Actress and singer Ashla Taylor is convinced she was destined to portray Shania Twain after one of the country star’s concerts changed her life.
The newcomer will portray Shania in the upcoming TV movie The Price of Fame: Shania Twain, and admits she didn’t hesitate when she was offered the role – even though it meant putting her own music career on hold.
“It was so natural for me to fall into that character,” Ashla tells Billboard. “I have been studying Shania for a long time. She has been my personal and my musical influence in life.”
Shania’s 1998 show in Alabama was Taylor’s first concert and she admits that ever since that moment the You’re Still the One hitmaker has had a huge impact on her life.
“When I was eight years old, my grandmother took me to see Shania – it was my first concert,” she recalls. “I saw her in her glory, and I remember thinking, even then, that was exactly the kind of woman I wanted to be. The light just turned on for me, and I began to study everything about her – her music, her writing, her voice.
“Because I was such a fan, I started to study her personal life story, and I found out that we had a lot of similarities. There were a lot of things that I could relate to, and she really inspired me as a woman. It started as a musical thing, and when I got to really know her story, it became personal.
“I kept telling myself over the years that if Shania can overcome, then I can too. I really hope to meet her one of these days, and tell her that it was because of her that I could do this.”
The new TV movie, which airs on 18 February (18), chronicles Shania’s life from childhood in Canada to the release of her new album, Now, and everything in between, including her marriage to and bitter divorce from producer Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange, and her battle with vocal issues that left her unable to sing for years.