more than any other female country artist. The album not only broke records, it also spawned seven hit singles.

Two years later, Shania went on to shatter more records with the release of her third album, Come On Over, selling 34 million albums worldwide. Come On Over has become the best-selling album by a female solo artist and the best-selling country album of all-time.

With huge hits such as "Man! I Feel Like A Woman" and "That Don't Impress Me Much", it's no wonder that Shania was featured as one of the divas to perform at VH1's Divas Live, with fellow divas at large Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Gloria Estefan. The album of the live performances was released in 1998.

The price of huge success is controversy, which Shania was no stranger to. Die-hard country fans did not appreciate Shania's assertive lyrics, which portrayed a strong, independent woman behind the lyrics, nor did they like her midriff-baring look, which practically became her trademark. Even more disturbing to country fans was the fact that Shania did not hail from Nashville.

When not working as a Revlon cover model and breaking records in both the pop and country charts, the navel-baring musician is the wife of rock producer Robert "Mutt" Lange, who produced her last two albums.

Shania and Mutt now live in Switzerland, where Shania is learning to speak French. Following the extensive touring to promote Come On Over, the couple took some well deserved time off to start a family.

Shania gave birth to a son named Eja (pronounced "Asia") on August 12, 2001. The arrival of Eja had put the release of her fourth album, Up! on hold until November of 2002. She has also rescheduled her next tour until sometime in 2003, but has kept busy by performing at the American Music Awards and the Super Bowl half-time show (where the general consensus was that she was lip-synching). She is also set to host the 2003 Juno Awards, Canada's answer to the Grammys.

Up! sold two million copies in the U.S. in its first month of release, and has already spawned the hits "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!" and the title track. Let's see what kind of records she breaks this time around.

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