Inside Lionel Richie and Shania Twain’s ‘Endless Love’ Collab

Shania Twain and Lionel Richie photographed together
Shania Twain and Lionel Richie | Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Keep Memory Alive

Shania Twain struggled to get her voice back after having Lyme disease

In the early 2000s, Shania Twain was at the top of her game, touring the world in support of her diamond-certified album Up!. But in 2003, she contracted Lyme disease from a tick, leading to years of health issues for the Canadian singer. In the midst of her recovery, she split up from her husband, Robert “Mutt” Lange.

In 2012, music icon Lionel Richie and country music superstar Shania Twain teamed up for a duet of Richie’s 1981 duet with DIana Ross, “Endless Love.” The collaboration came at a particularly difficult time in Twain’s life, and the collab almost didn’t happen because of Twain’s personal issues at the time.

“I had to take baby steps. Songwriting being the first. Just being able to listen to myself back on my writing tapes was difficult. And there always just little milliseconds of getting it,” she said.

Lionel Richie helped her get her voice back

Even though Twain felt boxed in, she credited Richie for his warm and welcoming demeanor throughout what was a difficult process.

Richie reassured her that it would be great. “I said, ‘Now, we’re going to go in this room in a minute, but I need you to walk in there with me. And you know what’s going to happen? We’re going to discover something. Lionel Richie and Shania Twain are going to show up.”

“Lionel was not going to give up. He was not going to give up. And I knew it, but it was such a gentle [pressure]; it was such a kind pressure,” she said. “I thought, ‘Well, if I fail, I’d rather fail with somebody that is forgiving and sweet and kind about it.”

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The track ended up being a success, and Twain went on to relaunch her career with a Las Vegas residency in 2012. “It took me a lot of encouragement from around me to get me truly doing it for real. And Lionel Richie was a big part of that,” she said of the experience.

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