Shania Twain Wasn’t ‘Emotionally Ready’ to Make New Music When Prince Contacted Her

The music world is a fickle beast. And so for any artist to maintain a decades-long career is a feat unto itself. But what Shania Twain accomplished is even more impressive. The country music superstar blended genres to create a series of cross-over hits, starting in the early 1990s. But when Prince reached out, Twain wasn’t prepared to make new music. Here’s why.

Shania Twain was one of the hottest music stars of the 1990s

shania twain prince
Shania Twain arrives for the ZFF Golden Icon Award ceremony and “Casino” screening during the 17th Zurich Film Festival at Kino Corso on September 25, 2021, in Zurich, Switzerland. | Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for ZFF

Anyone listening to the radio or tuning in to the music video channels back in the 1990s couldn’t escape Twain. Her second album, 1995’s The Woman in Me, became the first of three Twain albums to sell more than 10 million copies. Singles like “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?” and “Any Man of Mine” set the stage for even greater mainstream success.

Then, 1997’s Come On Over cemented Twain’s status as one of the premier women working in pop music at the time. “You’re Still the One,” “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” became some of the biggest hits of her career. And her 2002 album Up! kept the hit train rolling with tunes such as “I’m Gonna Getcha Good!” and “Forever and for Always.” 

Why the country-pop superstar turned down Prince

Twain had gotten so popular that she encountered many exciting opportunities. At one point, as she recently discussed on Access Daily, Prince approached Twain about working together. And the singer had to turn it down because she wasn’t in the right headspace to make new music.

“[Prince] called me up so soon after my split with [ex-husband Mutt Lange] that I was not emotionally ready to make new music yet,” Twain explained. And I was in a frame of mind, like I was swearing a lot and was emotionally charged during that time. So I’m on the phone with Prince, and I’m cursing. And he told me he’d prefer that I didn’t curse.”

The artist continued. “I thought, if I go to [Prince’s home and studio] Paisley Park, and I check in there as a guest of that studio and I can’t swear, I don’t know if I can function. I want to be able to express myself and not have to guard. So I actually thought I’m not so sure we’re that compatible in that sense. And maybe he offended the real me.”

Twain added that she regrets the decision now, especially since Prince’s death in 2016 meant she never got the opportunity to work with him. However, her split from then-husband Mutt Lange – which was made public in 2008, ahead of their divorce in 2010 – meant the timing just didn’t work out.

Shania Twain eventually released a new studio album in 2017

Twain actually wouldn’t release a new studio album for several years after splitting from her husband. Following her diagnosis with Lyme disease, Twain underwent surgery to restore her voice and finally released her first new single in 2012, nearly a decade after her Greatest Hits album featured a pair of new songs.

In 2017, Twain released her long-awaited fifth studio album, titled Now. And she’s continued to perform live since. Most notably, Twain led a successful Las Vegas residency in 2019. In 2022, she released a new documentary film on her life and career, Not Just a Girl, to Netflix.

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