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Shania Twain became a household name in the 1990s as a country music superstar who crossed over into the world of pop. It wasn’t an easy feat, and didn’t come without its fair share of struggles on Twain’s end. But in her transition to becoming a bigger artist, she experienced a breakthrough with her career on a personal level.

Shania Twain
Shania Twain | Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for ZFF

Shania Twain debuted in 1993

Shania Twain opened up about the early days of her career — and her road to stardom now — in her 2022 Netflix documentary Not Just a Girl. She recounted how her self-titled debut album, released in 1993, had little creative input on her part, instead singing what her record label deemed best for her.

Her debut single, “What Made You Say that,” was released in 1993. And although Twain didn’t have much control over the sound of her music, she was able to execute her visions for the videos to her music. “The music video for ‘What Made You Say That,’ that was the moment that I grabbed onto creatively, and it was liberating. And I liberated myself in so many ways, and right from that very first video,” she said in the documentary. “It was like, ‘Freedom!'”

“It was probably the biggest turning point for me as an artist that it was going to be hands-on from then on than anything else I’ve ever done, really, because it really set a tone,” she continued.

Shania Twain rose to fame throughout the ’90s

When she debuted with “What Made You Say That,” Twain upended all previously-held conventions about women in country music. She bared her midriff in the music video for the song, which was unheard of in the genre at the time.

“I was a disruption to the image of country music. Absolutely,” Twain said frankly.

As the 1990s progressed, Twain showed that she was ready to take a sledgehammer to all the norms in country music that kept women in a neat, contained box. Her 1995 sophomore album The Woman In Me proved that she could take country music to new places, with the project winning Best Country Album at the Grammy Awards the following year.

Twain flew all the way to the Great Pyramids in Egypt to film the music video for the album’s title track “The Woman In Me (Needs the Man In You).” When looking back on the experience, she realized just how pivotal it was in her career. “I’m telling you, this was an experience I will never forget,” she said. “I sensed that that was the beginning of the chance to be truly competitive on a global scale.”


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Her 1997 album ‘Come On Over’ made her a global superstar

In 1997, Twain solidified her spot as country music royalty with her double-diamond-certified album Come On Over. The album contained several hit singles including “You’re Still the One,” “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” Her following two albums, 2002’s Up! and 2017’s Now, also received diamond certification with over 10 million copies sold.

In 2000, Twain added two more Grammy Awards to her collection. She won Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” and Best Country Song for “Come On Over.”