At this point, Drake’s (petty) Summer Sixteen tour with Future has become a high budget highlight reel of Canadian heritage minutes. During his tour stop in New York last week, Drake wore a t-shirt with logo of Electric Circus, which was a very important weekly music/dance show that aired on MuchMusic throughout the late 1980s until it was cancelled in 2003 featuring objectively important moments like when ‘Nsync appeared in what looked like high-key trash bags and when Aqua brought their sugar-coated candy pop to the T.Dot.
Last night in Nashville, Canadian Culture Ambassador Aubrey “Drake” Graham went back into the canon and posted a truly iconic photo of himself backstage with country queen Shania Twain. According to local paper The Tennessean, Drake expounded on his love for Twain during his set, saying “I grew up a fan. I just want to say that, like, Shania Twain came to my show tonight, you know what I'm saying Nashville? So this next set, right here, I'm doing this for Shania. This is my love set for Shania, right here.” Our hearts are collectively sighing and weeping with joy.
Shania Twain is the greatest pop star we've ever had gifted to us plebians. The first cassette I ever received when I was seven-years-old was Shania Twain’s The Woman in Me, which, more than any other album, helped shape the woman and person I have become. I would spend literal hours watching the Country Music Television channel waiting for Twain’s videos. Imagine Young Drake doing the same, sitting close to the television or radio, singing and humming along to “Any Man of Mine," pretending to play the fiddle. Aubrey's favourite Shania Twain song is probably ”Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?”
Shania Twain, the Timmins, ON native, managed to bring a popularity to country music that was rarely seen for a Canadian artist. During the ‘90s, when Shania reigned, she was in the company of Alanis Morissette, Sarah McLachlan, and Celine Dion. These women are, for all intents and purposes, pop artists. Twain became a pop-country crossover success on her third record Come on Over with singles like “You’re Still the One,” “That Don’t Impress Me Much” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman,” the latter of which is a true anthem that probably inspired Drake to pen the male POV, but equally verbose, "Fancy"—please don’t @ me. Twain’s music is country as its core but she went higher gloss in the latter part of her career, which, looking at the music trajectory of (current pop cultural pariah) Taylor Swift, we should have seen that next gen version coming.
Drake appearing backstage with Twain is an important moment in Canadian cultural history because it bridges the gap between Drake the Pop Cultural Icon and Drake the Canadian. He is influenced, like many other nuanced artists, by a myriad of records, songs, and genres, the majority of which, at first glance on his records, are either hip hop or pop. But country music is deeply morose and often times telling sad, tall tales of lost love and heartache. If that doesn’t sound like Drake right now (or ever) then you’re not listening to the 6God correctly.
Sarah MacDonald loves Shania Twain. Follow her on Twitter.