Shania Twain: From Tough Childhood to Singing at 8 - 'I Developed a Little Broken'

Twain's early career fueled by deep-rooted family ties.

by Nouman Rasool
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Shania Twain: From Tough Childhood to Singing at 8 - 'I Developed a Little Broken'
© Emma McIntyre/GettyImages

Shania Twain, the renowned voice behind hits like "Still the One," delved deep into her turbulent past during a heartfelt appearance on "The Drew Barrymore Show." Both Barrymore and Twain shared intimate memories of their challenging childhoods, a bond formed over the weight of expectations and responsibilities thrust upon them at tender ages.

Born as one of five siblings, Twain suffered a crushing loss at 22. A devastating car crash claimed her parents, forcing her into a role she was unprepared for: a caregiver to her siblings. Reflecting on her early days in the music scene, the singer recalled performing in nightclubs at a mere age of 8.

These experiences exposed her to inebriated adults and situations she describes as "very unnatural."

Music: Twain's Guiding Light

However, her unwavering love for music became her beacon. "I was torn. But I thought, if you have a passion for music, this is the journey," Twain expressed.

The earnings from her youthful performances were funneled directly to supporting her family, which included her four siblings and her mother and stepfather. Twain candidly shared with Barrymore, "Children are prisoners of the adult environment." She looked back at her own attempt at 'parenting' when she was only 10, admitting she was far from perfect.

As she recounted the challenges of juggling daily chores for her siblings, she humorously reflected, "I was a terrible parent." The real trial of her life began when she had to assume legal guardianship of her siblings post the heart-wrenching loss of her parents.

Suddenly, at 22, she was faced with deciphering mortgages, handling insurance, and navigating legalities – all amidst her grief. Barrymore, who emancipated herself at 14, empathized with Twain's journey, confessing her own struggles with self-parenting.

The two found solace in each other's tales, with Twain assuring Barrymore that children should never bear such burdens. Now 58, Twain sees her past as a catalyst for her current fearless approach to life. She believes in taking leaps, even if the outcome is unknown.

"You will get to the other side, and when you do, you realize that the achievement lies not just in the landing, but in taking that bold leap," she declared. It's clear that for both Barrymore and Twain, their difficult pasts have paved the way for their resilient futures.

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