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Shania Twain On Finding New Meaning In 'You're Still The One' After Her Divorce: 'It Wasn't About Me'

The Canadian superstar unpacks the process of writing and recording her 1997 hit on a new episode of Song Exploder, realizing the song has taken on a life of its own.

Shania Twain

Shania Twain

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In a new episode of the podcast Song Exploder, country superstar Shania Twain breaks down how she made her 1997 hit, "You're Still the One," and how its meaning has changed since then.

"Still the One" comes from Twain's 1997 record Come on Over, the all-time best-selling album by a solo female artist. The uplifting ballad is one of the record's biggest hits, reaching No. 2 on theBillboardHot 100 — Twain's highest ever placement on that chart. It topped the Country Songs chart and has become a popular anthem for weddings, anniversaries and impassioned karaoke performances. (Twain also recently revisited the music video for another of Come on Over's major singles, "Man! I Feel Like a Woman.")


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The song was first inspired by public skepticism of Twain's marriage to producer Mutt Lange. Twain explains on Song Exploder that she had grown up with Lange's music as a rock fan in Timmins, Ontario — Lange produced hugely popular records like AC/DC's Back in Black and Def Leppard's Paranoia. To Twain, though Lange was nearly 20 years her senior, she felt like their marriage was a given. "It was just so obvious we needed to be together," Twain explains.

Others didn't feel the same, though. When Lange produced Twain's massively successful 1995 album The Woman in Me, Twain faced suggestions that she wasn't an authentic artist or that she didn't have creative control in the relationships. "[Critics] insinuated that I was a product being shaped and formed," Twain says. "You're Still the One" was Twain's response, an assertion to Lange, herself, and the world, that they were going to make it.

Twain says she remembers the day she wrote it clearly. The melody came to her as she was humming in the kitchen, followed by the classic line: "looks like we made it." She picked up her guitar and wrote the chorus quickly. Lange joined and asked her to loop her chorus vocals, inspiring him to come up with his catchy chorus counter-melody.

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The duo recorded the song in Nashville, wanting it to have a country feel. Twain discusses the pushback to TheWoman in Me's success, when some in the country music industry suggested she wasn't a real country artist because she wasn't American or Southern. "I knew I belonged there because those were my roots," Twain says.

She had been singing in bars since she was eight, performing Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette. As an adult artist, though, Twain wanted to expand country's possibilities, blending it with rock and R&B. "The music was gonna be a hybrid of all of my various influences stylistically," she says.

(Beyoncé's Cowboy Carter, which takes its own innovative approach to country as a genre, serves as a reminder that gatekeeping in country music is still very much alive and well, especially for Black artists).

For "You're Still the One," Twain and Lange got that country style through gentle brushwork on the drums and the romantic steel guitar. The steel guitar in particular was a "wow" moment in the studio, Twain says, and she points out Lange's production choice of highlighting the guitar's swells in the mix. She also admits that she always found the song's spoken word intro corny — "when I first saw you, I saw love" — but that Lange encouraged it to amp up its sensuality.

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Once the song was released, Twain explains, it took on a life of its own — and changed its meaning for her in the process.

Twain and Lange separated in 2008, and she remembers that it was initially hard to perform the song after the divorce. "I was choking down the tears," Twain says. Twain worried that her fans would be sad for her as she sang the song. But as she continued to perform it, she discovered the song was no longer just hers. "I soon realized that it wasn’t about me. People had adopted the song as their song," Twain says, explaining that fans were thinking about their own relationships and lives in relation to the song.

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“This song has way surpassed why I wrote it. It’s so much more than that," Twain concludes. Ultimately, "You're Still the One" transcended its own inspiration to stand the test of time — and look how far its come.

Listen to the full episode here.

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Arthur Fogel photographed in Los Angeles.
Lane Dorsey

Arthur Fogel photographed in Los Angeles.

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