http://gty.im/999173370 Every time I come across the name Shania, I go back in time to a wonderful week in Music City, USA, Nashville, Tennessee
where I was fortunate to meet and spend time with Shania Twain. It was Fan Fair 1993. Fair Fair, now called the CMA Music Fest, was then and is still a bucket list item for any lover of Country music. In one short week, you will see more concerts and stars than most people will see in their entire lifetime.
I don’t remember which weekday it was. I think Wednesday. What I do remember was standing backstage with our WKML Music Director Andy Brown. Backstage was simply several large tents connected together in the infield of Nashville Speedway at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. For many years, some 25,000 packed into the fairgrounds to attend Fan Fair every June. I was very lucky to be one of those fans. Today, the CMA Music Fest is held in downtown Nashville and is many times larger than Fan Fair ever was. May I say, go. Make plans now for next June and attend the CMA Music Fest. Trust me. You will be glad you did. Now, where was I? Oh yeah. While backstage, Andy and I struck up a conversation with a young lady. The first thing I honestly thought was, girl, comb your hair. She later apologized for her appearance and told us her hair was windblown because she had just driven in from Star, Mississippi. I remember how determined she was, how excited she was to be at Fan Fair and how she could not wait to perform. Little did Andy and I know that this young lady had an incredible future ahead of her. She also went on to marry a Country hunk as my wife Debbie would say and have a house full of kids. She went by the name of Faith Hill.
Moving forward a half hour or so, Andy turns to me and says, “Don, look over there. What’s her name?” I took a look and answered, “I’m not sure. Let’s go introduce ourselves.” We did. Now that I look back, I was wondering what is Shania Twain alone and why is she just hanging out backstage? Yes, I was already a big fan. As we approached, she flashed that ten million dollar smile. She told us that she had been invited to Fan Fair and to remain in the backstage area. If an artist was running late or failed to show, she would get their slot to perform. You should have seen her face when we told her that WKML played her first two records, “Dance With The One That Brought You” and “What Made You Say That.” Also, I have to tell you that something weird happened during that chance encounter. When you go to Fan Fair now the CMA Music Fest, you must have your camera. You never know who you will run into. Of the several hundred pics I snapped at Fan Fair, two failed to properly develop. Pic number one was with Charlie Chase of Crook & Chase fame. Pic number two was with, you guessed it, Shania Twain. In the photo, you can see me but not Shania. A camera expert said the shutter on the camera malfunctioned. Oh well.
Over the weekend, I stumbled upon the story of Shania and her residency in Las Vegas. In the story, I was reminded that, early on in her career, she was bitten by an infected tick and contracted Lyme Disease. Now, that could have been a career-ending diagnosis. Not for Shania. She found help, she found rehab for her singing voice and she never gave up hope that one day she would return to performing and making music. She accomplished all of the above. Another fact is that even after two open-throat surgeries which caused some permanent damage to her voice, Shania pushes onward.
Recently, she just announced her second residency in Las Vegas at the Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love reading stories about those facing challenges, fighting through the rough spot and finding success on the other side. One of my favorite Kick Butt Tips of the Day is “Expect Great Things To Happen.” Shania, God bless, continued success, keep making music and thanks for the great lesson of never giving up. You might give out. Never ever give up!