But Twain says those difficulties got her where she is today.
“Every time something takes me down or tries to take me down, it feeds more determination. I feel stronger now than I have ever felt in my life. And it feels good,” Twain told CNN’s Chris Wallace in a conversation for his new show Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?
The program debuts Friday on HBOMax and will also air Sunday nights on CNN.
Twain is currently working on her sixth full-length solo project, her first solo album since 2017. Her first single from the album, “Waking Up Dreaming,” also debuts Friday.
She calls her new music “just the beginning” of a “new chapter”.
“It’s far from the country,” she admitted of the song. “It’s energetic boppy poppy. In the video I really like playing superstar, I dress up. And have fun with fashion and looks like never before. It’s forgiving to me.”
It’s far from the first time the Grammy winner has taken risks with her songs and music videos.
The music video for “Any Man of Man” from her second album, which features Twain carrying her belly, garnered a lot of attention from fans and critics alike. While the album was the best-selling country album that year and won a Grammy, purists said their music wasn’t country enough.
“[They said] I’m a lap dancer. No, you can’t show your belly. You’re going to offend everyone, you’re going to offend women because you turn them off, and you’re going to turn men away because you have that attitude towards men,” she recalled being told by industry executives. “But I just had to ignore that and follow my own vision. Trust that.”
Her belief in her own vision has resulted in 18 Grammy nominations and earned her the title of one of the best-selling artists of all time.
“I had a really huge dream. From a very young child. I don’t know if I would have ever been content not to pursue that dream,” she told Wallace.
For seven years I thought ‘My career is over’
Twain’s “giant” dream was nearly dashed in 2004 when she was diagnosed with Lyme disease, which left her with dysphonia, a vocal cord disorder that makes speaking, let alone singing, difficult.
“It was an unreasonable amount of work and pressure to keep going longer as a recording artist. So I was able to do a few small one off things, but with so much work behind it I thought no, I could never be a real recording artist anymore. And go out and sing it live,” she said.
Twain eventually underwent surgery. Though the surgery was a risk, the singer said she had to try.
“I should have ended my singing career, so I was like, ‘Oh, of course I’m going to try that.’ And boy can I scream now,” she said.
Amid her voice troubles, Twain found out that her then-husband was having an affair with her best friend.
“[There were] definitely moments where I wanted to be picked up and dropped somewhere on another planet,” she told Wallace. “Music was always my great escape, but because I couldn’t sing during that time, I had no escape.”
“I’m getting to the bottom of how to get my voice back and I feel empowered. i am married again My husband is an incredible support,” Twain said. “I have an incredible son, so I feel like my life is coming back together in a very bright and sunny way.”
Will Rabbe contributed to this story.