As Shania Twain was coming up with song ideas for a new album, she wanted to create something to uplift her own mood.
The COVID-19 pandemic had just hit, and as she was hunkered down at home, she felt inspired to “put a little up in my giddy,” said Twain during a recent phone interview.
The end result was the single “Giddy Up!” off of her sixth studio album, “Queen of Me,” which dropped earlier this year. It’s an upbeat, country dance-pop tune, drenched in feel-good vibes that gave Twain her first Top 10 single in years.
“The whole album, ‘Queen of Me,’ ended up being very much in that same spirit,” she continued. “It was like, ‘OK, come on, it’s time to cheer up!’”
That sentiment has translated well to the live show, Twain insists, as she kicked off the tour on April 28 in Washington. It’s also very different from her Let’s Go! Las Vegas residency, which played inside Zappos Theater from late 2019 through September 2022.
“It’s been fabulous,” she said of the tour so far. “We’re having a lot of fun and the crowds are in great spirits and I’m energized by sharing this music. It’s a variety of music, and that’s really fun for me because I’m doing stuff from way, way back and then new stuff; it’s just a mix of everything.”
And because she knows fans like to take lots of pictures and post videos of the shows on social media, she likes to change things up a bit at each stop to keep it fresh.
“I’ve styled all of the wardrobe myself, so there’s always something unique and different,” Twain shared. “They’re all one-offs so you couldn’t spoil it for yourself even if you did go online and look.”
Along with some of her biggest hits like “Any Man of Mine,” “That Don’t Impress Me Much” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!,” Twain has peppered new music into the current setlist including “Giddy Up!,” “Pretty Liar,” “Waking Up Dreaming,” “Inhale/Exhale Air,” “Pretty Liar” and the album title track.
“Queen of Me,” and its extended version, which features additional songs and remixes, is filled with everything from dance-pop bangers to country-tinged ballads, and it found Twain teaming up with some unexpected songwriters and producers. The album includes collaborations with Tyler Joseph from Twenty-One Pilots and Adam Messinger, who is known for his work with the Canadian reggae band Magic! and pop sensation Justin Bieber.
“The album evolved stylistically and I was just doing everything that I loved,” Twain said of broadening her sound and approach. “I really loved Adam’s work with Magic! and I wanted to tap into his talents, so I called him and said, ‘You know, we’re probably an unlikely match, but can I send you some songs and you can play around with them?’ So I sent him ‘Queen of Me’ and “Pretty Liar’ and I loved what he did.”
“Tyler Joseph, I’m a big-time fan of his. I told him that I knew he didn’t normally produce other people’s work, but asked if I could send him a song, and if he liked it, if he’d consider it at some point,” she continued. “It took him a while to get around to being able to do it because he’s so busy with his own stuff, but he really loved ‘The Hardest Stone.’ He did that out of the love he had for the song and put his magic to it and I love what he did. All the collaborations were with artists that I am a personal fan of their work and I sent it to them without planning on how they would turn out or anything, it was just let’s go and create some music and see what happens.”
Though it didn’t make the album, Twain released a cover of Harry Styles’ “Falling” for her Spotify Sings session in March.
“I listen to Harry on my own free time because I’m a big fan of his,” she said of choosing the song to cover. “That was one of his songs that I’d put on repeat and I thought, ‘Wow, I’d actually like to sing this one.’ So when it came up to do some covers, that was a top choice.”
She teamed up with Styles during Weekend One of the 2022 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio when she came out as a surprise guest during his headlining set to sing “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” and “Still the One.” It was a memorable moment that almost didn’t happen because Twain’s schedule was so hectic.
But she made time for Harry.
“It was totally unexpected,” she said of the roaring response the Coachella audience had to the performance. She had a little bit of experience out at that venue since she headlined Coachella’s country music sister festival, Stagecoach, back in 2017, but this was an entirely different audience.
“I wasn’t expecting that reaction,” she said. “It was overwhelming and just very, very awesome.”
Fans got a sneak peek of the new record when Netflix dropped the “Shania Twain: Not Just a Girl” documentary on July 26 of last year. It’s a deep dive into Twain’s early life and her big break in music in the early ’90s; it highlights how she boldly blurred genre lines as her hits landed on the country and pop charts.
“It was a very authentic insight into my life as a music artist that I had fun revisiting myself,” she said. “I had a lot of laughs and it was just really fulfilling to go back and relive all of that life that I lived as a singer, starting from my childhood. Really, not that much has changed for me as an artist as far as the way I write, even stylistically and vocally, not a lot has changed. What changed was the evolution of the career. The documentary really brought me back and it was grounding, I would say, and I appreciated how it made me feel. I thought maybe it would make me feel a bit sad or lonely, but looking back on all of those ups and downs, it actually made me feel very triumphant and very reassured. So it was a good experience for me, a very positive one.”
Twain is a big fan of TikTok videos. She posts plenty of her own, but she’s really into all of the dancing videos and creative content, even when it involves fans using her music to create the clips. She’s also impressed by the dedication of the people that come out to the shows sporting homemade versions of some era of Twain’s fashion.
“That is so fun,” she said. “I’m telling you, the audience is my entertainment at every show. I’m not watching my own show, I’m watching them and it’s so entertaining. When people come dressed up — whether it’s the denim on denim or the ‘Man, I Feel Like a Woman’ outfit or whatever — it means something to me. It means that it matters to them and has made some sort of statement in their lives and I’ve successfully shared my work and my art with them. It’s the biggest compliment.”
Shania Twain’s Queen of Me Tour
With: Hailey Whitters
When: 7 p.m. Sunday, May 28
Where: Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles
Tickets: Starting at $145 at Ticketmaster.com.
Also: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 31 at Acrisure Arena, 75702 Varner Road, Palm Desert. Tickets start at $95 at Ticketmaster.com.