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Shania Twain‘s been knocked down, several times, but she’s gotten up again. And as she prepares to release her first album in more than five years, Queen of Me (Feb. 3), the queen of country pop is feeling like her old self. After an extended break in the early and mid 2000s due to battles with Lyme disease and dysphonia that nearly robbed the singer of her voice — as well as a break-up with her producer/husband Robert John “Mutt” Lange — Twain told People that she’s found love, and her signature shimmering vocals, again.
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“I really found such a wonderful life,” Twain told the magazine about her loving relationship with second husband Frédéric Thiébaud, whom she married after learning that husband of 14 years Lange was having an affair with her close friend, Thiébaud’s ex-wife, Marie-Anne. “It’s like a renaissance period for me. To be experiencing it as a relevant artist still, that’s rewarding,” added the singer who is also preparing to launch a global tour in April 2023. “I feel a renewed confidence. I don’t have anything to prove anymore, and I feel freedom in that.”
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Twain, 57, the best-selling female country artist of all time with record sales of more than 100 million worldwide thanks to such indelible hits as “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!,” “That Don’t Impress Me Much” and “You’re Still the One” hasn’t released a full-length album since 2017’s Now. After taking an extended break from music for nearly 15 years due to the devastating effects of Lyme disease on her voice, Twain started re-emerging with her “Let’s Go” Las Vegas residency (Dec. 2019-Sept. 2022) and now the first album since her 1993 debut that was not co-written or produced by ex Lange.
“I may not be able to [sing] forever, but right now I’m just enjoying where I am,” said Twain, who was told by doctors that a 2004 tick bite may have led to the Lyme disease that damaged nerves in her vocal cords. After re-learning how to sing and adding in extensive warm-ups and physical therapy, Twain had open-throat surgery in 2018 to strengthen the damaged nerves and the results are an album People said is a testament to her newfound happiness and comfort.
Described as “upbeat [and] empowering,” Queen of Me began as a project to escape the darkness of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also the first part of a slow-rolling return to form that included a pop-up cameo with Harry Styles during his Coachella set in April and a summer Netflix documentary, Not Just a Girl, that shone a light on her history-making career.
“All these years later, I’m still here, almost in a bigger way,” said Twain, “and I’m embracing it.”