If stranded on a desert island with only one song to play on repeat, Shania Twain says she'd choose the Beatles' "Yesterday."
“I love melancholy songs, they often tend to be my favorite songs," Twain tells TODAY.com in a sit-down interview. "Paul McCartney is one of my favorite songwriters."
Her song choice is ironic given that when it comes to her own songwriting, Twain, 57, says she tends to "write myself out of the past," and "keep moving forward" instead.
Between the two, however, she strikes a balance.
"It's just ironic that 'Yesterday' stays with me so closely," Twain explains. "I'm always running off with my own songwriting into the future.
"But as a listener, (I'm) always longing and loving the song 'Yesterday," she says. "It is a song of reflection, of the past, so I think that's very fitting."
The five-time Grammy winner and bestselling female artist in country music history has much to reflect on, including her share of difficult times stemming from a traumatic childhood, the loss of her parents in a car accident and a battle with Lyme Disease that damaged her vocal cords.
And, in 2022, Twain faced yet another challenge, when she was hospitalized with COVID-19 pneumonia. It was touch-and-go for several days, Twain tells TODAY.com.
"I was in a very vulnerable and tricky place with COVID pneumonia," she says. "When I got out of the hospital and survived that, I saw a minister talking all about how we take air for granted."
The experience and the minister's words stuck with her, leading Twain to write what she says is the most personal song off her new album, "Queen Of Me."
"It inspired me to write a song called "Inhale/Exhale AIR," Twain says. "The simplicity and the necessity of that action and with appreciation."
The lyrics, according to Twain, came "very easily" and revolve around all the things we enjoy in life that require air, like blowing bubbles, flying kites and skydiving.
"It really is the happiest and really most-inspired song on the album," she says.
The 'most important' song she's ever written
With a career spanning decades, Twain's catalog of music is extensive and includes chart toppers like "That Don't Impress Me Much," "Man! I Feel Like A Woman!" and "From This Moment On."
There's one song, however, that Twain tells TODAY.com that she considers the "most important song" she's penned to date.
"'You're Still The One' is the favorite song I've ever written because it means so much to so many other people," she says.
Having written the song while still married to first husband, record producer Mutt Lange, Twain says the meaning of the song has changed for her since she initially wrote the tune, but that it doesn't diminish how she feels about it.
If anything, over time, she says it's become more important to her as a song she's written.
"You get married because you think it's going to last forever," she says. "So, the song no longer applied to me in that sense."
However, she came to the realization that what mattered more was how far-reaching "You're Still The One" has been and how many people it's touched through the years.
"That just really makes it the most important song I've ever written," Twain says.
With the new album, "Queen Of Me," out in February and a 70-date tour by the same name beginning in April, Twain has plenty on her plate, but says that there's still much she'd like to accomplish.
"When it comes to music, I definitely want to do a lot more recording. I have more records to make and more songwriting," she says.
She'd also like to work with other artists, sharing both her knowledge and skills to "let them shine," while not necessarily being in the spotlight herself, which Twain says was never really her goal to begin with.
"It's not something that I ever really desired — being in the spotlight, it was never something I ever dreamt of doing," she says. "It happened that way and I've really learned to enjoy it and appreciate it more than anything.'
Twain says that because she suffered from intense pressure and stage fright, for a time, she took being in the spotlight for granted.
"Then, all of a sudden, a switch went off and I realized that everybody in that audience is loving it so much. Who am I to be taking this for granted?" she says.
And it changed everything.
"I realized, wow, we're all in this together and we're having a great time," she says. "And I feel more generous about sharing and that leads to a lot of other things that are changing in my life."
Those changes, she says, include doing a nude photo shoot for her new single "Waking Up Dreaming," an upbeat dance song with an '80s throwback video.
During an appearance on TODAY, Twain told Hoda Kotb that she made the decision to be photographed nude in an effort to feel empowered and self-confident about her body, something that's been a struggle for her since she was young.
"It's time to start loving myself in my own skin and really embracing that and not be embarrassed or shy of it and this is who I am," she explained to Hoda.
There are other changes, too, Twain tells TODAY.com, including her music.
"My songwriting is going in a slightly different place," she says. "I've always wanted to inspire, but I guess my inspirations have evolved because I've evolved and I have different things to share now."
This article was originally published on TODAY.com