Shania Twain held a press conference in Nashville today to announce a Las Vegas residency that begins in 18 months (give or take a week). That's all and well, but we were on the scene to ask her: On behalf of all of us who need a post-Up! fix, will she be spending any of that year and a half in a recording studio?
Yes, and sooner rather than later. But as to when you'll get to hear it, don't count on her being any less perfectionist without ex-husband Robert "Mutt" Lange as a producer than she was with him.
"I was petrified of writing a new song without Mutt," she admitted. That scenario was "a whole new world for me. It had been many, many years since I had written by myself, so that was really scary."
The break in the logjam was "Today is Your Day," a song that will premiere on her OWN reality series June 12 and be available for downloading immediately after.
"This song really every day cheered me up," she said, so "I thought, well,, maybe I should share it in the series. Nathan Chapman and David Foster are both involved. I was very involved myself in the production of it." (Though she'll be seen in the June 5 episode of her series discussing the tune with Foster, only Chapman—best know as Taylor Swift's producer—is officially co-credited with her on the final effort.) "And it's really set me off, ready to get back into the studio. I've written a whole bunch of other things over the course of this year as well. And I absolutely will make another record soon. I will be making it over the summer."
But... "I am not putting any pressure on myself as to when it will be ready. Whether it will be before Dec. 1, 2012, I don't know."
If you're not aware of the significant of that 2012 date yet, don't worry, it's not the prophesied end of the world (as far as we know). That's the first date of her residency at Caesars Palace, which will involve 60 dates a year over a two-year period in the same mid-sized theater that regularly hosts Celine Dion, Elton John, and Rod Stewart (and claimed Cher for a while).
Twain said she hasn't yet made any plans for the stint, and even said she deliberately waited until after making today's announcement to think about what she might do at Caesars. "I'm going to go nuts creatively," she said. "I don't know where that leads. Today is where it begins, as far as dreaming about the possibility."
So, what about the voice problems that have figured so prominently in the reality series?
"The losing of my voice has been very progressive, and getting my voice back has also been very progressive," she said. "Today I'm speaking very well; it's very open, I'm happy with the way it's coming out. I've made a lot of progress in baby steps through the course of the series. I've seen great progress, gotten to the bottom of it, and I'm addressing it. That's what sharing it was all about--addressing the fact that not only do I have a problem but it's scaring me and I want to face those fears.
"I'm singing more; I forced myself into a lot of vocal scenarios in the series. I know I can do it. I've proven it to myself. And now, after visiting with experts, it's just a matter of following through with their advice and getting the therapy that I need. It's not really much different from an athlete with an injury. And you may not realize it—or you may—but most vocalists do go through vocal problems, with a show-must-go-on theory. I've never missed a show in my career—any vocal performance ever—and the show did go on, sometimes against what was better for me. I don't want to do that this time. The show will go on, but this time around, I'm going to feel confident and good about it."
The chief honcho of AEG, who shared the platform with Twain, noted that Caesars has a humidification process backstage that is especially designed to protect superstar voices from the potentially ruinous desert air.
"I didn't set any time restraints on myself," Twain said. "I set out to heal, I wrote down a biography, I explored Vegas, and I committed myself to things." Which was no small process for her. "Committing myself was a very big step in almost forcing myself to stick with something. It's like going on a diet or getting in shape: You do it with a partner, a buddy. I did it with the public! And they held my hand all the way through it. And I did it with a song, a song that I wrote to cheer myself on through the whole process."
So how about committing yourself to not only recording but releasing an entire album before Vegas claims you for two years, Shania? We'll hold your hand. As fans, we have to say (to paraphrase a too-old song), it only hurts when you're withholding.