Shania Twain was singing in bars at 8 to help pay her bills

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Country music icon Shania Twain has been a force in the music industry since the mid-90s. As one of country music’s biggest artists, Twain has also managed to rise in the pop charts, with hits like “That Don’t Impress Me Much” and “You’re Still the One”.

Shania Twain | Thomas Niedermuller/Getty Images

Twain, a fashion icon and beloved celebrity, remains an important part of the music industry to this day, with many critics claiming Twain to be one of the most successful artists of all time. While Twain is now a big star, she had to work hard to overcome a childhood that the artist herself notes as extremely traumatic.

Shania Twain had a difficult childhood

Born in Canada in 1965, Twain was raised by her mother, Sharon Edwards, and stepfather, Jerry Twain. Her biological father was not in her life, so Jerry Twain became the only father young Shania Twain would ever know. In 2018, Twain opened up to The Guardian about her childhood, which she says was full of depression, fear and even violence. “I was afraid my father would kill my mother,” Twain said.

“I thought they were going to kill each other. My mother was quite violent too. Several nights I went to bed thinking, ‘Don’t sleep, don’t sleep, wait till they sleep.’ And I would wake up and make sure everyone was breathing.

Twain noted that she suffered abuse from her father, saying she wanted to “escape” by turning to songwriting. “It’s therapeutic. Lots of kids play with dolls, and I played with words and sounds,” Twain said.

The young girl, who showed a natural knack for entertaining others, started singing in local bars from the age of eight in order to earn money to help support the family. In 1983 Twain moved to Nashville to pursue a career in the music industry.

Shania Twain experienced tragedy after starting her music career

Shortly after Twain moved to Nashville, that tragedy struck again. In 1987, when Twain was about to experience her first big breakthrough, she received word that her mother and stepfather had been killed in a car accident.

According to The Guardian, Twain immediately put her music career on hold, returning home to care for her younger siblings. With Twain supporting her family by singing at a local resort, she began to reflect on the trauma of her childhood.

“I started peeling back the layers of pain that I was in, and all the other heartaches and disappointments and challenges came to the surface. And I thought, ‘I’ve been through worse, and it’s time to put everything into perspective,” Twain noted.

What did Shania Twain say about overcoming trauma?

Twain eventually found success as a country music star, breaking into the industry in the early 90s after taking six years off following the death of his parents. “When my parents died, I experienced a much deeper grief than even betrayal. I was just beside myself,” Twain told The Guardian, speaking about his split from his longtime partner. , Robert John “Mutt” Lange.

“When you add shock to grief, it does crazy things in your mind. And that really helped me – it wasn’t as bad as my parents’ death. I survived that and I don’t want to give it so much credit.

These days, Twain remains firm in his beliefs and isn’t shy about speaking openly about his difficult past. After a battle with several health issues, a painful divorce and ups and downs in her career, Twain says she is “comfortable” in her own skin and notes that “whatever scars I have , I deserved them”.

How to get help: In the United States, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or text START to 88788.

RELATED: Shania Twain’s Documentary ‘Not Just a Girl’ Was ‘Really Satisfying’ to Make, She Says

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