Rooted in Country: Tenille Townes on Shania Twain's 'Fearless' Spirit [Interview]

Singer-songwriter and ACM New Female Artist of the Year Tenille Townes is one of the fasting rising stars in country music. The "Somebody's Daughter" singer has shared the stage with Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town and more. But even before she was embarking on international tours, racking up CMA and ACM nominations and earning accolades for her album The Lemonade Stand, Townes was performing with country music superstars.

When she was nine years old, Townes' parents surprised her with tickets to see her musical hero Shania Twain.  Townes brought a sign and her mom made her a special outfit to honor Twain. Towards the end of the concert, Twain spotted Townes in the crowd and brought her onstage to sing.

Townes says the experience had a profound experience on her and she recently got the chance to share her gratitude with the artist.

Tenille Townes performs at the 13th annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Al Wagner/Invision/AP)


"That was such a crazy moment — being nine years old and standing next to my hero," Townes tells Wide Open Country. "It just lit a fire in me that I still feel. I recently was at a Billboard music event. [Shania] was presenting an award to someone and I was like 'I'm standing in the room as Shania Twain and I didn't even have to sneak in. [Laughs] I'm supposed to be here. This is crazy'....I got introduced to her by my friend Katie afterward and thank goodness she was able to tell most of the story because I just couldn't really string words together. I think I mustered a 'thank you' and showed her one of the pictures that I have...That was a very special moment to be around her again."

Read More: The 15 Best Shania Twain Songs, Ranked

Townes says Twain showed her the value of following your own path.

"I think it was seeing her singing up there, you know, just being fearless," Townes says. "I watched her Miami concert DVD over and over and over and she looked like she was having the time of her life. She just had this fierceness about her. You could tell she just paved her own path. She was so different musically and what she was singing about was wildly independent and cool. It definitely drew me to go, 'Wow, if she could do that maybe I can too.'"

In addition to her ACM New Artist of the Year win, Townes is also nominated for Vocal Event of the Year for "Fooled Around and Fell in Love" with Miranda Lambert, Maren MorrisAshley McBryde, Elle King and Caylee Hammack. (The recording is also nominated for a CMA award for Musical Event of the Year.)

"That really was such a dream," Townes says of the collaboration. "Miranda Lambert is an incredible human and leader and champion of all of us and to be invited to be a part of that tour was truly such a cool thing," Townes says. "She wanted to do a song kind of celebrating the tour and all the music that was a part of it. It was so fascinating to hear everyone's different styles shining through on that song. All of those voices have something important to say and something different to say and, stylistically, they're just all so cool."

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