Shania Twain opens up about her 'different' voice and body after Lyme disease

The Canadian country-pop icon talked about her health, body image and bringing her "Queen of Me" tour back home.

Shania Twain opened up to Yahoo Canada about Lyme disease, body image and her
Shania Twain opened up to Yahoo Canada about Lyme disease, body image and her "Queen of Me" tour. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for CMT)

Shania Twain's latest album, "Queen of Me," came out earlier this year, which represents honesty, responsibility and overcoming fear. To Twain, it's these characteristics that make women their own "queen."

"That's the reason why I wanted it to be the title of the album. It's about being in charge of ourselves and being confident in your own thinking," Twain said in an interview with Yahoo Canada.

While the album is fun and emphatic, the 57-year-old wrote some of its tracks during times of distress to "restore [her] happiness."

Following a nasty COVID-19 hospitalization, Twain penned "Inhale/Exhale Air" after seeing a post from a minister talking about air.

"My lungs were filling up with COVID pneumonia and I was losing my air. I survived it, but it was iffy," Twain explained. "This minister, he just starts breathing in through his nose, out through his mouth. And he's like, 'Air.' He says, 'Air. What are you going to do with it?' ... I celebrated it by writing a song about it.

"Obviously, we wouldn't be alive without air. But I take a playful perspective on it and it becomes celebratory."

A new voice

COVID hasn't been the only health crisis the Canadian country-pop icon has navigated.

In 2003, she contracted Lyme disease after getting bitten by a tick while horseback riding.

For many years, Twain's voice faded. It was eventually confirmed that her voice changed as a result of the disease.

In 2011, the "Waking Up Dreaming" singer endured two open-throat procedures where Gore-Tex rods were inserted to stabilize her throat. While both operations were successful, Twain was hesitant to use her voice.

"After I had the surgery, I was petrified to make a sound. I didn't know what was going to come out," she revealed to InStyle.

However, once the songstress took the leap, she ended up being impressed with her new sound.

"As for my voice, I have to sing differently now. But I love it. I'm loving the way I'm singing," she told Yahoo Canada.

Twain contracted Lyme disease in 2003, which altered the way she sings. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Twain contracted Lyme disease in 2003, which altered the way she sings. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Welcoming life changes

What becomes clear is that Twain herself is the embodiment of the "Queen of Me" way of life. It's something that has not only got her through Lyme disease, but other life struggles, too.

On top of enduring "bad paparazzi photos" over the years, the Windsor, Ont.-born star has had to learn how to embrace her aging body.

"I wear clothes differently now because my body is different," Twain shared. "As a 25-year-old, I wouldn't want to look in the mirror.

"Now, I tried to change the way I look at myself in order to feel just amazing. And now I love wearing clothes more than ever."

But in order to overcome life's tribulations, Twain said she believes you have to push past fear and uncertainty. To her, it's about having a willingness to change and embrace a new way of thinking.

"All of the challenges that I've faced — from Lyme to body image — have all taken the same thing," she said. "To conquer it, it's all about a determination to carry on."

Twain has been experimenting with outfits, set design and more on her
Twain has been experimenting with outfits, set design and more on her "Queen of Me" tour, which kicked off earlier this spring. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images)

Bringing her tour back home

Twain will "carry on" when her "Queen of Me" tour returns to Canadian stages this fall, after she wraps up the tour's Europe leg in September.

Earlier this May, she hit stages in cities like Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. The following month, she visited other Canadian cities including Halifax, Moncton, N.B. and Hamilton, Ont.

This October, the artist is set to make a return to Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City. She'll also tackle Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver once again in November.

When asked about returning to her home country, Twain expressed her excitement for the upcoming shows.

"When I come back to Toronto, it will be with a different look. And I don't know what it's going be because I'm creating as I go, but it'll be fun for fans to have something different," Twain explained. "I would say it's going to be alive."

"Take responsibility for your own truth and your own honesty."Shania Twain

Despite her love for touring, the "Man, I Feel Like a Woman!" singer said the tight schedule and different environments can be taxing.

Every venue, hotel and region she visits also features different temperatures and quality of air, which she noted can wreck havoc on her system.

To keep her in top-notch form amidst a busy schedule on tour, Twain said she controls her diet and hygienic care.

"I make sure my room is sterile. And I'm really careful with what I eat on show days. I only drink liquids until after the show, and then I eat solids," she revealed.

"I also keep my talking down and minimal. I'm not socializing on the road. I'm resting on non-show days. It's kind of strict, but habits keep me at my best."

The 'Queen of Me' attitude

When it comes to advice for women who want to be as confident, fun and free as herself, Twain goes back to her "Queen of Me" attitude, which she shared has changed her life for the better.

In her eyes, she said life is too short to not do what you want. Happiness is essential, as is learning along the way.

"Take responsibility for your own truth and your own honesty," Twain said. "Be honest with yourself. Don't be something you don't want to be and don't be afraid.

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