Shania, Avril Look Back

Canadian singers bond over their long-lost collaboration

Posted Nov 18, 2002 12:00 AM

When country-pop star Shania Twain came through Ottawa in March 1999, she did what had been doing all along her Come On Over tour and invited the winner of a local radio-sponsored contest onstage for a duet. She couldn't have predicted that her guest that night, a then-unknown fourteen-year-old named Avril Lavigne from nearby Napanee, Ontario, would eventually challenge her for chart supremacy.

Last week, Lavigne -- now a multi-platinum singer herself -- finally got a chance to surprise Twain. "Hi Shania," the eighteen-year-old said on a tape that ran during Twain's appearance on Canada's MuchMoreMusic network. "My question is: Do you remember me? I sang in Ottawa at the Corel Centre with you. I sang 'What Made You Say That.'"

"How great is that?" beamed Twain. "I feel a bit like a dork because a relative of mine was emailing me over the last two years about Avril Lavigne. She said, 'There's this girl. She got up onstage with you and ever since then . . .' The updates kept getting better and better. Then I started hearing her in Europe on the radio and it's just blowing my mind."

Not long after her duet with Twain, Lavigne headed to New York City to begin work on the songs that would become Let Go, her smash 2002 debut. But Twain wouldn't take any part of the credit for Lavigne's breakthrough. "I'm sure it's not because of the contest," she said. "[Lavigne] was obviously very seriously pursuing a career."

Twain also said she'll dig up video footage of the concert from her archive and send it to Lavigne. "It would be so cool to see that back again," she said. "It was my goal to give other young people the opportunity to get up onstage and in an environment where they can blossom, like I dreamed of doing when I was a child. I just thought it would be great to run a contest in every city that I was in and invite somebody up onstage because you just never know. There could be somebody out there who was as serious as I was, who really just wants a break. So congratulations, Avril."

(November 18, 2002)


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Twain gave Lavigne a go.



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