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Shania Twain on Early Career Criticism, Being Called 'America's Best Paid Lap Dancer'

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Shania Twain is one of the most successful and influential country music artists of all time, but the "You're Still the One" singer says she wasn't always embraced by the music industry. During a recent episode of her Apple Music Hits show Home Now Radio, Twain reflected on the criticism she faced during her early career.

"I was criticized as an artist," Twain said. "I'm surprised I ever had any hits actually when I read them now. So for example, part of the quote from one of my reviews was, 'She's America's best paid lap dancer in Nashville. She's hot, but can she sing? Is Shania just a flash in the pan? The most famous midriff in Nashville.' So yeah, I ended up having hits anyway."

Twain didn't let those sexist comments deter her. "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under," the debut single from Twain's breakout album The Woman in Me, peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard country charts. And it was only the beginning of Twain's reign as a country queen. Her 1997 album Come On Over sold over 40 million copies worldwide and spawned the hits "Man! I Feel Like a Woman," "From This Moment On," "That Don't Impress Me Much," "Don't Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)" and more.

Twain called the success of "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under" "very satisfying" and thanked her fans for their support.

"And what I just quoted were all quotes based on that first single from the 'Woman In Me' album. I wrote the song. And I was a little bit hurt, I guess, at the harsh critics, not focusing on the music. And the fans just wiped all of that hurt away and made the song one of my biggest hits," Twain said. "Thank you, fans."

Read More: Rooted in Country: Callie Twisselman on Shania Twain's 'Man! I Feel Like a Woman'

While Twain didn't name names, it's well documented that country singer-songwriter Steve Earle once called Twain "America's best paid lap dancer."

In 2001, CMT reported that Earle had a Twain poster hanging outside his officer door with the word "talent" written across her bare midriff and an arrow pointing to her bellybutton.

Earle can be seen discussing Twain in a more recent interview in the new Netflix series This is Pop. In the episode "When Country Goes Pop," hosted by Twain collaborator Orville Peck, Earle acknowledged that while he wasn't a fan of the majority of Twain's music, there were a couple songs he enjoyed.

"I wasn't a fan of Shania Twain records for the most part -- well, I take that back. There were a couple of singles that I really liked," Earle said.

When asked to name which Twain songs he liked, the "Copperhead Road" singer said he couldn't remember.

Twain, who has named Dolly Parton, Rush, Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell among her influences, has never been afraid to push boundaries -- not unlike Parton.

"I realized very quickly that thinking outside the box was not a popular thing to do," Twain said during the This is Pop episode. "This one lady said 'let me starch your jeans and you need to get yourself into some boots.' And I said 'Dolly Parton doesn't wear starched jeans. And she doesn't wear boots.'"

Critics never slowed Twain down over her nearly three decade career, which is still going strong. The 5-time Grammy winning singer-songwriter will return for her Let's Go! Las Vegas residency this December.

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Shania Twain on Early Career Criticism, Being Called 'America's Best Paid Lap Dancer'