Shania Twain is preparing to release her first album of new material in 15 years, and in a new interview with Rolling Stone she reveals that her upcoming music will delve into her messy divorce from ex-husband/former producer Robert “Mutt” Lange, who left her in 2008 for her best friend, Marie Anne Thiebaud.
One track in particular, “Who’s Gonna Be Your Girl?”, sees Twain, 51, opening up about the breakdown of her marriage. “It’s about feeling unappreciated and knowing that you are secondary,” she told RS. “Having to live with someone that has different priorities and accepting that you’re not the most important thing in a person’s life.”
To make things even more complicated, Twain subsequently embarked on a relationship with Thiebaud’s husband, Frederic Thiebaud, whom she married in 2011, the two couples essentially switching partners. “I’ve learned a lot about myself,” she says. “It’s scary to learn how vulnerable you can be.”
Another of the upcoming album’s tracks, “Swinging With My Eyes Closed,” is about fighting back from a painful situation. “The fighter in me wrote that song,” she says. “I was thinking of a boxer taking a swing, or a baby first coming out with his eyes and fists closed. They can’t even see yet and they’re swinging with their eyes closed.”
As Twain explains, many of the songs “started off quite melancholy and a lot darker” than they ended up. “‘Swinging With My Eyes Closed’ was totally dark at the beginning. It’s just all of a sudden the light went on and there was light as well as darkness. There’s a lot of songs that have that contrast on it that maybe are too subtle for the listener to even realize.”
As a result, Twain says her upcoming album will be her most personal statement ever. “It needed to be really pure and my own story and my own emotional journey,” she says. “I was now alone all of a sudden, and I didn’t want to shy away from it. And that’s not a collaborative thing; it’s a very personal thing.”
In fact, she tells RS that writing the songs felt like “therapy,” which “helped me come to terms with a lot of things emotionally. It’s sort of like when you finish crying. When you’re done, you’re done and you move on.”
Further complicating matters, however, was her diagnosis of dysphonia, a vocal cord disorder that altered her voice and essentially required her to learn to sing all over again. “I’m a different singer now,” she admits. “There was a lot of coming to terms with that. It’s been one of the obstacles in my life I’ve just had to learn to live with.”
You can read more with Shania Twain in the latest issue of Rolling Stone.