Before Shania Twain trended worldwide alongside Harry Styles for his explosive Coachella weekend-one set, the country-pop superstar sat down with journalist Steve Baltin for an interview about her 1997 hit “You’re Still the One” for his new book titled “Anthems We Love: 29 Iconic Artists On The Songs That Shaped Our Lives” (out Oct. 25).
The British pop star invited Twain as his surprise Coachella guest last weekend where the two performed 1999’s “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” and, perhaps inevitably, “You’re Still the One.”
Prior to the two sequined A-listers having their joint way with her signature hit, Twain shared with Baltin her admiration for Styles and Kacey Musgraves’ 2018 cover of “You’re Still the One.” Twain also said Styles had caught her attention long before his live cover. (In 2013, in the middle of his One Direction years, he simply tweeted, “Shania Twain is so good.”).
“I love him a lot,” she says of Styles in the forthcoming book. “There’s so many young people his age and even younger that I guess, as becoming adults, started expressing it. And it was only then that I started realizing that, wow, even in my show, certain days of the week there’d be so many college students. And I’d be thinking, ‘Where are they coming from? I haven’t been on tour in so long. No new music in so long,'” she said.
“So I asked a few of them and they’re like, ‘My first concert was Shania Twain when I was 6’ or ‘when I was 3.’ Or ‘when I was 8.’ And I’m thinking, ‘Wow, you guys are the kids that were lining up at the stage.’ We had to set up special security so that kids could approach the stage.”
In theory, Styles could have very easily been one of those kids.
In-between songs during his Coachella set, he gushed, “I have to tell you, in my car with my mother, as a child, this lady taught me to sing,” started Styles. “She also taught me that men are trash.”
Said Twain in response: “I’m a bit starstruck, what can I say? No, really, I’m a fan of you, of course. I realize that when I was writing this song, you were just a little kid. It’s kind of a dream and very surreal to be sitting here right now to sing this song with you. I think I’m just in love and this song is all about love. So let’s just sing about love.”
Baltin’s conversation with Twain also elaborates on the pains of having to perform the track that reminded her of her marriage to Robert “Mutt” Lange, her then-producer/co-writer. She is quoted saying, “I was very happily married and I wrote the song about Mutt and it was only difficult to share later live, when we were divorced. So that’s when it was really painful to sing. I’m like, ‘Do we really have to include this song?’ But I can’t leave it out, because it’s so many people’s love song.”
She continued, “And you don’t own their experience. You wrote the song, you created it, but you don’t own the way they’re affected by that. It doesn’t belong to you. So I had to get my head around it and say, ‘OK, this is not about me.’ I’m singing it to people that carry their own value for the song, or that own their own value of the song. And it was out of respect for that (that I) flicked that switch. ‘Let it go now, it’s not about you, it’s about what it means to everybody there in the audience.'”
In “Anthems We Love: 29 Iconic Artists On The Songs That Shaped Our Lives” Twain deep dives into her favorite covers of “You’re Still the One,” recalling the moment she met Elton John for the first time as he was walking down a hallway singing the treasured track.
“I heard a version by Prince as well,” she said. “That was one of his favorite songs. It was very Prince-esque… so obviously Prince. And that version made the most impact on me. I realized that, ‘Wow, really this song could live anywhere genre-wise and style-wise.”
The book features 29 artists talking about one of their signature songs, such as U2’s “One,” the Temptations’ “My Girl,” the Jackson 5’s “ABC,” Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” and Linkin Park’s “In the End,” along with many more new interviews examining how songs such as these became timeless classics.
You can order the book here.