Shania's Reference to 'Air' in New Song Is Revealing

Singer, 57, says in Netflix documentary it's about her life-threatening bout with COVID
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2022 12:30 PM CDT
First Shania Battled Lyme. Then, 'Touch-and-Go' COVID
Shania Twain is seen during the Academy of Country Music Honors awards show on Aug. 24 in Nashville, Tenn.   (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

A new Shania Twain documentary, Not Just a Girl, debuted over the summer on Netflix, and one portion is now gaining traction. The film tracks the 57-year-old Canadian singer and songwriter as she puts together her sixth album, and the BBC describes one of the songs on it—"What You Gonna Do With That Air?"—as "a bright pop anthem that has Twain punching the sky as she reaches the chorus." The story behind the tune, however, is "much darker," the broadcaster notes. "It's about the anxiety of running out of air," Twain explains in the film, and then elaborates on how she has firsthand knowledge of how that feels.

"I had a very bad bout with COVID, with COVID pneumonia, and it was very touch-and-go," she says. "I was feeling like, oh, my God, I just have to breathe." It's not the first time Twain has had throat issues. Nearly 20 years ago, she contracted Lyme disease after getting bitten by a tick while horseback riding, resulting in her vocal cords becoming so damaged that she had to have open throat surgery, per NME. "My symptoms were quite scary because, before I was diagnosed, I was onstage very dizzy, I was losing my balance, I was afraid I was going to fall off the stage," Twain says in the documentary.

After a long recuperation that kept her from singing for almost a decade, Twain came back to performing in 2012 "with a newfound rasp" at the first of two huge Las Vegas residencies, per the BBC. Twain is now looking to the future, and she's got one particular goal in mind. "The Super Bowl [halftime show] would be a great one," she says in the film. (Check it out here.)

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