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Shania Twain may have been out of the spotlight lately, but that hasn't stopped her from having another big year!
Sure, she's working on her hotly anticipated follow-up to the 18-million-selling Come On Over, now planned for release next summer. But Shania and her producer husband, Robert John "Mutt" Lange, have already welcomed their biggest and most personal project to date: a bouncing baby boy named Eja (pronounced Asia), born Aug. 12.
But Mutt and Shania's little bundle of joy wasn't her only milestone this year. After 18 months of construction, The Shania Twain Centre in Shania's hometown of Timmins, Ontario, finally opened its doors in June. And country music's biggest female star became a real star courtesy of The Shania Twain North American Online Fan Club - gaze into the night sky and you'll see (somewhere out there) star number Virgo RA 13h 18m 28s D 2 degrees 51 minutes, now officially dubbed "Shania Twain." (Individuals and organizations can "purchase" the official naming rights to unnamed stars through an organization called the International Star Registry.) For those looking for something a little more down-to-earth, there are new Shania goodies to tide her patient fans over until the release of her next official album.
Shania Twain: The Platinum Collection is an 80-minute DVD featuring all 21 of Shania's videos, while Shania Twain: The Specials - available on DVD and VHS - contains both of her 1999 CBS-TV shows, Winter Break and Come On Over.
There's also a new 320-page biography written by British journalist Robin Eggar. Unlike other books about the star, Shania gave Eggar some help on Shania Twain: The Biography - though she didn't do any new interviews, she did guide the author to people who could offer personal insights. For more information about the book, which also contains rare photos, check out www.shaniatwainbiography.com . There's even some new music - sort of. The recently released Eilleen Shania Twain: The Complete Limelight Sessions, an expanded version of 1999's Beginnings, features a pre-name change Eilleen Twain singing non-country songs during the late '80s. "In my career, I've earned my living through all kinds of music," Shania says. "Rock, pop, dance - none of that's new to me. It's all very much part of my musical history." Producer Harry Hinde, who discovered Shania performing at Ontario's Deerhurst Inn and financed The Complete Limelight Sessions, plans to release the power ballad "The Heart Is Blind" as a country single. "On this album, you're going to hear a young girl that always had passion, fun and an edge in her voice," says Hinde. "You're going to hear a Shania I haven't heard since then."
- Nick Krewen