This summer, every festival lineup and radio station will inevitably feature the same predictable artists. That’s a Bop is our month-long effort to introduce you to artists and songs beyond the top-ten list … and also present you with our dream collaborations.
Some things in life are worth the wait: That pizza you ordered on Seamless from the extremely-slow-yet-delicious place a few miles away. Finding that one person you actually want to continue to bang after Cuffing Season has already ended. Getting to devote two weeks solely to watching women’s gymnastics at the Summer Olympics. But when do you decide you’ve waited long enough? When do you put your foot down and insist on intervening to speed up the process? When will the two most powerful women in Canadian history finally join forces for one of the most important musical collaborations the world will ever see?
Yes, it’s time for Celine Dion and Shania Twain to record a duet.
I’ve spent the majority of my life worshipping Shania and Celine, from my childhood in Canada through my adulthood in New York. As a kid, I’d lock myself in my bedroom for hours to choreograph tap dances to Celine’s cover of “River Deep, Mountain High” and Shania Twain’s “Any Man of Mine.” I’d watch their music videos obsessively, breeze through their unauthorized biographies, and listen to my CD of VH1’s 1998 Divas Live on repeat for days on end. Now, my cubicle at work currently contains no less than four (4) images of Celine that I printed out on the office color printer. I even created a Spotify playlist called “CELINE SHANIA.” I’m obsessed.
Aside from ongoing coverage on Lainey Gossip and an amazing Jezebel essay about attending a Celine concert in Las Vegas, few people seemed to be paying as close attention to Celine and Shania as I have over the past few years. Of course, there were the tabloid articles about Shania’s tumultuous divorce and heartbreaking interviews with Celine about the death of her husband — but these queens of Canadian music weren’t making nearly the number of headlines they used to at the prime of their careers.
But recently, Celine has been all over the place, from her show-stopping appearance at the Met Gala in May (which included a memorable Vogue photo booth video of Celine holding her shoe up to her face like a telephone and a meet-cute with hip-hop group Migos) to her bold fashion choices while on tour in Europe. Shania, meanwhile, is set to drop her first new album in 15 years and recently debuted the record’s first single “Life’s About to Get Good.” Shania, I’ll add, told the Los Angeles Times she is incredibly proud of this title.
Now that the Canadian powerhouses are officially back in the spotlight, there could not be a better time for these songstresses to join forces. Take a look at the Divas Live concert from 1998. Celine and Shania teamed up with Carole King and Gloria Estefan for an awe-inspiring rendition of “You’ve Got a Friend” — and were also joined by Aretha Franklin and Mariah Carey for a poignant performance of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” Their voices mesh extremely well together. Shania has the robust alto twang of a country singer and the cadence of a woman from Ontario, while Celine’s powerful soprano voice has an incomparable range and delightful French-Canadian accent. Together, their harmonies would be out of this world.
I also have reason to believe that the pair are friendly with each other, which is an important factor for any collaboration. Along with fellow Canadian Alanis Morissette, Shania and Celine received the International Achievement Award at the 1997 Juno Awards (basically Canada’s version of the Grammys). Alanis couldn’t make it, so it was just Shania and Celine on stage. The pair held hands, seemed genuinely excited for each other’s achievements, repeatedly hugged, and expressed their adoration for one another. “I love you,” Celine said to Shania. “I love you even more,” Shania said to Celine. That may have been 20 years ago, but if there’s one thing Celine has taught me, it’s that, “Love can touch us one time / and last for a lifetime / and never let go till we’re gone.” And, in a 2011 interview about her then-forthcoming Las Vegas residency, Shania said, “The last time I spoke with Celine, it was about our children.” So at the very minimum, they were on good terms 20 years ago and now appear to occasionally make small talk about their children. That’s a pretty good start!
But what would a potential duet between Celine and Shania look like? Well, I assume it’d be a lot like Celine’s 1997 duet with Barbra Streisand, “Tell Him,” in which the two women sang at each other about a relationship problem (Celine loves someone who might love someone else) and then came up with a solution through song (Barbra says she needs to tell him about her feelings!). Perhaps Celine and Shania will sing at each other about trying to move on after a lost love (in Shania’s case, an extremely dramatic divorce, and in Celine’s, an unfortunate death). Or perhaps they’ll sing about female empowerment (Shania could sing, “Man, I feel like a Canadian woman who is both extremely talented and well-respected,” and Celine’s voice could crescendo like Fantine in Les Mis as she replies, “Sameeeeeeee.”). Or perhaps, just perhaps, they’ll sing about uniting together musically to honor the majestic land of Canada. It really is a beautiful place.
But does it even matter what they sing? Celine and Shania could get in a recording studio and skat like Kim Cattrall for all I care. I’ve waited my entire life for these women to record a duet together — to quote Celine, “there were hours that just went on for days” — and I believe I’ve waited long enough. And sometime in the future, when I’ve given up the ghost, please do me one more favor: Play this song at my funeral.