Back in 1981, when Lionel Richie recorded “Endless Love” with Diana Ross, it was difficult to get the two of them in the same city to cut the song. Turns out when Lionel recorded an updated version for Shania Twain for his current hit album Tuskegee, he had the same problem, but worse.
At first, Lionel said, he asked if Shania would come to Nashville to record the album. She said no, and, according to him, she wouldn’t come to Los Angeles or Miami, either. So he ended up having to meet her in the Bahamas, and even then, he says, she didn’t event want to do it in a recording studio. Why was Shania being so difficult? Because she literally had not tried to sing anything for seven years. But Lionel didn’t know that — until the moment came to cut the song and she refused to do it.
“I didn’t know that she has not done a vocal in seven years and has not been onstage in seven years,” Lionel recalls. “So she walks in and announces to me fifteen minutes before we’re now to go in, she can’t do it.” Lionel says he pulled her aside, away from the cameras, which were filming the entire session for her OWN reality show Why Not? with Shania Twain.
“I said to her, ‘Let me see you for a minute,'” Lionel recalls. “And I went in the room and I said to her, ‘We have something in common.’ And she said, ‘What is that?’ I said, ‘We are both scared to death.’ And she said, ‘But you’re Lionel Richie!’ And I said, ‘And you’re Shania Twain!'”
That seemed to work, because Shania overcame her fears and recorded the song after all, even though she was convinced she wouldn’t be able to sing because it had been so long. “I said, ‘We’re going to go ahead and prove this wrong,'” Lionel remembers. “So when you hear the first time she comes in on this record…that’s the first note she’s ever tried after seven years. And I ask you, does she have a problem? The answer is no.”
Shania will be showing off her voice in a big way later this year, when she debuts her Las Vegas residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. As for Lionel, he kicks off a European tour in September.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
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