Shania Twain says the goal of leaving the road after this year's Rock This Country tour is to wind up making more music in the future.
"This is certainly not my retirement from music. I will be doing music for sure until the day I die," Twain -- who hits the road for her first North American tour in 11 years on June 5 in Seattle -- told Billboard during a conference call with reporters. "The time is just right, now, to do other things musically. I want to write more. I want to makes lots more records. I miss making records, and I haven't made enough records in my life and my career. As much as I'm overdue for the touring, I'm overdue for new music. I've done a lot more live performing than I have recording, so I want to do a lot more of that. Not just one album; I've got a bunch of albums I want to make that have been backed up in my own mind. I've got to get them out of my system, and that could take awhile. I'm 50 this year [on Aug. 28]; I've been onstage since I was 8 years old, and I've really put in my fair share of performance. So I see this as an evolution in my career really."
Twain is, in fact, working on a new album -- her fifth overall and first since Up! in 2002 -- although she said it's in its early stages. "Right now it's just me and my guitar," she explained, "so that's kind of blank as far as being able to pinpoint where it will really end up as a finished record, once it's produced. The biggest difference is going to be stylistically; I'm leaning toward wanting the music to sound more organic than my previous stuff, less slick, maybe. I just want to direct it that way, that it's all my favorite instruments in there and a really live feel to things and with a contemporary edge to everything. It will just sound different. I think my voice will be very recognizable; I'm assuming that, anyway." Lyrically, Twain added, "I'm still doing the self-reflection and writing in that vein. I'm just different now and I've lived a lot of different things since (Up!), so the stories and the themes will be obviously different and will reflect how I've evolved."
Twain said she'll be taking "a very little portable setup" on the road with her to continue the songwriting and recording, and she plans to record in earnest on days off. She hoped the album would land closer to the tour but acknowledged the timing "won't leave me time to get the new music finished." She did, however, express hope that "maybe closer to the end of the tour I'll be able to put some of that (new) music in...It's difficult to know when the new album is going to be ready...Maybe near the end of the tour I'll be able to introduce a couple of new songs from the album. I'm dying to do it."
Twain added that she also sees songwriting for others in the future. "I want to write songs for other artists that are coming up," she noted. "I want to sit back and enjoy them having their moment on the stage and being proud that I'm part of their success and watching my music as the observer from the audience. I could be the creator of things and other people could be the performers of my creations and I would be fulfilled. I don't need to be the one performing what i create. So that's a whole other exciting phase for me that I look forward to."
As for the Rock This Country show itself, Twain said it will be packed with hits and high on energy. "It's just a celebration tour," she noted. "I'm reuniting with the fans out there in their home towns, which I have not done in a decade. It is a goodbye to the stage. It's full of great technology, the highest end possible. It's a very dynamic show, more dynamic than ever before, and no one's seen me in this light before. It's gonna rock, that's for sure. It'll be something nobody's ever seen before from me." She promised it will be "a whole new look, a whole new production entirely" than her Las Vegas residency at Caesars Palace.
"I'm in a good spirit for it," said Twain, who overcame some major vocal problems several years ago and now does hour-and-a-half warm-ups to get ready for her shows. "For the last two years in Las Vegas the fans have been coming to me, so I just feel real pumped to get out there and go to their towns and bring them this whole new show and I guess, this big sign-off, this big farewell."
Twain will be touring steady until Aug. 23, then breaks before resuming Sept. 12 in Spokane, Wash., wrapping Oct. 11 in Toronto.