Shania Twain was one of the great music stars of the mid-90s. with its mixture of pop and country and its feminine, feminist and very empowering attitude. To tell the truth, she was one of the pioneers of that feeling of strength and sisterhood that we women now gradually try to assume.
Netflix has just released the documentary ‘Shania Twain: Not Just a Girl’, that traces the life of the singer-songwriter born on August 26, 1965 in Ontario (Canada) since she was a primary school girl and performed in the bars of her city, until her records sold millions and millions of copies. The story told in the documentary speaks of struggle, success, loss and love.
Twain herself is the thread of the documentary, who, at 56 years, sits in the living room of his house by Lake Geneva (Switzerland) and begins to remember his story from the beginning. She grew up with her five siblings in Timmins, Ontario, and says “growing up in a violent home was horrible”, which encouraged her to go out singing in the bars of the area with 8 years (I already had a wide repertoire of songs of my own and those of others).
In the documentary we can see how since she was a child she mixes styles; thus, a recording of a version of ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ by Pat Benatar plays. But her musical progression stops abruptly in 1987, when her parents die in a traffic accident and she has to accept a job as a singer in a tourist center Canadian to be able to support his little brothers.
In 1993 he arrived in Nashville, where he got a contract with the Mercury record company and realized that a woman she had to work three times as hard as a man to get anywhere in country music. So he dedicated himself to it. “Being ruthless was the only way.” states in ‘Shania Twain: Not Just a Girl’, approximately 90 minutes long.
His second album, ‘The Woman in Me’ was released in 1995 and featured producer Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange, who had extensive experience in rock music. The duo was a real bomb: the album sold millions of records in less than six months, Twain and Lange fell in love and married. The pair also worked to create a hit like the album ‘Come On Over’ (1997), with songs that were true world ‘hits’, like “You’re Still the One” y “Man! I Feel Like a Woman”.
We are now approaching the 21st century and real problems are beginning to emerge in the life of Shania Twain. Her great joy is the birth of her son Eja de Ella in 2001, but after releasing her album ‘Up!’ in 2002, the singer contracted Lyme disease: “I was riding a horse when I was bitten by a tick, which was infected with the disease,” he explains in the documentary.
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“I would get dizzy on stage, lose my balance and be afraid of falling off it. The blackouts were very regular, every 30 seconds or every minute. I had all the symptoms of the disease while following the treatment; I recovered, but my voice was never the same again,” says Shania Twain in the report.
But the drama does not stop there, because she will divorce in 2010, after her husband cheats on her with her best friend. Shania Twain is a huge fighter; she regains her self-esteem and confidence as a singer in a collaboration with Lionel Richie (who she also interviews in the documentary). She records an album and presents it at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas: “Risking to do things your way can be scary,” says Twain. “You just have to jump in.”
In many of the moments of ‘Shania Twain: Not Just A Girl’, we see a girl who enjoys her work, with bizarre images such as playing the guitar on a boat in Switzerland, riding a horse, riding a science fiction motorcycle … But Shania is comfortable, and you understand that comfort has been key to making her music successful for decades.
And for her to feel comfortable, without stains on her own documentary and maintaining that empowerment, it is normal that Let’s not see Robert John “Mutt” Lange anywhere. ‘Shania Twain: Not Just a Girl’ ignores that hard part of the life of the protagonistAy prefers to interview musicians from later generations for whom he has been highly influential.
Kelsea Ballerini and Orville Peck each work within a fertile overlay of country and pop music, offering testimonials to the industry barriers Twain broke, the powerful songs he wrote, and the voice he gave to those in need. not just as a woman in music but as an inspiration to the LGBTQ community.
In short, ‘Shania Twain: Not Just a Girl’ gives us all the information about a star of our youth with its hells, its lights and its shadows, always putting into perspective the feminist vein of her songs, and also highlighting a career that has already lasted four decades.
SEE DOCUMENTARY ON NETFLIX
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